A Play That Touches Upon Many of Life's Intricacies

New blood sparks energy for revival of The Last Angry Brown Hat

By Johnny Enriquez
Published on LatinoLA: December 11, 2009

A Play That Touches Upon Many of Life's Intricacies

A fresh new batch of young Latino actors brings an intense energy to the revival of the award winning play, The Last Angry Brown Hat. This gritty troupe exhibit a provocative look at the lives of four Chicano ex-Brown Berets whose lives have taken different paths in life after 25 years. In association with La Fonda and Rick Ortiz Productions the play opened on November 20th at the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles and is playing through January 9th, 2010.

The ghosts of Chicanismo's past haunt four ex-Brown Berets as they gather in Willie's garage, a welding shop owner, who has held closely and dearly his Chicano power beliefs. A funeral of one of their closest friends reunites the last remaining members of the 1970's Brown Berets chapter. The play characters also include, Louie, a teacher, Jojo, the television writer, and Rude Boy the Vietnam veteran.

The Last Angry Brown Hat playwriter, Alfredo Ramos, takes the reigns for the first time as director of the play and adds his unique urban flavor. Under his direction, the casts' internal fight with their past demons paints a picture of failure and triumph, and of remorse and acceptance.

Daniel E. Mora's (Road Dogs, Scrubs, Brothers and Sisters, and Boston Legal) portrayal of Rude Boy helped bring the play to a new level. Playing an unemployed, alcoholic Vietnam veteran, Mora really showed the pain and angst the character has suffered as he recalls being a young Chicano losing his independence when he was drafted to fight in Vietnam. In the play he remembers distinctly the day he was drafted. It was September 16th, "That day Mexicans celebrated their independence, and I lost mine," said Rude Boy.

Rolando Molina's (American Me, Bruce All Mighty, Next Friday, and Crazy Beautiful) portrayal of Willie also left an impression. His character experiences an emotional rollercoaster of betrayal, hate, shame and later acceptance. All these feelings are genuinely felt in Molina's performance.

The role of Louie played by Jesus Munoz-Quintal surfaces a subject considered too taboo for the machismo group of young Brown Berets. JoJo, the character who is considered a sellout in Willie's eyes, is played by Ronnie Alvarez (Cold Case, Life, Gilmore Girls, Hanna Montana, and 8 Simple Rules).

The play touches upon many of life's intricacies: homosexuality, infidelity, loyalty, friendship, and pride. This is a must-see for the young and old, the proud and the bold. The trials and tribulations of these four Chicanos are timeless and cross all racial lines.

The play was originally produced in 1992 as part of Plaza De La Raza's Nuevo Chicano Theatre Works competition. In 1999 the play was performed at The Smithsonian Institute of American History in Washington D.C.

Alfredo Ramos is currently an accomplished independent filmmaker with film credits, such as urban drama, Road Dogz, which he wrote and directed and is currently completing an urban comedy, Food Stamps.

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Photo: Reminiscing of a dearly departed friend. From left to right, ex-Brown Berets Rude Boy (Daniel E. Mora), Louie (Jesus Munoz-Quintal) and Willie (Rolando Molina).

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