Saturday, June 24, 2017

CT Theater Review: Fade -- TheaterWorks

Elizabeth Ramos and Eddie Martinez. Photo: Lanny Nagler
Fade
By Tanya Saracho
Directed by Jerry Ruiz
TheaterWorks
Through June 30

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
An inside Hollywood tale from inside-Hollywooder Tanya Saracho (Mala Hierba ; writer, co-producer of ABC’s "How to Get Away with Murder," HBO’s "Girls"). Lucia (Elizabeth Ramos) is hired as a writer for a TV detective show with a Latino character, and there is little doubt, by the lack of respect she gets from her boss and the other people in the room, that she is the "Latina" hire. The only thing her boss thinks she is good for is translating his orders to his Spanish-speaking housekeeper. She gets a break, however, when she pitches a new character. The only problem is that the characters is real-- based almost word for word on the experiences of Abel (Eddie Martinez), the janitor who stops by while she is working at the office. The two form an unlikely friendship, but will it be threatened when Abel discovers that his personal life is being exploited?

What Are the Highlights?
90-minutes no intermission (though it ran about 15 minutes longer the night I saw it). 
Ramos isn't afraid of taking on the less-than-likable Lucia; Martinez brings some warmth to room (the office is designed in depth by Mariana Sanchez) and manages to get the few laughs of the evening.

The ending is very thought-provoking, both in content and staging. 

What Are the Lowlights?
Lucia isn't a very likable character, so it's a bit difficult to accept that Abel would befriend her and share intimate parts of his life. The plot is very predictable and Director Jerry Ruiz lets the pace lag, especially for a story centered around the fast-paced world of TV and Hollywood. Too many short, unnecessary scenes are included (with peppy Spanish music playing in between) -- note to Hollywood writers: quick camera shots don't translate to the stage. 

More Information: 
This one will fade on June 30, so catch it before then at TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Weekend Matinees at 2:30 pm. Tickets are $50-$65: www.theaterworkshartford.org; 860-527-7838.

Additional credits:
Harry Nadal (Costume Design), Amith Chandrashaker (Lighting Design), and M.L. Dogg (Sound Design).

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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