I just saw the play Machos written and directed by Coya Paz and performed by Teatro Luna at the 16th Street Theater in Berwyn, Illinois. Teatro Luna is the only all-Latina theater group in Chicago area and I have seen many of their previous productions that were very good, but this one is by far their funniest, and perhaps, also their most serious. Machos is based on interviews with men about how they feel about being men. The men in the play describe what it’s like to be a man and how much pressure society, family, and peers place on them in their quest to be men. This play truly analyzes all aspects of society’s expectations of men in general and also the Hispanic expections of being macho, as the play’s title implies. Since all the men are portrayed by women dressed as men, there’s a tongue in cheek attitude about the whole analysis. They honestly complain about how they don’t understand women without sounding like a David Mamet rant against bitches. If men were to put on this play, the tone would certainly come off as more hostile toward women. However, since the play is written and directed by a woman, the men portrayed seem more human and their problems and behaviour seems more plausible. The play is definitely a comedy about many serious subjects such as love, infidelity, sex, and homosexuality, but there also many poignant scenes also, like the one of the Mexican father who drinks alone at home listening to old Mexican music on vinyl LPs. Even though he’s at home with his family, he’s also alienating himself from them and therefore drinking alone instead of eating supper with family. It’s actually a vicious circle of which he’s oblivious.
Okay, my favorite scene occurred after the play was over near the restrooms. A cast member stood between the doors to the Men’s and Women’s room and said, “Which one do I use?” She, I mean He, I mean, S/he went into the Women’s room. I highly recommend this play.