United States Tanya Saracho’s Fade: GableStage, Coral Gables, Florida, 19.8.2022. (SL)
Written by Tanya Saracho
Director – Teo Castellanos
Sets & Lighting designer – Frank J. Oliva
Costume designer – Camilla Haith
Sound designer – Seth ‘Brimstone’ Schere
Film streaming director & Editor – Alexandru Gherman
Video camera operator – Magnus Stark
Lucia – Alexandra Acosta
Abel – Alex Alvarez
On the evening of 19 August, a crowd gathered outside the theater at the magnificent Biltmore Resort in Coral Gables for the opening night of GableStage’s final production of the 2021-2022 season. Written in 2017, Fade is a humorous drama that explores socio-economic issues of Hispanic identity against the backdrop of a white-male-dominated corporate environment. The themes of the play are explored through the conversations between Lucia, a young writer beginning her first job in television, and Abel, the janitor who cleans her office.
Directed by Teo Castellanos, the play opens with the sound of a muffled hip-hop song emanating from Abel’s headphones as he mops the set: a generic office space with desk, couch, mini fridge, coffee pot and printer. The music fades away, and we see a vibrant Lucia, dressed in her Sunday best and carrying a box of decorations for her new office. The silence is then filled with amplified sounds of Lucia fidgeting with a broken shelf until she ultimately startles the audience by comically shouting ‘Disculpe!’, trying to get the attention of Abel who is now offstage. After a brief but animated exchange in Spanish, Lucia is surprised to learn that Abel speaks English. She has recently moved to Los Angeles from Chicago and does not understand the hesitation of so many Angelinos to speak in Spanish with her. Abel bluntly informs her that many of the service workers she has been encountering might be forbidden to speak Spanish at work and could potentially lose their jobs if they do.
Lucia is quickly drawn to Abel who seems to be the only other Hispanic person employed in the building. The two begin projecting their superficial assumptions about the other when they meet, and it quickly becomes apparent that, despite their shared identity as Mexican-Americans, they come from very different backgrounds. Much to Lucia’s chagrin, Abel quickly pegs her to be a ‘fresa’, someone from a preppy, upper-class background, just by the way she speaks Spanish. Despite the initial hiccups, Lucia and Abel eventually become workplace confidantes in a setting where Lucia is fearful that she is considered to be the token ‘diversity hire’.
Tanya Saracho drew inspiration for the play from her own experience as a Mexican-American in television. Saracho purportedly had even befriended a custodian on a film set where she was working while writing Fade. GableStage Artistic Director Bari Newport states, ‘The excellence of this piece lies in Saracho’s playful exploration of complex, personal topics like heritage, status and identity’.
Fade stars Alexandra Acosta, who has worked in numerous off-Broadway productions, and Alex Alvarez, a Florida-based veteran of GableStage. Together they create a powerful, thought-provoking chemistry that will have you laughing, crying and driving home with a fresh perspective. Fade runs 19 August through 18 September and is available for streaming from 24 August to 18 September (click here for more information).
2 thoughts on “GableStage’s <i>Fade</i> explores the complexity of workplace identities with wit and charm”
Well written review! The first sentence sets up a feeling of excitement! Description of how the relationship between Lucia and Abel progresses creates anticipation for what comes next. I wanted to run right out and get tickets, but then realized I was thousands of miles away from the venue!
Hi Rita, you can still watch the show via streaming! Streaming for this show is available at the same performance times until September 18, 2022! Purchase a ticket (as you would if you were attending the production in person) and you will receive a link prior to the showtime of your ticketed performance. Check the theatre website or contact the box office for more information.