In ‘American (Tele) Vision’, the American Dream Becomes a Nightmare

American (Tele) Vision
Raul Castillo, Cleve, Bianca “B” Norwood and Elia Monte-Brown in “American (Tele) Vision”. Photo by Joan Marcus.

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the rundown:

what would happen if wandavision And everywhere together convergence? This would be a force with which to calculate. A similar theme appears in the flashy Off-Broadway premiere. American (Tele) Vision At the New York Theater Workshop.

Through the story of an undocumented Mexican family, the non-binary pos queer indigenous Mexican playwright Victor I. Cazares and director Ruben Polendo shine a light on how the American Dream becomes a perverted nightmare. Through innovative use of naturalistic design, projections and live video feeds, aAmerican (Tele) Vision Takes viewers to the United States of the 90s where fantasy and reality blur and capitalism guides, provides and decides who dies.

No Tea, No Shade:

American (Tele) Vision
(L to R) Klav and Raul Castillo in “American (Tele) Vision”. Photo by Joan Marcus.

trip to fetch American (Tele) Vision Life was 15 years in the making. In 2007, Cazares visited the MoMA PS1 in New York City and became fascinated by carpets taken from a mobile home as they grew up. That fateful day inspired Cazares to write the first draft American (Tele) VisionWhich was then brought to life by the New York Theater Workshop and Theater Mittu.

RELATED: Victor I. Cazares on Queue Theater, One Retro Video Game at a Time

Cazares’ play draws audiences through TV and video games to tell the story of an immigrant family: parents Maria Ximena (Elia Monte-Brown) and Octavio (Raul Castillo), children Erica (Bianca “B” Norwood) and Alejandro (Chew, who also plays Alejandro’s boyfriend Jesse), and Erica’s childhood friend Jeremy (Ryan J. Haddad). Collectively, they serve as carriers for memories and life experiences as they explore gender, sexuality, immigration, mental health, love, and family bonds.

whereas American (Tele) Vision Tells the story of an undocumented Mexican family, it also demystifies how the American dream is rooted within and fosters capitalism. It becomes an all-encompassing force that each character wrestles in their own way, succumbing to and fighting over-consumption and over-production.

Eventually, the dream of a better life turns on its head as each character’s story unfolds. Jesse and Alejandro work at a fence production factory, which becomes a powerful metaphor. ,We made chain linked fences,” says Jesse. “To keep us out. To keep us in.”

RELATED: A First Lady fever dream scorches the stage in Chicago’s Steppenwolf

Let’s have a moment:

American (Tele) Vision
Elia Monte-Brown, Top, and Bianca “B” Norwood in ‘American (Tele) Vision’. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The production team, which includes technology design by Kelly Colburn, Alex Hawthorne, and Justin Nestor, and exclusive apparel by Mondo Guerra. project Runway fame), turns this ’90s fever dream into reality. But it’s Monte-Brown’s fascinating performanceMaria Ximena — a mother and wife looking for a way out of their own American nightmare that plunges deeply into a distorted reality — combines the techniques of drama with a distinctly emotional tempo.

Dressed in a curvy cacophony of UPC barcodes and sales tags as “Wal-Martina”, she remembers crossing the border to save Erica’s life after stealing the drug. Unable to read the label, she relies on the help of a stranger, but in this new reality the weight of parenthood is enormous. She says on the video:

“Love the things that are replaceable. Easy to find, Erica:
On shelves, on racks, and on display tables—things clearly visible
Continuous illumination, under fluorescent electric lights
Constant discussion, constant recharge.
A fountain of ever-present perfection. ,

the last word:

American (Tele) Vision Creatively highlights the untold stories of Brown people, immigrants and LGBTQ people through the lens of media, consumerism and gaming. “It’s so exciting to create something that people respond to because they’ve also analyzed the videos. And experienced them as a way to escape, but also as an identity building,” explained Cazares. In, “Because when we avoid our realities, we are creating our own identity.”

American (Tele) Vision Plays Off-Broadway at the New York Theater Workshop until October 16.

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