By Annette Semerdjian
Boni B. Alvarez, Chris Aguila, Allen Lucky Weaver and Tonatiuh Elizarraraz
As the spotlight captures three fabulous drag queens at center stage, the music, reminiscent of the New York City LGBTQ community's underground ball scene, turns up and the House of Malacanang vogues down the walkway. The Echo Theater Company proves again that it is truly the "Best Bet for Ballsy Original Plays," as LA Weekly stated in 2014, with its latest production directed by Rodney To, "Fixed."
The story follows young Miracles in the House of Malacanang's massage parlor along with Jenny, Carmie and their House Mother, Gigi. The play is partly inspired by NYC's ball culture represented in the 1990 documentary "Paris is Burning," which depicts different Houses competing in "balls" and each House as a home with a chosen family for mostly transwomen and gay men of color. The play is also inspired by Calderon de la Barca's 17th century play "El Medico de su Honra."
Playwright Boni B. Alvarez plays the role of Gigi, someone who can cut you with her words and check you back into reality quicker than she pop opens her fan. Gigi's entrance demands attention and is met with cheering and applause as her flowy, colorful dress and attitude clearly represent her rank as queen of her group of misfits.
Renée-Marie Brewster and Anna Lamadrid
Jenny, played by the hilarious Allen Lucky Weaver, is Miracles' House sister who tries to reason her out of the romantic fantasy with Marciano versus Gigi's more aggressive means of separating the two. Chris Aguila beautifully plays Miracles as someone who fiercely refuses to let anyone advise her on her journey through self-discovery, gender identity and love. Wade Allain-Marcus is from the hit HBO show "Insecure" and plays a different type of character this time as the womanizer Marciano. Besides Miracles, Marciano also manages to put Lizette under his spell. As Lizette chases emotionally unavailable Marciano, AJ, played by Adrian Gonzalez, chases after Lizette.
Anna Lamadrid plays naive Lizette in one of the funniest performances ever played on a theater stage. Although each actor was very well cast and brought a unique flare to his or her character, Lamadrid's performance was a standout. Lamadrid plays her role perfectly as the sassy yet vulnerable Lizette and had the audience waiting for her next scene on stage again.
Tonatiuh Elizarraraz was also exceptional as the young and eager Carmie, the only member of the House who isn't Filipino, looking to earn her House name of Malacanang. Carmie eventually gets to compete for the House of Malacanang in a ball and Elizarraraz performs his choreography to the T while wearing heels in full drag. To someone who may not have been exposed to the world of competitive voguing prior to this role, his performance was on point and had the audience cheering along as he finished with the iconic and very difficult vogue move: the "death drop."
Joseph Valdez and Wade Allain-Marcus
In the middle of this entire conflict, are Dana and Hudson, an ambitious duo looking to get Hudson elected as county sheriff. They are also trying to keep Miracles and Marciano apart since he is Hudson's brother and Miracles' gender fluidity isn't a good image for their family, according to Dana and Hudson. Renee-Marie Brewster as Dana and Joseph Valdez as Hudson both give an evocative performance as two people who may mean well, but let their political drive dictate their relationships with others in maintaining the perfect public persona.
"Fixed" ultimately tells a story about chasing ideals of love, reputation and acceptance and a features diverse cast of lively characters that everyone can find themselves in.
"Fixed" plays at Atwater Village Theatre through October 22.
|Posted By Annette Semerdjian on September 19, 2017 11:50 am | Permalink |