Chicago is a city of many different backgrounds. A plethora of different races and financial statuses populate the city, creating a melting pot of different individuals and cultures. While this sounds tremendous in concept, the reality is that many of these groups of people face tremendous obstacles in their day to day life. Meet Juan(ito) Doe greatly details some of the anguish that Mexican-Americans face in the city of Chicago. With such a heavy topic at hand, the cast certainly needed to bring their top performance to the fold. They certainly managed to do this, transporting each and every audience member into the world of the surrounding neighborhood.
Not only was the cast impressive in their portrayal of their characters, but the stories themselves really shed light on how diverse the Mexican-American community can be. It is easy to try to label things, as this is human nature, but the variety of characters really prove that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Mexican-American communities. The actors acted accordingly to highlight the differences between these characters. Whether the character was gay, an alcoholic, or a confused teenager, these actors were able to create something completely and utterly real. I felt like I knew these people because the way they acted was so human.
In addition to the impressive acting being displayed, the intimate setting of the Storyfront allowed the message of the story to hit home that much more. Located on the South Side of the city, this storefront faced the street and often times included said street in its performance. Being able to see the character of the area gave the audience members new insight to the trials that plagued the play’s characters. The themes of racism, gentrification, and homophobia hit home so much harder, knowing that much of the story points took place right where we were.
At the end of the day, Meet Juan(ito) Doe is an important piece of theatre for everyone. Many of us are so privileged that it is easy to overlook many of the issues that plague minority neighborhoods. This story sheds light on some of these issues, while also providing a lot of theatrical moments for a casual audience member to enjoy.
Get tickets now to Meet Juan(ito) Doe through September 7th!