Stage Buddy


August 25, 2014

Barceló con Hielo (Barceló on the Rocks) is a must-see performance at Repertorio Español: without a doubt it will soon become an emblematic play for the Dominican culture in New York. The world premiere play is written by Marco Antonio Rodríguez and directed by José Zayas — a combination of talents that contemporary Spanish theatre needs. The play, which takes place at a typical Washington Heights apartment, explores the psychology of a Dominican Republic immigrant reluctant to accept his reality. Nino Antonio Ortíz (played by playwright Marco Antonio Rodríguez) is a single father of two who has fallen ill and knows that it is time to unpack his heavy baggage filled with pain and dark secrets. In flashbacks, we meet his brother Fello (Jerry Soto), his childhood friend Jaston (Indio Melendez) and the former President of the Dominican Republic, Joaquín Balaguer (Fernando Then). Through these flashbacks, we learn that Nino is someone who has never cared about politics, but they’ve still affected him tremendously through his brother. We also learn why he is so bitter and racist, and why he now drinks Barceló on the Rocks (it was his dad’s favorite drink).


June 18, 2014

Nino, the easily incensed lead character of Repertorio Español’s Barceló con hielo (“Rum on the Rocks”), has a lot to drink about. His stomach cancer’s acting up, he doesn’t much like his grown sons Sergio (Iván Camilo) and Dennis (hyperactive Javier Fano), and ghosts have begun creeping out of the walls. In Marco Antonio Rodríguez’s frequently powerful drama—first a bad-dad comedy, then a wrenching memory play—a Dominican past haunts Nino (Rodríguez), complete with repressed betrayals, absent friends and even a tyrannical historical revenant, the post-Trujillo president Joaquín Balaguer. Rodríguez wants to use this past to illuminate his complicated antihero: Nino spews racist invective and homophobic rants out the window at his New York neighborhood, and he evinces a total distrust of those nearest him. Dennis, granted, is a dim bulb, ambition-free and vulgar—and to exaggerate his awfulness, Fano plays to the crowd, making him into caricature. But both character and performer turn lovable when Fano plays off Camilo, an actor of deep reserve and serious gifts. Director José Zayas creates a few family moments between the three men that feel disturbingly realistic in their frank affection and casual violence.


August 26, 2014

No young man ever needed a little marijuana more than Sergio in Barceló con Hielo. Luckily, his brother persuades him to smoke before their father gets home. Herbally abetted, the painfully reserved Sergio (Iván Camilo) smiles and laughs for the first time in this comic drama. Marco Antonio Rodríguez wrote the play and stars in the Repertorio Español production as the father, Nino, a seriously ill immigrant from the Dominican Republic who misses everything about home except the corruption. Medical anxiety may explain why he begins to see ghosts. The first spirit, who slips quietly into the living room, introduces himself as Joaquín Balaguer, a three-term president of the Dominican Republic. His predecessor was the dictator Rafael Trujillo, and there are conversations about whether Balaguer was just as bad.