Coming Soon to Your Barrio: ¡Estar Guars!

When George Lucas filmed his original “Star Wars” in Tunisia and an English film studio in 1975 and 1976, the film went $3 million dollars over budget due to production difficulties and cast and crew believed the film would fail at the box office.  It opened in limited engagement on May 25, 1977. Nobody saw this international cultural paradigm creator/shifter coming. It grossed over $550 million in its initial run and ended up grossing $775 million in subsequent release, deemed the fourth highest grossing film of all time. Sequels have abounded with radio dramas, solo films and TV series created, following its plot and character arcs, an entire universe of creative work. Many parodies have emerged as well, some exhibiting more creative inspiration than others. Dallas audiences have three more chances this Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8-9, to attend one such fine production as the final entry in Cara Mia Theatre Company’s 3rd Annual LATINIDADES, a bold, unique Festival of Latinx Theatre at the Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak Street, Dallas TX 75204. caramiatheatre.org

Meet ¡Estar Guars! “They’re bad. They’re brown. They’re The Latino Comedy Project.”

LCP (latinocomedyproject.com) is an Austin-based, Emmy-nominated sketch troupe, internationally revered for its YouTube comedy videos and high energy multi-media performance art, featuring incisive political and pop culture satire. Written before COVID, according to LCP’s virtuoso Artistic Director/ Resident Playwright/ Lead Actor Adrian Villegas, in 2023 the work will continue a popular annual staging tradition for Austin audiences.  Its performance this weekend as part of the LATINIDADES Festival marks its first staging outside Austin.

Audiences will laugh heartily at the cascade of pratfalls, double entendres, corny jokes, audience interactivity, recognizable characters (each written and presented with droll satirical twist) and familiar plotline. It’s easy to see how LCP has earned over 14 million viewers on YouTube with its definitive mastery of film art. This film aspect easily spans the full width of the Latino Cultural Center main stage, meshing superbly, smooth as glass, with the fast-paced interaction of stage characters in taut vignettes in front of the screen and downstage. The over-riding cultural milieu is pure Latinx, but the blend of Hispanic and Anglo dialogue keeps the humor and plotline clear and fresh for speakers of either language.  The San Francisco Chronicle describes LCP performances as “murderously funny”, with good reason. No spoilers here, but keep an eye out for Han Cholo’s  spaceship, the tiny hands and mewling petulance of The Emperor (Nick Walker) and the “politically correct” excesses of the feminista robot R2#Me2 (Thelma Rosana).

Almost stealing the show is the production’s Yoda, a spunky puppet Abuela named Yola, masterfully enlivened by Eva McQuade. Princess Leia becomes La Princesa Leia Ocasio-Cortez, with certain identifiable outspoken traits. Andy Gonzalez-Bendikson as Han Cholo and Gustavo Martinez as Chuy bring a Cheech and Chong vibe to the performance, discussing “spice”. Michael Galvan’s earnest Luke would make Mark Hamil grin with delight, and Adam Martinez’s Darth Vendido embodies a ”dark side” the audience can boo at with merry gusto. Playwright/Director Villegas plays Tio Juan Kenobi, driving the performance arc relentlessly forward with wit, power and physically adept wielding of the light saber for good. Enjoy surprise revelatory “behind the scenes” clips of interviews with filmmaker “Jorge” Lucas and cringe at a perfectly creepy Fanboy in the house audience, played by Nate Dunaway. Other on stage and screen delights await to amuse you as well, with stellar technical production and CGI Visual FX to burn. ¡Estar Guars! is a witty homage to the classic film so many love, full of charm and hope for a better world for all people, a feel-good interlude for our troubled times. The characters exchange a refrain often and at finale: “May the force be with you…and also with you.” The energy will follow you out to the parking lot and beyond.

¡Estar Guars! performances run Saturday Oct 8 at 2:30 and 7:30pm, with a final matinee on Sunday Oct. 9 at 2:30pm. Tickets $10-$20. Visit caramiatheatre.org

Coming Soon to Your Barrio: ¡Estar Guars!

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