Dallas Theater Center’s FADE – A Review By Gadi Elkon

"When Lucia, a young Mexican born novelist, begins her dream career as a television writer in L.A., she finds herself much more comfortable with the only other Latino around, one of the janitors, than with anyone in the writers’ room. this new comic-drama by Tanya Saracho, a writer for HBO’s Girls and ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, poses tricky questions about identity and community, as Lucia struggles to bridge the distance between where she came from and where she’s going. Contains profane language, mature themes, and sexual humor."   DTC's FADE.

Here is my review of this bold production that runs through January 7th at the Wyly's Studio Theater.

From the quick wit of Tanya Saracho comes a play that immediately breaks down barriers to identity, race and sexuality showcased in the modern multi-culture America.  Lucia (Melisa Pereyra) becomes our fish-out-of-water sympathetic lead even through her interactions with her fellow Latino worker Abel (Franco Gonzalez) hold many contradictions.  This mixture of "low" level janitor and talented writer causes conflicts in status and is the catalyst for so much of the wonderful back and forth banter between the actors.  Saracho's words are biting at times and extremely poignant at other moments, but the sense of humor throughout makes this production flow.  The full arc of Lucia is something special to witness.  As this character begins to take off you slowly realize that her ascent will cause a unique rift with her only friend at work.  Abel's constant stoic nature translates well as the every man figure.  But his status as the janitor takes us the audience to a place we may have never ventured.  His profession certainly doesn't define his reality and the more truth uncovered about his life the more lively the story becomes.  Just as Lucia's writing also utilizes Abel's story so do we the audience.  He is both a voice of reason and the voice we never have paid attention to.  I was scared to see how 2 actors could hold our attention through 1 and 45 minutes of play, but these two mesmerizing talents capture Saracho's incredibly profound vision perfectly.  There is even a moment in the production that is totally blocked in silence, minus the hum of a vacuum, that is somehow intriguing and powerful.  A production that makes you want to discuss the world you live. 

Add in Direction from Christie Vela, a talented actress herself, and you have a true actors' production that allows the performances to shine.  The setting is small and slightly confined as is the worlds of Lucia and Abel.  The office is barren but filled with the necessary elements to allow for something intimate and yet universal.  The actors are allowed to have movement but their presence is never upstaged by something in the setting.  Vela obviously allows for the action to mingle perfectly with Saracho's profound interactions.  Lucia is a bit more fiery and her clothing becomes it's own honest character by the play's close.  The wardrobe is something in itself to behold.  Abel has his own visual stamp as his tats become integral to the plot. 

Overall FADE is a must see production for fresh and bold voice.  Two actors shine and once again DTC showcases why it won a Tony.  The Wyly is a masterful showcase of how to transformative a "space" it can truly be and even in the small studio theater space we can experience something truly huge in importance.  Don't miss out.

For more information on the production please go, here.