El Chuco y La Che is clever but short on laughs
“Put-attention,” Rodney Garza exclaimed, bien pachuco, sipping on a michelada while persuading the audience of the importance of the letter “ch.”
|Rodney Garza’s one-man show at the Guadalupe is an homage to the Spanish “ch.”|
El Chuco y La Che is a comedic homage to the letter “ch” in the Spanish alphabet. Written and performed by Garza (activist, director, performer, and poet), this one-man show is part stand-up comedy, part performance poetry.
“The idea came from growing up with the letter. And a lot of the words have humor to them. It was a matter of stringing words together,” says Garza, explaining how the play was born.
Alliteration is the main spark of this performance, and Garza’s wordplay is not only clever but rhythmical. He has written songs, poetry and even dabbled in rap. “Everything I write is in attempt to be performed,” he says. “I’m the guy that does the toast at the wedding.”
Garza takes the audience on a journey through his bi-cultural childhood neighborhood, where he lived on a rancho and ate churrasco (The list of foods mentioned that start with the letter “ch” was impressive). Garza continued with this personal timeline, describing his college years where all the zoot-suit wearing chavo did was smoke dope.
Garza also made a bet with the audience (after the opening act, a dance duo by Dava Dee Hernandez and Alvaro Duarte). He bet a dollar that the most important letter in the Spanish alphabet is the letter “ch.” Who would (care to) disagree?
“Without ‘ch,’ no puedo decir pinche,” Garza stated with a chuckle.
“Without ‘ch,’ Chicano would be icano,” he continued.
And last, “Without the letter ‘ch,’ chisme would not exist.”
El Chuco y La Che
8pm Fri-Sat, 3pm Sun
Through Apr 30
1301 Guadalupe Street
Here’s some chisme: This wasn’t as much a comedy as it was an educational overview of the Chicano vocabulary. With Garza’s chamoy-flavored chupete and a Chihuahua guard dog, he might have all the props he needs for success — in another barrio. But here at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and theater, the audience is seeking a laugh or two. Much needed, in fact, with too many political honchos (note the use of “ch”) disagreeing at monthly board meetings.
The funniest part of the show was when Garza broke away from his cha-cha-cha vocabulary and related to the common folk. Not all of us comprehend Spanglish, or Chicano slang. Some of us in San Antonio actually speak Spanish and some of us, nada, not even a word. So when Garza included Sonny and Cher and the Chia Pet in his act, finally, audience members laughed out loud.
El Chuco y La Che was a rapidín of performances. Any show that costs $7 should at least last 70 minutes (this show was under an hour). The dance act by Dava Dee was as entertaining as Garza’s wordplay dance with himself. Despite abundant energy and a grand effort to reveal the vibrant colors associated with the letter “ch,” the play fell a little short in time and stature.
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