King of the Desert: A Theatrical Tour de Force

Star Rene Rivera entices the audience to experience his life with him, to sit in the front seat of the emotional roller coaster

By Andres Chavez, San Fernando Valley Sun
Published on LatinoLA: June 7, 2010

King of the Desert: A Theatrical Tour de Force

Of all the works produced since the advent of the Chicano movement in the late 60s that deal with what it means to be a Mexican growing up in America, 'THE KING OF THE DESERT'' ranks among the very best.

'King of the Desert' is a wholly introspective play It is a PROFOUND AND MOVING WORK THAT OFFERS INSIGHT not only into the individual but also the society that individual inhabits.

From a purely theatrical viewpoint, this is an interesting play. Ren?® Rivera gives a brilliant performance, A TOUR DE FORCE that is a joy to watch.

The central question of the play, Who am I?, is established by no less an authority that the Prince of Denmark. Hamlet's famous soliloquy is performed in English and then in Spanish, losing none of its power in the translation, and sets the tone for the rest of the play.

The play follows two streams of consciousness. In the present, the character addresses an unseen individual about his fears and concerns. In the past, key events in his life are revealed: His childhood in San Antonio, his dream of becoming an actor, attending Juilliard, acting on Broadway and in films. Movement between present and past is seamless and the two streams merge at the end of the play.

There are many themes that are familiar to Chicano audiences. Only half of the power of this play comes from its WELL-WRITTEN SCRIPT. The other half is the performance by Ren?® Rivera. He commands the stage.

Rivera entices the audience to experience his life with him, to sit in the front seat of the emotional roller coaster Rivera takes you on. Rivera plays all the characters and he is able to give each one a distinct personality, whether it's through a change in voice, stance or attitude or all of the above.

IF YOU'VE EVER WANTED TO SEE AN ACTOR AT THE TOP OF HIS GAME, GO BUY YOUR TICKET FOR 'THE KING OF THE DESERT' NOW! This is a very insightful play and A MUST SEE EXPERIENCE FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN GREAT THEATER! Valentino Ferreira's direction was crisp and utilized the whole stage to great advantage. The set designed by Danuta Tomzynski created an overall stage film for the play while still providing the proper background for the more intimate scenes. The set was built by Michael Brainard.


The King of the Desert (El Rey del Desierto)[/url]
Friday, June 11, 2010
8:00PM to 9:30PM

"The King of the Desert (El Rey del Deseirto)" closes this weekend. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 10, 11 and 12, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 13, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. The play is being presented at the El Centro Theatre; 804 North El Centro Street (between Vine Street and Gower Street, just north of Melrose Avenue); Hollywood, CA 90038. For tickets and further information, please call 323-960-5774 or buy online at www.plays411.com/kingofthedesert .

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