nytheatre.com review by Gregg Bellon
Deranged Chronicles (Cronicas Desquiciadas), presented by the
Water People Theater Company, is an enjoyable, well-acted chronicle of
"21st Century inhibitions." Indira Paez’s vibrant, intelligent
monologues about love, commitment, sex, and happiness come to life
through the rhythmic and articulate Latin American ensemble of Rebeca
Aleman, Ofelia Marin, Samuel Morett, and Leonard Zelig
August 15, 2003
The Water People’s press release asserts that Deranged is "a m�lange of emotions that Latinos experience vividly and with a passion that is unrivaled by any other culture." And while most of these emotions are not exclusive to Latinos, the expressive passionate humor with which they are portrayed certainly attests to the sincerity of the Latinidad they represent. Paez’s writing succeeds by intertwining her passionate themes through diverse Latino nationalities. The ensemble moves in graceful unison, but individually each performer exudes a proud and unique nationalism.
Mostly satirical, sarcastic stories delivered in direct address to the audience, Deranged strikes a chord of "reality" theater. In a moment of true live-theatre bravura, Samuel Morett audaciously climbs into the first row of seats and delivers his energetic spot-on monologues to the audience as if we were all in his living room. Rebecca Aleman, co-founding member of Water People, blows us all away as a woman who’s been left and forgotten with the sentimentality and raw emotional vulnerability of our Latinas. As "Pareja Feliz" (Happy Couple), Ofelia Marin with her endearing Catalan accent and Leonard Zelig with his subtle, underplayed charm journey from giddy humility to humble shame to shameful acceptance of their anomaly: perfect happiness. This piece embodies many of the strengths of Paez’s writing with its insight into the simplicity of love, the compulsion to conform, and the sad reality of modern life.
Director Leonard Zelig (no, not that Zelig) unites these themes and performances with choreographed montages and minimal set changes that keep the momentum up through musical interludes of classic Latin orchestrations. I can’t say enough how impressed I was with performers who brought it all out onstage in spite of a tragically small turnout. Look for great things from this young Latino ensemble.
Deranged Chronicles is performed in Spanish at some shows and in English at others; the show I reviewed was in Spanish.