Annex Theatre Presents EL ULTIMO, 7/31-8/22
Socially Awkward Mexican American teenager Coco has no trouble talking to his blog following "minions". Talking to his mother is a bit more difficult, especially as she makes him sit in his special chair.
El Ultimo Coconut is a coming of age tale about a young man navigating many different worlds. The Massive Multiplayer Role Playing Game World of Warcraft, the Arizona/Mexico border, and the family dinner table all provide canvass for his incredible journey as he carves out a sense of identity and convinces his mother to let him attend MIT.
In this solo show, Gerald Alejandro Ford takes on both family politics and cyber-nerdom with humor and humanity. Ford embodies all the characters, from the polar opposite twin brothers at the story's core to vigilante border patrols, Mexican strippers and the boy's protective emotional mama.
Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Ford is a Cornish graduate and solo performer whose work has been featured in 12 Minutes Max and the Solo Performance Festival. El Ultimo Coconut originated as his Cornish Senor Project, but the show also served as the inaugural production of the newly formed Latino Theater Collective, eSe Teatro. With this partnership Ford's final college production became his first professional one.
At Cornish, Ford studied playwriting, and his shows contain scenes with lots of characters and dialogue. However he claims the decision to perform them as solo shows, rather than with a full cast comes from a selfish desire for control. "I honestly don't trust anyone else to perform the show the way I want it" Ford said in a 2011 interview with Jeremy M Barker, "Most of my shows…could be cast with many people, but then the rhythm and the comedy would be lost."
The decision seems to have paid off. In a review of his 12 Minutes Max performance, blogger Carla Maria Negrete Martinez wrote that Ford "blew the evening away with laughter" and "beautifully and accurately represented characters within the Chicano culture." And Annex Theatre selected him to restage El Ultimo Coconut as part of their 25th Anniversary Season.
Annex Theatre is a democratic collective of theatre artists dedicated to creating bold new work in an environment of improbability, resourcefulness and risk. Annex Theatre produces new plays by living playwrights, radical reinterpretations of classic scripts, and ensemble-generated non-linear spectacles. Now in its new Capitol Hill venue, Annex originally opened its doors in 1987 in a former dance studio on 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle. Since then the theater has produced hundreds of world and Northwest premieres.
El Ultimo Coconut performs July 31st -August 22nd, Tuesday-Wednesday at 8pm. PWYC Industry night August 20th, Tickets $5-$10. www.annextheatre.org