February 19, 2016
Brandon and Julio
The Ford family
Michael and Henk
Brooke and Henk
Last year a series of short plays were presented at the Key West Theater under the collective name of Bones & Pie. It was an evening of short 10-15 minute plays which while all enjoyable, had one truly remarkable piece written by Michael Marrero and acted by Brandon Beach and Landon Bradbury. The piece was called Locura and after seeing the searing performance of the beautifully written piece I wrote that it was the finest piece of theatre that I had ever seen on a Key West stage, it was mesmerizing and amazing and I left the theater that night wishing I could see it again. Well I was not the only one who felt that way and Marrero went right to work transforming his vision in to a full length play that featured the same two characters and was their expanded story.
Effie and Caitlin
The premier of the full-length show, Locura, premiered at the Key West Theater and Kathy and I had our standard seats in the front row along with our friends the Ford family, Effie, Caitlin, Greta and Tom as well as our friend Lea and her boyfriend and my friends Jenny and Ashley. The expanded play saw the return of Brandon Beach as Chumpi, but Landon was replaced by an actor from Ney York named Julio Trinidad who played the character Octavio. Landon just could not commit the time needed for the production and as awesome as he was, Trinidad is a veteran actor who brings a wealth of experience to the role.
Jenny, Lyndsay Faye, Mark, Ashley and Nancy
Emily, Effie, Lea and Greta
I was a little concerned if the intensity could possibly be maintained over a full ninety minutes, but if anything it was even greater and this show is now the finest piece of Theatre that I have ever seen in Key West. The play is about a time before the gentrification and tourist invasion struck Key West, a rough and tumble period during the late 70s and early 80s that was totally different than what is found here today. The play features a Key West born Cuban Conch and his uncle who was born in Cuba and is all that is left of the younger man’s family. The lifestyle of the time featuring violence, corruption, heavy drinking, chasing loose women, gambling and fighting is the backdrop for the characters journey from the cock fights on Rockland Key, to Monkey Island to No Name Key and eventually home to Key West.
All the settings and events of the play are based on real places and things that actually happened back in the day, and Marrero is a masterful storyteller. The acting is literally enthralling and the play is simply fantastic. Anyone who appreciates Key West, its history or learning about a culture that has long since been assimilated into today’s much more sterile Key West will love this show. It is a must see for Conchs and it will be running at the Key West Theater through March 18 before traveling to New York for some performances and then to Havana where the same gifted actors will perform the show speaking only Spanish as part of a cultural exchange program with Cuba.
Ironically during the same week that I attended the show that celebrates the islands colorful past over the tourist imbued place that it is today, I spent the majority of my week this week pretty much playing tourist as my buddy Henk and his daughter Brooke were in town visiting from Cincinnati. I have known Henk and his family for well over 35 years as we grew up in the same neighborhood and I worked throughout high school with him, his brothers and sister at Hamaker Pharmacy in Indianapolis.
It was a pleasure having them back in town again, they also visited two years ago. This year we did even more tourist stuff, wondering around downtown, going to the Key West Aquarium and Historic Shipwreck Museum, climbing the tower that features fantastic views of the harbor and downtown Key West. We even managed to sneak in a bar or two including Captain Tony’s and the Porch. Sometimes it is just fun to play tourist, visiting places that I would never generally go unless we had out of town guests.
Henk and Brooke
They were here for a few days as part of a larger trip to Florida and when it came time for them to depart, I drove them up to Ft. Lauderdale where we were to see the Bruce Springsteen concert and also spend part of the day and afternoon the next day before their departure at Ft. Lauderdale Beach. We had lunch at one of the many bistros that line the beach and hung out for some time at the beach itself before heading to the airport, where I dropped them off. Sadly to Brooke’s dismay we did not have sufficient time to do adequate shopping before their departure, hopefully that means they will just have to come back. Otherwise I hope to see them in May around the time of the 100th Indy 500.