Primary Stages presents the NY premiere of this comedy about the burgeoning friendship between Lucia and Abel, two Latinos working at a ruthless Hollywood studio. More…
Lucia is a tenacious novelist, newly hired to write for a TV detective series and struggling to find her place among a team of domineering white male co-workers. Abel is one of the studio’s janitors, compassionate to Lucia’s difficulties, and generous with his opinions and personal anecdotes. As their bond grows, Abel’s stories quickly blur with those Lucia is writing for the show, and they find themselves in the center of their own not-quite-made-for-TV drama. Written by Tanya Saracho, co-producer of ABC's 'How to Get Away with Murder.'
"Class, culture, language, appropriation, and integrity underscore the quiet power of Saracho’s 'Fade.' A story about storytelling, a play about the creative process, a demonstration of culture meeting commerce and two characters from very different worlds who meet at work...Ruiz’s choreography of these initial interactions and the subtle performance of presumption and quiet decision to put up these 'microagressions' are stunning...The power of this story grows as it is absorbed." Full Review
"When so much of the American discussion of privilege focuses on race, Saracho bravely writes about class...Some confusing and all-too-easy moments...Luckily, Ruiz's well-staged production helps us suspend our disbelief over these storytelling chasms. His staging is tight and efficient without smothering the performances of the two actors...Saracho's teeming intelligence and emotional sensitivity more than compensate for the occasionally awkward contrivance of her script." Full Review
"If the premise sounds like a sitcom pitch, at least playwright Tanya Saracho supplies plenty of wit and attitude...Saracho has a keen ear for delusions or hypocrisies...Despite Saracho’s smart, fluid dialogue and the tight staging by Ruiz, 'Fade' suffers from two-hander structural monotony: She’s having a crisis, he shuts off the vacuum, and they talk. Saracho also makes Abel far more sympathetic than Lucia, who ends up (predictably) exploiting his 'authentic' experiences." Full Review
"Funny, sharply written...This one-act two-hander begins in flash-card scenes that seem sitcom-ready, but Lucia and Eddie’s later duets have real punch and sting. The crisp staging by Jerry Ruiz rolls with the jagged pacing deftly. Dow and Martinez are terrific, his long, slow burn a foil to her staccato chatter and mixed-message body language. The ironically titled 'Fade' ends on a predictably bitter note that leaves unexplored the questions raised earlier about class versus genetics." Full Review
"Saracho allows the 100-minute interaction to arise with believable spontaneity and gives both characters edges and shortcomings that take the play far beyond a simple parable about ethnicity and assimilation...Ruiz handles it adroitly. He neither pushes the emotions nor forces the pace, keeping the story grounded in realism without letting it get bogged down...'Fade,' for all its limitations, is a play genuinely worth paying attention to." Full Review
"A fizzy if somewhat formulaic two-character drama...Under Ruiz’s precise direction, their early interactions are calculatedly awkward...Saracho’s dialogue is witty rather than wincing. Less happily, she has a slightly lurid taste in narrative and a habit of asking characters to behave in certain ways not because their individual psychology demands it but to set up the next plot point...What’s left is a fairly predictable parable about trading ethnic solidarity for career opportunities." Full Review
"Despite punchy dialogue that effectively lands its laugh lines, there's no avoiding the predictability...Under Joel Ruiz's taut direction, and with a strong assist from his design team, the many short scenes have enough physical and visual energy to save 'Fade' from being too talky and static...Familiar as this narrative is, it's refreshing to have it play out for characters from a demographic usually seen in more stereotypical roles on stage and screen." Full Review
"Saracho’s play—so smart about prejudice often seemingly rampant—goes somewhat off the tracks...She lets the audience get ahead of her...Though that goes some way to vitiate 'Fade,' it doesn’t undermine the play completely. Her observations about the complexities of intolerance are astute...The playwright is valuably abetted by director Jerry Ruiz." Full Review
"More could have been developed on the subject of class, which is so potent and seldom addressed in our society...The performances, under the direction of Jerry Ruiz, are both fine and give the script more dimension than is tangibly evident in the spare writing...Perhaps it is because of unanswered questions and a bit of teasing by the playwright that 'Fade' is a good bet for an evening at the theater." Full Review
"Director Jerry Ruiz has worked with Ms. Saracho before and he shows a sure hand here. Two-character plays aren’t easy, but Mr. Ruiz knows exactly how to keep things roiling. But his staging doesn’t succeed in disguising the predictability of the plot...What was surprising, to me at least, is how badly the Lucia character comes off here...Both Annie Dow and Eddie Martinez give fine performances." Full Review
"'Fade’s' treatment of identity, sexual, and office politics, as well as class warfare, is the mildly spicy flavoring of a play that actually could be about people of any ethnicity...Stuffed with one-liners (including two limp ones alluding to Trump) that too infrequently raise chuckles (or require you know Spanish to comprehend), the highly episodic ‘Fade’ shifts back and forth from fast-paced comedy to serious dilemmas, stumbling now and then to maintain consistent believability." Full Review
"'Fade' is well acted, and Saracho’s script touches on several worthwhile issues that seem based on her own experience...But by the end of the play, 'Fade' feels slighter and more obvious than it could have been...Her observations are nothing new, and, given what’s going on in the country now, it’s frankly hard to muster much outrage about the behind-the-scenes of television. If the TV industry is meant as a metaphor for the country as a whole, it feels an inadequate one." Full Review
"Playwright Tanya Saracho has big ambitions here: 'Fade' is built around issues of race and class and immigration. She herself is a TV writer and the early scenes have a delicious, insider quality that smack of the autobiographical...But the dialogue can veer into lecturing, which is hard to take from the irritating Lucia...As the play goes on, and the scenes become interminably long, it becomes less and less credible or engaging." Full Review
"It’s a wheel-spinner of a play that sets out to address issues of culture, class and the price of ambition, but ends up being as contrived as a telenovela...Saracho seems confined here by the structure of a two-character one-act, especially on subjects she clearly knows well...There might have been something to emotionally engage us in director Jerry Ruiz’s production if Lucia wasn’t written and portrayed as so charmless, irritatingly garrulous and obviously artificial." Full Review
"The action is as predictable as the most hackneyed network series; there's little to do but wait for the betrayal that will surely come...Jerry Ruiz's direction hasn't been able to solve these basic script problems, and it's possible that he has pushed the actress Annie Dow too far in the direction of making Lucia so annoying...Eddie Martinez fares much better as Abel, filling in the blanks of character so expertly that one comes to feel one knows him well." Full Review
"The play’s ending is no surprise and does not warrant the unusual blackout and completely different part of the set. One of several odd choices in Jerry Ruiz’s staging and Ms. Saracho’s script...It is not the actors’ obvious craft that is in question here. Although 'Fade' raises some enduring and rich questions about classism, sexism, racism, and prejudice, the play does not offer any new perspectives on these issues nor does it address them with any depth of understanding or suspense." Full Review
"Saracho's setup is plenty juicy, promising powerful recriminations, trenchant moralizing, and the kind of searing rhetoric on which August Wilson built his career. But the payoff, which consumes all but the first 10 minutes or so of this tedious 95-minute excursion, is so choked with clichés that most of Saracho's strong groundwork, and director Jerry Ruiz's attempts to rouse it from its natural torpor, plunges headfirst into the meaningless." Full Review
for a previous production "Amid the crowd-pleasing jabs at the TV industry and jokes about 'TV logic' are serious observations about social standing, passing, climbing the corporate ladder and what society values as meaningful work...Martinez finds warmth and humor in his role, conveying Abel’s layered personality with satisfying depth even in silent moments...Saracho’s writing is so sharp, full lives take shape with an economy of words...A powerful piece with a fresh voice and a bright future." Full Review
for a previous production "The early dialogue focuses so strongly on issues of race and class that it feels textbook. Saracho seems to be downloading all of her own observations about Hollywood rather than creating living, breathing characters...There’s charm and humor in Saracho’s writing...'Fade' could be deeper and better developed, but it does evoke fruitful thoughts about the lives unfolding in tandem with our own, the mysteries they hold and the miraculous moments when the veil lifts and we recognize each other." Full Review
See it if you want to see a relevant play about striving and discrimination against latinos.The acting is excellent and the ending is not surprising.
Don't see it if You don't want to relate to the characters.
See it if you want to see great actors convey a story with a fresh take on class and race relations; you enjoy productions on an intimate stage
Don't see it if you don't enjoy 2-person plays; the subject matter of race in America right now is not interesting to you
See it if you like intimate two-handers; powerful yet accessible depictions of class, privilege & power & its impact on our everyday relationships
Don't see it if you believe success is "self-made", or you don't want to question your role in the world, whichever side of the aisle you sit on.
See it if You like 2-character plays that explore the Latino experience. You like thought-provoking theater. You love good acting.
Don't see it if You don't appreciate insight into a culture that isn't yours. You don't enjoy interactions between two characters only.
See it if You appreciate an evolving relationship that doesn't depend stereotypes . Also, f you are a Mexican...the ones in the audience LOVED it.
Don't see it if you get annoyed when you can't understand a language, and therefore wont get, some of the laughs.
See it if you like plays of other cultures, are interested in how television shows are created, enjoy character driven plays
Don't see it if you are looking for big splashy production
See it if You like an easy to follow plot, are interested in Latinx culture, family drama, the TV industry, challenges to make ends meet.
Don't see it if You expect a great classic, Like changing sets and large casts, Do not like soap operas.
See it if you like office comedies that deal with serious issues like class attitudes & minority treatment, as well as friendships on the job
Don't see it if you don't like two-handers, occasionally thick accents and use of Spanish, reminders of the pressures and manipulations of work
See it if you are interested in the process by which TV shows are created from the writer's point of view.
Don't see it if you dislike social messages in comedy. Although the characters are Latinos, they could be Irish or Jewish; ambition is a cruel human trait.
See it if you want to see a well-acted two- hander with "Latino" characters in an office setting, where there are interesting dynamics at play.
Don't see it if you absolutely need a play with a great deal of action, dislike potty mouth dialogue and can't tolerate some plot predictability.
See it if You are willing to tolerate an annoying protagonist to see a study of race and more importantly class in personal interaction.
Don't see it if You don't care or are blind to such things. And besides, the run is over.
See it if you want to see good acting, a relevant topic without surprises.
Don't see it if you want an exciting night at the theater with a story that has more depth. The play starts off with promise but fizzles out.
See it if You want to see a diverse story about two Latinos living in the US. The final image of this play is epic -great design and direction.
Don't see it if You don't want to sit through 75% of the play before something goes wrong and things get interesting.
See it if You want to give new playwrights a chance and TV sitcom on stage doesn't bore you. Actors that are way better than the script are ok for you
Don't see it if Stereotypes that add no new insights is what you expect. Predictable script and outcomes annoy you.
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