FringeNYC 2014: Brown and Out.
I love when I am experiencing something and I am so glad I brought someone with me, someone who I know is appreciating it and thinking about it. When I saw Brown and Out at Teatro SEA, my elder sister, Jean, sat right beside me. My sister’s dream is to be a lawyer. She has strong beliefs about civil rights. She is passionate about LGBT causes and the rights of the community. So when I read about a piece that demonstrated and celebrated LGBT and Hispanic culture, it felt right to have my sister with me.
Brown and Out operates as six short plays which range from folk music to spoken word. There is some Spanish spoken (that we could mostly understand), some monologues that maybe I couldn’t directly connect to, such as the first monologue about being a gay, Hispanic, Ivy League educated male who is told in an Internet chatroom that he isn’t “cholo” enough to be attractive, although many in the audience were connecting as demonstrated by the really vociferous responses and laughter (that sounded as though it was saying “Yes, been there done that”). There were references to the California Latino gang scene that were very specific too. I kept thinking- wow. I’m glad as a person who is not a member of the LGBT or Hispanic community, but has friends who come from both, that I could see this show. I’m so grateful that I could learn a little bit about this experience in a very direct and open way.
One exceptional moment that got to me was when a “gay-whisperer”, a medium who is able to connect with gay Spanish teens who have committed suicide, talks with a young man who has hung himself. The actor walks on with a frayed noose around his neck, and a scene goes from a hysterical interaction between a couple to very serious in a few seconds. A friend of mine spent her summer a few years ago researching the connection and policies for LGBT and Spanish youth. She found that the suicide rates were higher for Spanish teens. A problem that is very specific, but it also felt very relevant to me. I thought of the eerie fact that famous actor Robin Williams had killed himself in a similar way two days before I saw the show. We all feel so different in our struggles, so isolated, and yet for this character and a successful and admired comedian - the feelings of sadness and the end was the same. If anything really hit me, that powerful moment of coincidence did.
VENUE #1: Teatro SEA at the Clemente
WED 13 @ 7 THU 14 @ 2 FRI 15 @ 5 SAT 16 @ 9:15