Review: FADE is in Focus at Capital Stage

Shining Through April 14th

By: Mar. 26, 2024
Review: FADE is in Focus at Capital Stage
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Capital Stage’s season of “True Identity” continues with Tanya Saracho’s social commentary, Fade. The semi-autobiographical piece explores the inner turmoil that comes with feeling adrift in one’s culture and the struggle to reconcile that with class disparities and unrelenting ambition. Like last month’s American Fast, Fade focuses on the experiences of a woman of color in a competitive field.    

Like Saracho, Fade’s protagonist, a native of Mexico, finds herself in Los Angeles after years in Chicago. She can’t find good food, any friends, or a foothold in her new career as a television writer. Armed with one novel to her name, Lucia (Jordan Maria Don) scoffs at tv writing as being beneath her, even though she can’t seem to think of a storyline to sell to the “white” bosses. Frustrated by her circumstances, she enlists the help of the night janitor, Abel (Caleb Cabrera), to decorate her office and listen to her constant complaints about being treated differently because she’s Latina -- after she continually insults Abel by making assumptions about him because he is Latino. The show is precarious for the first fifteen minutes or so -- Lucia’s whining and self-absorption reach a cacophonous crescendo. Abel is the savior of the piece. He’s direct, accidentally charming, and loyal to a fault. While the two characters swap experiences and stories about their shared heritage, they begin to trust each other and form a tentative bond. Abel begins to rethink his first impression of Lucia being a “fresa.”

Like any good writer, Saracho throws in a twist. Abel starts opening up and, wouldn’t you know, his story is prime fodder for television. He and Lucia face some tough lessons about the price of friendship and integrity, and Saracho finishes it off with a surprising ending that feels a little unsatisfying but very real.

Don and Cabrera carry a tough show on their very talented shoulders. The acting is top-notch. Don is so believable as Lucia that she now carries my top spot as biggest fictional jerk. It feels like she’s so ashamed to be who she is that she will do anything to be someone different. Don’s skill is apparent, as she must have had to reach deep down to access the complexities that make up Lucia. Cabrera’s Abel is earnest and engaging. He’s an unwilling hero that we want to root for and Lucia’s polar opposite. Together they engage in a pas-de-deux of emotional baggage and uncertain attraction that we’d love to see work. Except, deep down, we know that in the real world opposites don’t really attract.

Fade plays at Capital Stage through April 14th. More information and tickets may be found online at Capstage.org, by telephone at (916) 995-5464, or in person at the Box Office at 2215 J Street in Sacramento.

Photo credit: Charr Crail

 




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