Viva La Evolucion!
nytheatre.com review by Judith Jarosz
August 21, 2010
In this lively one women show, Diana Yanez tells of growing up as a first generation Cuban American in Miami. Her Catholic parents flee Castro's Cuba when they are only 18 and 21 years old, and proceed to create a family with a healthy daughter and son in America, both of whom also turn out to be gay. Now, for those who know the Church teachings, this can be a major challenge for a Catholic family. More like a brick wall really.
On a colorful, simple set (complete with a bar decorated with bananas) designed by Marc Aubin, and solid lighting design and sound operation (love, love, love that Cuban beat!) by Taylor Riccio, Yanez relates the joys, sadness, trials, and tribulations of her life to the present. She paints a troubling yet loving picture of her young parents' violent struggles to work through keeping themselves and their family together in a new land. With an upbeat humor she invites us into a world where the cultural background lends itself to dramatic displays of opinions, they consider all Democrats "Communists," and English is often learned from TV soaps like All My Children. Yanez states that the first sentence she remembers her Mom saying to her in English was "that Erica is so evil!"
After a childhood and young adulthood that includes fixations on female power figures from television (Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman, and Sabrina Duncan from Charlie's Angels), and female pals who wear mullet haircuts, Yanez slowly comes around at age 30 to face that she is not just a fag hag who likes to hang out with her gay posse, like her best bud Ramone, who tragically dies young of AIDS, but is also gay herself. We hear tales of her telling her brother (he knew, duh), friends (her mullet-headed friend always had a feeling about her), and of course, her parents (her Mom has a surprise reaction). Thanks to her naturally positive energy, and some very nice shaping from director Marjorie Duffield, the hour long show flies along, taking you with it.
After the show Mojitos made from her grandmother's secret recipe are served downstairs at a discount in the lounge, and why not celebrate? It's a fun and engrossing show.