N*W*C*: Downtown LA's Newest Play

A comedy dealing with ethnicity and identity in America

By Edward Flores
Published on LatinoLA: April 22, 2004

N*W*C*: Downtown LA's Newest Play

N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*ink is a well-written and extremely hilarious play. Perfect timing is vital for the success of this comedy?s presentation, as with all comedies, and the respective actors (Allan Axibal, Rafael Agustin, Miles Gregley) reveal quite a bit of talent at amusing their audience. Using a rhythmic introduction, almost no props, and a few costume changes, all three actors were also able to make good use of fluctuating between lively pace and pensive moments.

Through a series of short skits and scenes, the play?s three characters explore the manner in which ethnic stereotypes have influenced their lives. The course of this play gradually takes the audience deeper and deeper, beneath the surface of cultural stereotypes, into the earliest experiences of the characters? encounters with ethnicity and identity. What the audience is left with is an entertaining presentation and intellectual reflection of self-identity in modern America.

Demonstrating the clothes, the speech, and the style many of us aspire to have, this play passionately expresses the hidden desires many of us have - to be members of what may seem to be more desirable cultures. Lacking the presence of characters from other ethnic groups (i.e. Native, Irish or Muslim Americans), the messages in this play nonetheless clearly resonate through the similar experiences of three American ethnic minorities: an African-American, a Philipino, and a Hispanic.

What may appear as a challenge to some members of the audience may be the play?s deviation from far left politics that have characterized ethnic America. The role of ethnicity in college admissions is portrayed as a shameful aspect of American society. However, this play is not so much concerned with the resulting effects of slavery, segregation, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the lack of socio-economic mobility in America. Rather, this play examines ethnic relations through a more microcosmic approach; in one scene an aspiring actor wonders if he/she should attempt to win a competition by performing a monologue of a character that reinforces crude cultural stereotypes.

N*W*C* won the American Readers Theater Association 2003 award for ?Best Play?, and will be presented at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in downtown Los Angeles. Show times are at 8:00 pm Thursday through Saturday, with a Saturday Matinee at 2:00pm. For more information call (213) 489-0994.

About Edward Flores:
Edward Flores can be contacted at eflores1231@yahoo.com

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