EMPANADA FOR A DREAM is a poignant and entertaining portrait of family and neighborhood – set against the secret that destroys it all. It’s a haunting tale about growing up by getting out. And coming back -- to one boy’s Lower East Side.
Empanada for a Dream transports the audience to Allen Street, in New York’s Lower East Side, everybody’s blasting music – bacchata, merengue and salsa. Everybody’s cooking – plantains, arapas, and empanadas. Boys play baseball and football on the street while the most beautiful girl watches from a window. In his living memoir Juan Francisco Villa uncovers the treasures of his family’s dark legacy.
"When portraying himself, current or former, in the piece, Villa’s voice fluctuates from little kid enthusiasm to a quiet solemnity. He assumes the personas of real-life characters from his ‘hood with the gusto of performers like Anna Deavere Smith, transforming himself in body and voice.... What might, in another production, feel like transitions, here are executed so well, with the help of director Alex Levy...they read as pitch-perfect shifts in tone and tempo. Never taking us out of the story, they instead draw us in, eager to see where we’re going and who we’ll meet next."
-Olivia Jane Smith, New York Theatre Review
"The undoubted highlight of the festival is Juan Francisco Villa's 'Empanada for a Dream.' If John Leguizamo's 'Freak' had a body count, it would be a bit like Villa's harsh, but often quite funny and touching portrait of his Colombian family on the Lower East Side, whose love of food, music and celebration covered up its roots in drug-related violent crime on a horrifying scale. Villa's anguish at his family's evolution from 'bettering each other to bettering themselves' is at the heart of our current, but evergreen, national debates about what it means to be American and how much responsibility we owe to each other. It's a solo that connects with a wide gallery of characters and concerns, and it deserves a longer outing after Yo Solo wraps"
-Kerry Reid, Chicago Tribune
Empanada for a Dream
THE SPARK | THE WALL | THE ESCAPE
The Alchemical Studios on April 8th at 7:30pm
104 West 14th Street, Manhattan 10011
Tickets $15 | www.precariatproductions.com