'The Hombres' bends the rules about manhood
A play about construction dudes turning to yoga has the whiff of "The Full Monty" to it, but this quiet piece manages to reshuffle the stereotypes into a new pattern, and produce some engaging, even uplifting, drama.
In The Hombres by Tony Meneses, Phillip Ray Guevara plays Julian (pronounced "Hulian") teaches yoga in New Jersey while his dream of being a modern dancer fades. Three Latino construction workers, who like to ogle the yoga girls from their scaffolding, eventually start showing up for lessons.
First is the brooding, older foreman, Hector, played by Jimmy Garcia, who has a dark secret, then the light hearted Pedro (Demetri Tostado) and finally the loose-cannon youth Beto (Jonathan Hernandez).
Using Spanglish and making the most of the Armory's tiny studio stage, director Reena Dutt captures the cramped conditions of work and of life for these men trying to figure out how to be men. The stereotypes — sensitive gay dancer, awkward bi-curious straights (Hector and student Miles (Tyler Caffall), hot-headed Latinos (Beto) — come together without too much pain. There's only one bloody nose and one deported undocumented worker.
The talented cast makes the play chug along nicely without an intermission, and the finale is well-packaged and palatable. "The Hombres" is well worth seeing before it ends on Oct. 9th.
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