Arts : Funny ha ha ... gotcha!

Pain of the Macho casts a funny lure for immigration issues

Pain of the Macho was a laugh riot. Go see it.

Good. Now that I’ve got that out, I need to say some things that might burn.

First of all, I was tricked.

I signed up to review “a wise and funny, yet sometimes stinging, satire of the Latin man,” no?

In a way, this reminds me of the time I watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest because my mom told me it was “hilarious.”

Pain of the Macho, by Rick Najera, plays at San Antonio College through July 2.

Maybe that’s a bad example. Pain of the Macho, a TeatroFEST production onstage at San Antonio College’s McCreless Theatre through July 2, is hilarious, as you would expect from a play by Rick Najera, whose writing credits include MAD TV and In Living Color. The 12-monologue show even earned my patented caught-by-surprise laugh (a singular, deafening, bark-like HA!) on several occasions. But be warned, amigos, because what they don’t tell you about Pain of the Macho is that you should be prepared for some sermonizin’ — this is a genuine, certifiable political play. What a sneak attack, huh?

It isn’t enough for Pain of the Macho to tackle the mystery of the Macho definite comedic and intellectual fodder — but, oh, it’s also about snort cackle immigration issues. HA HA! What a knee-slapper! Wait

Pain of the Macho

8pm Thu-Sat,
2:30pm Sun
$12 general;
$8 student

McCreless Theater
San Antonio College

1300 San Pedro

Allow me to get up on my own proverbial soapbox for a moment. Comedies are fantastic outlets for social commentary, but unlike eating a Reese’s, there’s a right way to do it. At times it felt like Najera changed the focus of his play halfway through writing it, and perhaps that’s why the political aspect of the play seems tacked on and underdeveloped. I didn’t know any more about the issue after the play than when I arrived, or what I can do to help. And although the last monologues serve as weak glue between the themes of the Border and the Macho, a continuous thread was needed to stitch those themes together.

Now, back to accentuating the positive. Like I said, for the most part, I laughed my ass off. The performances were some of the best I’ve seen this year. Benito Lara absolutely kills as Alejandro. “I am the Macho,” he proclaims, followed with perfect comedic timing by, “I am also the busboy.”

Yinelly Arnold sold me on her typical Latino mother character. I will never forget her entrance, Bible in arm and beer in hand. Her no-holds-barred portrayal of an eccentric Latino woman could only be rivaled by Roy Frias as Miss East L.A.

Angelivette Pena gives the great purely dramatic performance of the show. She is tear-jerking as Rita, a Puerto-Rican New Yorker whose unborn baby was either aborted or given up for adoption against her will.

The lighting is lit, and the set is simple, but that works well for the show. To best view Pain of the Macho, I advise you arrive early, as the San Antonio College theater doesn’t exactly have “stadium seating,” and you won’t want to end up in the back behind a tall, big-haired person.

Now that you’re forewarned, I suggest you go and have a good laugh.

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