My Mañana Comes tells the present day story of four busboys in an upscale New York restaurant and their struggles to achieve the American dream. Peter (played masterfully by Edred Utomi) and Whalid (Spencer Smith) are American born while Jorge (Jorge E. Rodriguez) and Pepe (Jose Martinez) are undocumented immigrants from Mexico.
Each character is in a different stage of his life but the common thread is finding what it takes to survive in a dog-eat-dog world. As the boys work together, there is a familial bond. The characters mess around, banter, and share the ins and outs of life’s everyday complexities. The chemistry among the actors are on point and this allows the audience to easily experience each character’s perspective on life, socioeconomic status, as well as immigration issues. The cast is superb in portraying their characters and the use of dual languages (social English and Spanish, even Spanglish) is highly effective here. The audience slips into Mañana’s world and finds that it very much mirrors our own.
With immigration being such a hot topic in current events (especially here in Southern California), it can be difficult to imagine what immigrants must endure to adapt and maintain life not just for one’s self but for others. Each character has goals bigger than himself. Jorge is saving money, pinching every cent and sends his monies back home where he hasn’t seen his family for years. This is resonating as my own first generation immigrant parents have done the same. Pepe is young and wide-eyed; excited to work and experience life here in the U.S. Peter, a father and husband, is trying to make ends meet. And Whalid, with hopes of becoming an EMT, is living paycheck to paycheck. But an unknown variable threatens all four men’s livelihood including their friendship. Mañana is eye-opening as the audience can experience fleshed-out, multi-dimensional, and grounded characters. Do we take for granted the laborers who struggle on a daily basis? Is society influenced by today’s political figures and their commentary on the state of U.S. immigration? Families are greatly affected by these issues and playwright Elizabeth Irwin and director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg do a wondrous task of humanizing and celebrating the lives of low wage earners, as well as the undocumented immigrant experience.
Everyone struggles. The status of America’s economy and politics is still in flux, and it continues to affect the way people live today. For what mañana may or may not bring, is yet to be seen.
Check out the west coast premiere of My Manana Comes now playing at the San Diego Repertory Theatre until October 25th! Powerful, intriguing, and controversial, Mañana is definitely a must-see! For more info, check out sdrep.org or call 619.544.1000
Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to attend the October 17th showing of My Mañana Comes in exchange for this blog and all other media outlets. All opinions are my own.