The Theatre Department pushes boundaries with its rendition of Kristoffer Diaz’s risqué play.
It started with a boisterous female researching for a school project. Then, the myths, rumors and innuendos morph into booming hip-hop and flashing neon lights as dancers in inner-city urban duds invade the kitchen.
Welcome to Arroyo’s, written by Kristoffer Diaz, is a non-conventional funked up play bouncing off the story of immigrant assimilation while daring to be different as hip-hop music took over the Boricua community in New York.
The Santa Ana College Theatre Department took over Phillips Hall over the weekend with raunchy humor and NSFW gestures including actors simulating masturbation and anal sex in a successful rendition of a play that lends itself to improvisation.
The play takes place in New York’s Lower East Side and follows the struggles of two Puerto Rican siblings, one a bartender and another a street artist, juggling their lives as they stay in touch with their origins represented by their recently deceased mother’s lifetime.
Through comedic romances and hardships, their only goal was to make their mother — who might be Reina Rey, one of the originators of hip-hop and rap music — proud.
“Everyone could relate to the pressures of pleasing someone,” said Adrian Lopez, joking about how he could relate all too well to his character, Alejandro, the bartender.
Playing his fiery little sister, Molly, Natalia Gutierrez delivers an aggressive, profanity-laced performance serving almost as therapy for anyone who needed to release their stress out loud.
Two MCs narrated the scenes through triumphs and troubles with catchy, punch lines and juvenile humor. Acting as puppeteers of the play, Dominick Gallardo and Jonathan Vu play Trip and Nelson. Their energetic chemistry pulls the audience into the story, using some original rap lines written by Gallardo and inspired by the play.
With breaks acting as mini intermissions between scenes, dancers in bright torn tees and loose pants popped, locked and dropped in unison to Latino hip-hop music. Cheers and yells echoed as they break danced and jumped over each other through fast movement, choreographed by Kari Jensen, who has worked with dancers from the Los Angeles Lakers Girls and Clippers Spirit Team.
Director Chris Cannon is excited about the energy that’s increased in the Theatre Department over the years. They’re always looking for culturally relevant and modern plays that students can relate to, he said.
“Doing the work and consistently pushing them to lose their self-consciousness is what helped their performances,” Cannon said.
Welcome to Arroyo’s will be on stage March 22 and March 23. Curtains are up at 8 p.m.