BWW Review: MY MAñANA COMES - Intricate Details Upstage Everyday Kitchen Tales
MY MAñANA COMES/by Elizabeth Irwin/directed by Armando Molina/The Fountain Theatre/thru June 26, 2016
The Los Angeles premiere of playwright Elizabeth Irwin's MY MAñANA COMES receives a very detailed mounting at the Fountain Theatre. From the realistic working restaurant kitchen (Kudos to set designer Michael Navarro and set dressing designer Dillon Nelson) to the various food prep processes the busboys continually perform to the synchronized chaos of exits and entrances of the swinging kitchen/dining room doors. Irwin obviously knows her way around a restaurant kitchen.
Armando Molina quite ably directs his very talented cast at a quick clip with Irwin's very words-heavy dialogue flowing non-stop from the quartet. Ingenious scene changes advancing time progression involve lighting designer Jennifer Edwards' flashing of blue lights, sound designer Christopher Moscatiello's up-tempo electro music and the actors moving in choreographed slo-mo. So innovative. So effective.
But despite all these wonderful theatrics, no actual conflicts become evident until late in the 90-minute one-act. MY MAñANA COMES simply presents the everyday, tedious tasks of four busboys working in tandem (sometimes not) to make ends meet. "Ends" have different meanings for each. For the older Jorge, it's saving to build a two-story house for his family he promised to bring over to the States for the last four years. For Peter, it's providing basic necessities for his little girl, as well as spending time with her when he's not bussing tables. For newly-immigrated young Pepe, it's the opportunity of buying his own Heinekens and making his own choices in how he spends his money. For Whalid, it's where he can wine and dine his latest conquest of the night.
Lots of conflict red herrings do tease though, but without any resolves - bullying of Pepe, relentless taunting of Jorge, ripping off Jorge's rumored savings.
Lawrence Stallings commands the stage as Peter, the self-appointed lead of the busboys. Stalling intensely conveys all Peter's frustrations of a black man struggling at a low-end job to provide for his daughter.
Richard Azurdia effortlessly exhibits Jorge's humility, his integrity, his commitment to his family. Azurdia's scene with Stallings speaks volumes of an established friendship of Jorge and Peter - which only makes Peter's later actions so more deeply wounding and unforgiving. However, this mano a mano scene seems to come out of nowhere as Peter has never shown any signs of having anything more profound than a work relationship with Jorge. Peter never comes to Jorge's defense and even jokes about the possibility of ripping him off.
Pablo Castelblanco seems innocence personified as the newbie Pepe. Castelblanco charms as the wide-eyed immigrant still having the naiveté for the American dream.
Peter Pasco's simply perfect as Whalid, the fast-talking, unsympathetic asshole with no respect or concern for anyone else except himself.
All the stage business - precise fruit cuttings, condiment fillings, utensils sorting, napkin folding - all accurately spot-on.
Expect no happy pat ending here.