EDITOR’S NOTE: ‘St. Jude’ by Luis Alfaro at Radar L.A. is a must see
by Fanny Garcia
Luis Alfaro’s St. Jude is not just a performance: It is a baptism, a therapy session, and a funeral in ninety minutes. Alfaro’s genius comes from his courage. He literally bleeds for his work knowing that this act of self-mutilation is akin to exorcising the finality of death. His compulsion to be honest with himself and his audience about his life experiences transcends every line and movement he performs. It takes his audience on a trip through his deepest and most personal memories. Some stories are painful, but they seep into your soul with rapid fluidity and the side effects are compassion and love.
Alfaro’s father died last year. And this year he is performing his grief for an audience willing to experience it with him. He knows his audience; he knows that all human beings have experienced loss in their lives. By performing his grief, Alfaro reminds himself and the rest of us that grief should not be experienced alone; sharing, talking about it, and performing it makes the bloodletting a little bit more bearable.
Perhaps some of us walked into that theater expecting a Chicanito’s coming of age story, a youth-filled road trip through Highway 99, a Jack Kerouac moment of sorts. Instead, we climbed into a hearse, reminisced about life and death, and cried our eyes out with Luis Alfaro. My friend and actor Israel Lopez updated his Facebook status with a very apt observation, “Everybody felt a little messed up on the inside at the end…in the best of ways.” Why? Because Alfaro reminded us that we are not just the sum of our own lives, we are also made up of the life of our dead. They leave an indelible mark on our consciousness and become part of our identity.
Highway 99 became Alfaro’s own trail of tears, and by doing so has reclaimed this California artery as a symbol of our connection to this land and those who have been reclaimed by it.
by Luis Alfaro
Kirk Douglas Theatre
9820 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Saturday, September 28th at 8:30 pm
Sunday, September 29th at 1:00 pm
Tuesday, October 1st at 8:00 pm
Friday, October 4th at 9:00 pm
Saturday, October 5th at 4 pm.
For tickets or more information, visit www.redcat.org/event/luis-alfaro