This Week at Eclectic Theater: Where’s Papi? Plus Reviews!

papi1-2014-2

 

A West Coast Premiere written, directed and performed by Miguel Morales!

A story far too often told by Latinos and more specifically Latino men. How a search for answers about his father ultimately brought him a better understanding of who he was and who he is to become. This one-man drama with a splash of comedy will deliver a message we should all hear!

Presented by Eclectic Theater and Pol Productions.

Powered by Shunpike.

More info and tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/534724!

$20. $15 for TPS/Military/Union/Veterans. $12 Students & Seniors. FREE for SAG-AFTRA and AEA members when you show your current Member card!

Now playing through February 9! Thu-Sat at 8pm and Sun at 2pm!

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The Stranger:

Disappearing Dad

Miguel Morales Asks Where’s Papi?

by 

According to the US Census Bureau, around 24 percent of American children are living in a household with a mother but no father. Where’s Papi?, a new solo show by actor and improv performer Miguel Morales, is a simple account, in brief snapshot scenes, of what it was like to grow up in one.

Morales was born in Puerto Rico, but we first meet him as a kid in Chicago, crawling around on his hands and knees, scrutinizing the floor. The family vacuum cleaner is broken, he tells us, and Papi has offered to pay him and his siblings a few cents for each thing they pick out of the carpet. “I got 33 things,” he says in an eager little-kid voice, but one of them is pretty big, so he figures he can break it into two things for a few extra pennies. He then plots his trip to the corner store and the candy he’s going to buy. The lights go down, the lights come up, and it’s later in the day, when he tells us he and his sister fought over some of the candy. Papi got involved—”You never want Papi to get involved,” he informs us sagaciously—and gave them each a few bofetadas (smacks). The lights go down again.

Morales continues the tour through his upbringing in this quick-cut style: going to the bar with Papi, playing catch with an older cousin, trying to impress Papi on the pitcher’s mound, watching Papi get drunker and more distant from the family, resenting Papi, reconciling with Papi, resenting Papi again, and so on. These are stories we’ve heard before, but Morales tells them with the urgency and immediacy one feels about one’s own childhood, adding a few vivid details about life in his Puerto Rican corner of a big city: the cooking, the disappointment in how Latinos are portrayed on television, the humor. “I know Puerto Rican judo,” he tells us in the sly voice of a little kid trying on a slightly grown-up joke. “Ju don’ know if I got a knife,” he says, laying on the heavier accent of his parents’ generation, “ju don’ know if I got a gun, ju don’ know what I got!” Then he beams at us proudly.

Objectively, Papi doesn’t sound like a model father, but Morales’s story traces the irrationality and imbalance of familial love, and the peculiar way that some children in single-parent households cling even more fiercely to the parent who’s letting them down rather than the parent who’s doing the hard work of loving and raising them on a daily basis. After all these years, “Where’s Papi?” is a question that, for Morales and millions of others, is still worth asking. recommended

 

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SeattleActor.com:

Where’s Papi

Presented by: Eclectic Theater

In Miguel Morales one-man show, “Where’s Papi” we are invited to share an intimate history of one man’s complicated relationship with his Father. Morales is a talented writer and performer, but more important than that he is honest and sincere, willing to explore and reveal his own flaws and character in order for us to more fully understand the importance and impact of growing up with a man that he never really understood until after that man’s death. Although this is very specifically the memoir of a Latino growing up in a Latino family, that is only important in the detail, not in the overall significance of the content. Over the course of a tight, engaging hour we are allowed to watch Morales grow from a boy who adored his Papi as much as they both loved baseball to a grown man able to transcend his resentments, disappointments and heartache and to resolve that conflicted relationship in order to become a better man himself.

As a young boy, Morales had no higher pleasure in the world than playing catch with his Papi, going to ball games, sharing all the things that were important to them both. Or almost all the things. This boy felt like he had a relationship with is Papi that was stronger than any other relationship in his life. Stronger than his relationship with his sisters, stronger that his relationship with his Mami, and much stronger than the relationship between his parents. We spend a fair amount of time in that precious, fragile bubble of pre-adolescent security. That’s important because as he gets into his teens he will discover just how vulnerable all of that is.

His Papi spends more and more time away from home, doing what and with whom he has no idea, but clearly not wanting to spend a lot of time with Mami, or with Miguel. He will learn, to his great pain, that his Papi is living another life entirely, and as the boy grows into adulthood the Father is more and more distanced from his son. The pain of that alienation is palpable, as is the awful last visit with Papi on his deathbed. What resolves all of this conflict, and what makes the show worth watching, is what Morales learns about himself as he comes to terms with the choices his Father made.

“Where’s Papi” is far from an extraordinary or unlikely story. In fact, it is probably much more common than we would like to think. What makes this a worthwhile piece of drama is the combination of Morales skill as a performer, his coherent and vivid writing, and above all the urgency and honesty of his revelations. We are never in doubt that this is a story that he wants to tell us because it is so important to him, and because he suspects it might be equally important to us. We become adults and make our choices as adults only when we fully appreciate that our parents were also only adults making the best choices they could. I admired and respected this show and this man.

“Where’s Papi” is now playing at the Eclectic Theater on Capitol Hill through February 1st. It’s a bit hard to get to with a lot of street construction in the neighborhood, but “Where’s Papi” deserves good attendance. Miguel Morales brought his show from Chicago so that Seattle audiences could share the very personal world that exists within a small room. I hope people will come out for this intimate, honest and genuinely moving dramatic memoir.


Written by:
 Jerry Kraft

Added: January 13th 2014
Score: 

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About eclectictheater

Eclectic Theater is a professional theatre company in Seattle, WA., dedicated to producing and presenting original, contemporary and classic works for the stage and screen. Plays, Improv, Stand-Up and Sketch Comedy and more! Eclectic Theater is powered by Shunpike. Shunpike is the 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that fuel innovation in the arts by building productive partnerships, cultivating leadership and providing direct services to arts groups of all kinds. Learn more at www.shunpike.org.
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