BE CAREFUL! THE SHARKS WILL EAT YOU! Now through June 11th at the Stage Left Studio
Be Careful! The Sharks Will Eat You! continues its run at the Stage Left Studio. Written and performed by Jay Alvarez and directed by Theresa Gambacorta, Be Careful! recounts Alvarez' family and their harrowing escape from early 1960s Cuba. Alvarez takes the audience on a trip from revolution to the Coast Guard meeting him at the US Border. Be Careful! The Sharks Will Eat You! is thoughtful, deeply comedic and at moments intensely gripping.
Gambacorta does a wonderful job directing the piece. With her design team, she keeps it simple. Minimal props, two chairs and some well-timed sound cues helped to set the time and space for the piece, all the while letting Alvarez' performance speak for itself. Frankly, while there's not a lot to work with (the light plot for the theatre consists of some glorified light bulbs), Gambacorta's team did a wonderful job highlighting and enhancing Alvarez' story without getting in the way of it.
It's pretty obvious why Alvarez' run at Stage Left was extended. Although the show runs a mere sixty minutes, Alvarez keeps you on The Edge of your seat the entire time. His smooth transitions through his family's history as he moves from one character to another gives his audience as close to a flawless performance as you're going to get in the live theatre. If you don't tear up at his portrayal of his mother agreeing to send her two oldest sons to the US for protection, well then you might not have a soul. Not one of Alvarez' characters ever verged on caricature. Each performance was so flushed out, this one man show felt like a cast of twelve.
The most touching moment of Alvarez' love letter to his homeland was his distinct reminder of why people continuously risk their lives to come to ours. Be Careful! The Sharks Will Eat You! runs now through June 11. Catch it now before it heads to the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Tickets are available through www.stageleftstudio.net.