Chicago Theatre Review
Teatro Vista’s ‘Parachute Men’ a World-Premiere Must-See
Parachute Man – Teatro Vista
A remarkable play of warmth, passion, and sincerity, “Parachute Men,” which is receiving its world-premiere production from Teatro Vista at Victory Gardens Theatre, is one of 2016’s must-see plays, a detailed examination of family, commitment, and the ties that bind.
Set in Palm City, Texas on Christmas Eve, “Parachute Men” is a prodigal son-esque tale, though of the most original order. Eric (played by J. Salomé Martínez with equal parts intensity and wry observation), returns to his hometown after a five-year exile, one that saw him abandon his younger brother Andrew (wonderfully played by Teatro regular Eddie Martínez), autistic half-brother Eli (a very focused Tommy Rivera-Vega), and drug-addled step-father Angel (the always excellent Adam Bitterman). In Eric’s absence, though, things have changed. Little-brother Andrew is now the breadwinner of the house, working at a sergeant in the local police force, paying the mortgage, and looking after Eli, who is not only coping with his tendencies, but also pursuing a music career; meanwhile, Angel is sober and responsible, working for UPS and maintaining a clean home.
Yet, the sins and tumults of the past continue to haunt Eric and his family, and playwright Mando Alvarado and director Ricardo Gutiérrez weave a sublimely complex tale across “Parachute Men’s” two and a half hours, one that mines the subtleties of everyday life and refines them into first-class drama; indeed, theater rarely gets better. “Parachute Men” is patient, nonjudgmental, and most importantly, challenging of the audience with its unflinchingness, providing developments and situations that all but dare the audience to keep watching.
And of course, holding all the elements together are the production team, from Richard Norwood’s lighting, to Raúl Abrego’s scenes, to Nick Gajary’s sound and Uriel Gómez’ costumes.
Reviewed by Peter Thomas Ricci
Presented through Oct. 16 by Teatro Vista at Victory Gardens Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln
Tickets are available by calling (773) 871-3000 or by visiting www.teatrovista.org.
Additional information about this and other spectacular area productions is available at the one, the only, the indefatigable www.theatreinchicago.com.