My Mañana Comes

by Dale Reynolds

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday April 21, 2016

My Mañana Comes

The plight of undocumented workers in this country will only grow worse with the effects of climate change, so Elizabeth Irwin's take on the effects, mostly positive, that these migrants bring to our society is eye-opening, for sure. "My Mañana Comes" takes place in an upscale restaurant at 66th and Madison, on New York's Upper East Side.

We meet only the lower-caste workers, three Latino, one African-American, who do the grunt work that keeps these places working properly. Peter (Lawrence Stallings) runs the backroom serving area, working with and delegating to the others. He gets along well with the other three, Jorge (Richard Azurdia), the older Mexican-born worker; Whalid (Peter Pasco), U.S. Puerto Rican native, and Pepe (Pablo Castelblanco), the youngest, also an immigrant from Mexico.

The problems they face are pretty legion: Jorge and Pepe are undocumented, and all four of them are constantly faced with downsizing threats from the management. They aren't treated with dignity, and when Peter tries to organize a strike, he runs into the built-in fear that all undocumented have: being discovered and deported.

Irwin gives these men lively backgrounds, showing off their strengths as humans as well as their political weaknesses. Peter, married with kids, having limited ambitions, is willing to continue working at his rate of pay; Jorge has sacrificed much in the past four years to save for a house back home; Pepe is young and wants to have fun; and Whalid, not being under the same pressures as the other two Hispanics, is willing to sacrifice this job if it doesn't bring immediate pay improvement (having something to do with unpaid shifts -- not made clear enough).

Her dramatic set-ups are intriguing, exposing the managers' and owners' disregard for their workers' emotional and physical health, along with the ways survival-mentality hurts everyone. Director Armando Molina has a firm grip on the action, keeping the arc of the play smooth. The time advancements are handled uniquely by the movement- director, Sylvia Bush, with slo-mo segueing into normal action, to festive music on Michael Navarro's working set.

This is a fine play given the usual Fountain attention, continuing their proper place in West Coast Theatre: exciting, relevant, enjoyable.

"My Mañana Comes" plays through June 25 at the Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles, 90029. For tickets or information, call 323-663-1525 or visit