AN L.A. JOURNEY— THE STORY OF LORENZO ALFREDO
Who are these people Olivia?
Migrants looking for a better life.
A young Lorenzo asking a question
A new year, a new mom, a new country.
Lorenzo getting ready to leave with Olivia
There’s nothing more poignant when a young person asks a simple questions that requires a complex response. This is what Olivia (the talented Blanca Melchor) faces when she and a barely 11-years old Lorenzo (an extremely talented Olin Tonatiuh) go forth on a treacherous journey for a better life in the United States. The boy from Guatalema is a K’iche Mayan orphan who leaves his poverty-stricken home to searches for a new and way better existence.
He meets Olivia, a feisty tortilla maker who takes him in. Soon, he helps by delivering tortillas to people and nearby businesses in a the new tricycle Olivia bought him. With his newly developed street savvy, Lorenzo cruises in his new ride feeling useful and alive, probably for the first time in his life. The two develop a close bond, like mother and son, and Olivia insists for “business” sake to refer her as his mother. He finally maintains a normal life, which includes doing chores, attending school and dealing with his first crush. The only person not happy with this newfound arrangement is Olivia’s abusive husband, Jorge. (Felix I. Hernandez does a fine job in playing the alcoholic and foul behaving husband and pseudo-father figure). Olivia finally makes the decision to leave Jorge behind and goes with Lorenzo to America. Their journey is arduous filled with surprises, not too many good, but definitely memorable. Like family they argue, they support each other when one of them begins to worry if they are making a huge mistake in leaving, but after soothing each other’s concerns, their nerves are steady again.
After conquering a 13-hour bus ride, they finally make it to the destination that will take them to the end of their destination. With the help of Doña Mare (Yolanda Gonzalez), Hector (Carmelo Alvarez) and Spicy (hysterically played by Aurelio Median) as the swagger-ish coyote, Olivia and Lorenzo finally make it to the United States. Tonatiuh captures the heart at first glance. His unwavering spirit and ambition to leave his heinous situation for a better chance is both uplifting and encouraging. He is a good representation of people who courageously leave their forsaken home and seek a new, safer refuge for themselves and families. The real Lorenzo Alfredo co-wrote his story with director Emmanuel Deleage. Together, they made an emotional, grab-you-by-the-soul-and-not-let-you-go script whose story continues to linger on after the show is over.
An L.A. Journey— The Story of Lorenzo Alfredo plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. at the CASA 0101 Theater Main Stage, located at 2102 E. 1st Street, Boyle Heights. For ticket information, call (323) 263-7684 or reserve online at www.casa0101.org.