Review: THE HOMBRES Explores Masculinity at Capital Stage

This Thoughtful Production Plays Through June 4

By: May. 23, 2023
Review: THE HOMBRES Explores Masculinity at Capital Stage

Theatre has long been a vessel to carry voices wanting to be heard, and a springboard for important conversations that need to be had. Capital Stage is taking this responsibility seriously, with its California premiere of The Hombres. Tony Meneses’ contemporary play examines the toxic masculinity prevalent in society, specifically in the Latinx culture.

The story is centered around Julian (Ryan Perez Adame), a gay modern dancer turned yoga instructor who teaches classes to wealthy white women in a New Jersey studio. Adame gently conveys Julian’s weariness, born of a lifetime of guarding his heart and trying not to be noticed. To his dismay, he must put himself front and center when he’s asked to confront Hector (Nestor Campos, Jr.), a construction worker, about allegedly ogling the women in the studio. Much to Julian’s (and the audience’s) surprise, Hector isn’t your stereotypical construction worker. Campos, Jr. charms everyone with his sincerity in striving to tame his demons to become someone his family (and he) can be proud of, yet he can’t quite shed himself of the mindset of waiting for life’s next blow. He knows where he stands in society, as he tells Julian, “I could be your own personal Mexican,” leaving us all to wonder if we, collectively, perpetuate that idea. Rounding out this talented cast are Jeremy Kahn as Miles, who seeks friendship from Julian and perhaps ignorantly believes they can hold space for each other as platonic confidantes; the always noteworthy Elio Gutierrez as Pedro, who quickly overcomes his machismo to embrace salads over beer; and Angel Rodriguez as Beto, who baits Hector with insults to mask the hurt he really feels at being left out.

Fluid choreography by Jacob Gutierrez Montoya complements Eric Broadwater’s peaceful scenic design, successfully invoking a zen-like studio atmosphere that’s aesthetically soothing. Director Dena Martinez has coaxed out of the actors the paradox that lives within men: society’s expectation of masculinity vs. the innate sensitivity present in little boys before they realize those expectations. The Hombres is a unique study of what it means to be a man and shows that masculinity comes in many forms. While Julian laments, “We’re f-ing awful, men. Why should anyone trust them?” I can't agree, for he then shows us how men can really be and serves as an example for any gender when he says about people, “Hold them close, even if they don’t know.” We could all use that right now.

The Hombres plays at Capital Stage through June 4. Tickets may be found online at, by calling (916) 995-5464, or at the Box Office at 2215 J Street in Sacramento.

Photo credit: Charr Crail


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