×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Barefoot Boy with Shoes on

Edwin Sanchez has written half a fine play with his latest, "Barefoot Boy With Shoes On." The superior half chronicles the fresh struggles and the old resignation of three generations of Latino men living in a one-room New York apartment. When three accomplished actors --- Nelson Vasquez as son Rosario, Lazaro Perez as Pops and Jaime Sanchez as grandfather Buelo --- give voice to these characters' dreams, or despairing lack of them, Sanchez's drama is infused with a startling verisimilitude.

With:
Rosario ..... Nelson Vasquez Pops ..... Lazaro Perez Buelo ..... Jaime Sanchez Vicky ..... Abigail Lopez Dr. Morton ..... Keith Reddin Morris ..... Dennis Parlato

Edwin Sanchez has written half a fine play with his latest, “Barefoot Boy With Shoes On.” The superior half chronicles the fresh struggles and the old resignation of three generations of Latino men living in a one-room New York apartment. When three accomplished actors — Nelson Vasquez as son Rosario, Lazaro Perez as Pops and Jaime Sanchez as grandfather Buelo — give voice to these characters’ dreams, or despairing lack of them, Sanchez’s drama is infused with a startling verisimilitude.

The world outside Rosario’s cramped apartment, pushed to far stage right in Walt Spangler’s wonderful jungle-gym set, is the other, much weaker half of “Barefoot Boy.” Here, Sanchez draws stereotypes that are all symbol and no flesh: the pregnant girlfriend, Vicky (Abigail Lopez), who inexplicably goes from one thug lover to the next; the social worker, Dr. Morton (Keith Reddin), who forces his Yankee materialism on Vicky’s decision to keep or not to keep her and Rosario’s baby; and the wealthy gay man Morris (Dennis Parlato), who educates Rosario on such life essentials as Bach, martinis, silk shirts and the aphrodisiac qualities of sweaty socks. (At least director Casey Childs doesn’t have Puccini on when Morris bids Rosario, the window washer, into his umpteenth-floor luxury apartment.)

With Morris, and to a somewhat lesser extent Vicky and Dr. Morton, it’s as if the bright but uneducated Rosario had formed these characters himself after watching too many movies. In other equally troubling aspects, “Barefoot Boy” resembles a film script with its short impressionistic fragments of dialogue that aren’t always developed dramatically. The play’s intermissionless 90 minutes is another obvious cinematic touch.

But a different, vital play breathes when Sanchez gives his family of three men the time and room to beat against the encroaching four walls of their environment. Rosario’s is a remarkable journey, and one well worth taking with as charismatic an actor as Vasquez. (In a bit of nontraditional casting, he could make a fascinating Stanley Kowalski.) Lopez and Reddin admirably perform against type, and Childs only fails with Parlato, pushing him to play right into the insufferably arch writing.

Barefoot Boy with Shoes on

(DRAMA; PRIMARY STAGES; 89 SEATS; $ 35 TOP)

Production: NEW YORK A Primary Stages presentation of a play in one act by Edwin Sanchez. Directed by Casey Childs.

Crew: Set, Walt Spangler; costumes, Debra Stein, lighting, Deborah Constantine; sound and music, Fabian Obispo; stage manager, Karyn Meek. Opened Oct. 20, 1999. Reviewed Oct. 14. Running time: 1 HOUR, 30 MIN.

With: Rosario ..... Nelson Vasquez Pops ..... Lazaro Perez Buelo ..... Jaime Sanchez Vicky ..... Abigail Lopez Dr. Morton ..... Keith Reddin Morris ..... Dennis Parlato

More Film

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler to Perform on the Oscars (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. Midler, a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, will sing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns.” The song, by Shaiman and his lyricist partner Scott Wittman, is one of five [...]

  • Olmo Teodoro Cuaron, Alfonso Cuaron and

    Alfonso Cuarón Tells Why His Scoreless 'Roma' Prompted an 'Inspired' Companion Album

    Back around the ‘90s, “music inspired by the film” albums got a bad name, as buyers tired of collections full of random recordings that clearly were inspired by nothing but the desire to use movie branding to launch a hit song. But Alfonso Cuarón, the director of “Roma,” is determined to find some artistic validity [...]

  • Berlin Film Festival 2019 Award Winners

    Berlin Film Festival 2019: Nadav Lapid's 'Synonyms' Wins Golden Bear

    Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s “Synonyms,” about a young Israeli man in Paris who has turned his back on his native country, won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale on Saturday. The Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize went to François Ozon’s French drama “By the Grace of God,” a fact-based account of the Catholic Church [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel,' 'Lego Movie 2' to Lead President's Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” is holding a slim lead ahead of “Lego Movie 2’s” second frame with an estimated four-day take of $29.1 million from 3,790 North American locations. “Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” meanwhile, is heading for about $25 million for a domestic tally of around $66 million. The two films lead the pack [...]

  • Marianne Rendon, Matt Smith, Ondi Timoner

    Robert Mapplethorpe Biopic Team Talks 'Fast and Furious' Filming

    Thursday night’s New York premiere of the Matt Smith-led biopic “Mapplethorpe” took place at Cinépolis Chelsea, just steps from the Chelsea Hotel where the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe once lived — but director Ondi Timoner had no sense of that legacy when she first encountered him in a very different context. “When I was ten [...]

  • Bruno GanzSwiss Film Award in Geneva,

    Bruno Ganz, Star of 'Downfall' and 'Wings of Desire,' Dies at 77

    Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor best known for dramatizing Adolf Hitler’s final days in 2004’s “Downfall,” has died. He was 77. Ganz died at his home in Zurich on Friday, his representatives told media outlets. The cause of death was reportedly colon cancer. More Reviews Sundance Film Review: Stephen K. Bannon in 'The Brink' Film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content