Stop the presses!
Last night, I saw a theatre piece that was thoughtful, affirming and thought-provoking.
Luis Vega’s The Last Barnstorm.
As a part of the 2017 Austin Latino New Play Festival, this play was revolutionary because it unearthed stories that we rarely hear about and showed Mexico in positive light.
What was The Last Barnstorm about?
“Seeking to escape a troubled home life and racial segregation in the United States, an up-and-coming Negro League baseball player abandons his wife and newborn child for the chance to start anew in Mexico. Before long, drink and physical injury stall his dream of stardom, and he must reckon with what remains in a land that suddenly feels very far from home (via Teatro Vivo).”
Who wrote it?
” Luis Vega is an actor, writer, and a teacher in New York City. Born to Puerto Rican parents, he grew up bilingual between the mainland and the island. As an actor, he has appeared off-Broadway and regionally at The Williamstown Theater Festival, The Atlantic Theater Company, The Culture Project, HERE Arts Center, South Coast Repertory and Virginia Stage. He has also appeared in TV and film, most notably, the Sundance feature, Another Earth (directed by Mike Cahill). Although Luis has written a number of short plays and films, The Last Barnstorm is his first full-length play. He is a graduate of Columbia University (BA in English) and UCSD (MFA in Acting).” (via Teatro Vivo)
I traveled to Austin to watch the play because it death with a Black American in Mexico, but I was struck by the themes of the play.
The Pursuit of Dreams
The fact that the “grass may not be greener on the other side”
All of these themes ring true and universal for many people. The fact that the main character gave up his family in order to pursue a better opportunity. It speaks to the sacrifices that many make in order to achieve. The dialogue was beautifully written in a way that didn’t make me tune out during the play. It shifts from Spanish to English and really captures the world of the play. I appreciated the open-ended ending where the main character’s future is not explicitly stated. That gives me as an audience member the power to let my imagination run wild with possibilities. The characters looked and sounded like the people in my family, neighborhood and communities. Plus my talented friends were involved in the show (Adam Martinez directed and Tarik Daniels played the lead role). I cannot wait to see where this play goes!