A small crowd of people gathered outside the Chapel theater at around 7:30pm on Thursday night. As I waited for the doors to open, I scanned the gathering for familiar faces and saw a few of them here and there. The air was rife with expectation; the hope of witnessing something great made us stick around patiently. There were enough of us to fill the entire center aisle of the theater. Despite the shivering cold, the funky music made the wait bearable and about ten minutes after eight, the show began.
‘Solo, Un Trago’ is an original play written by Ángel Pérez Calzada. Semi-autobiographical in nature, the script narrates his own story through a week in the life of Emmanuel, the main character, brilliantly portrayed by the talented and rambunctious Pablo Torres González. His performance is goofy and relaxed, yet very deeply connected to the reality of his character and the issues he deals with, or rather doesn’t, while he should. Emmanuel, is himself a character within a character, if that makes any sense to you. That fact alone is enough to capture your attention, as it leaves you wondering when Emmanuel will realize he’s presenting the world, and himself, a facade.
The show lasts approximately an hour or so, and it elicits free-flowing laughter from minute one until its very end. Yet, between punchy, youthful jokes, its situational and thematic familiarity will strike you. From the day-to-day slang we use, to the different relationships portrayed, it has everything its intended audience can easily relate to: comedy, drama, and even a bit of unexpected skin exposure (you’re welcome). After Act II, you feel so engaged with the story that you will likely lose track of time, and of the fact that you are not actually in the play. The actors make you feel like it; because the passion with which this story is performed is contagious and refreshing.
The geniality of this piece is to be found in how it makes you reflect and introspect, without guilt or shame. It presents you with more than one scenario we have all struggled with, from alcohol abuse, to a disastrous love life, or even the unnerving realization that we just don’t try hard enough. We don’t strive to be the best we can. Yet, all of this happens without you noticing it, among friends, like a revelation you embrace because it doesn’t stand in judgment.
‘Solo, Un Trago’ was delightful, to say the least. It turned my day from crappy to memorable. It gave me a whole lot to think about, while having a blast with my roommate by my side, who ended up almost soaked after one of Emmanuel’s papelones at the bar. Mostly, it made me grateful for my peers, for their talent, but also for their bravery and willingness to expose such a risky, yet fascinating and beautiful project. I promise you, it is very worthy of your time.
Revised by: Ángela-Patricia Ramos
Photos by: Geysel M. Gómez Lozada