Mexican Day

Critics

LemonMeter

91 %

Reviews: 11

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Tue Oct 15, 12:00am

"CRITICS' CHOICE" - LA Times

Lines are meant to be crossed. In 1948, Los Angeles Tribune reporter Hisaye Yamamoto puts her job at risk when she joins forces with civil rights pioneer Bayard Rustin to desegregate Bimini Baths. Will it be a new beginning, or the beginning of the end?

"All fresh, seductive and topped by a joyous watery ending. Well directed...punctuated by gorgeous snippets of powerful singing. Healthy interjections of startling humor” - Cultural Weekly

“Los Angeles history is underexplored,” observes playwright Tom Jacobson. “The core of all three plays is based in absolute truth, examining conflicts related to race, gender and sexuality. Although elements are fictionalized, four of the characters in the trilogy were real people strongly represented in the historical record. I was able to use the actual writing of Hisaye Yamamoto, Bayard Rustin and Everett Maxell as inspiration for those characters, some of whom appear in more than just one play in this trilogy.”

From 1902 to 1951 Bimini Baths was the premiere hot springs resort in the city of angels, serving everyone from movie stars to maids. Admission was just 25 cents, but only if you were white. A tragedy to triumph epic, each play stands on its own. This new play trilogy The Ballad of Bimini Baths (Plunge, Tar, and Mexican Day) traces 50 years of social change in Los Angeles.

Directed by Jeff Liu, the cast includes Darrell Larson (as Everett Maxwell), Jully Lee (as Hisaye Yamamoto), Jonathan Medina (as Zenobio Remedios), and Donathan Walters (as Bayard Rustin).

MEXICAN DAY runs at 8pm on Fridays and Sundays, 4pm on Saturdays through July 22, 2018 (no performance on July 14th)). Rogue Machine is located in The Met, 1089 N Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Tickets are $40. Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com

Reviews

Leigh Kennicott

If I was confused and intrigued by Tom Jacobson's Plunge at Son of Semele Theatre, Mexican Day brings clarity and perspective to an unspeakable crime, while rehearsing another at the famous Bimini Baths. The play is part of an intriguing trilogy produced by three different theatre companies in June. Tom Jacobson weaves his narrative around the true-to-life events during 1948 to create a fascinating portrait that fills in many of the blanks exposed earlier, while introducing new mysteries. Expertly limned by Jeff Liu, Rogue Machine's wondrous production values enhance the work at every turn. Another “must see” from Tom Jacobson.

sweet - Leigh Kennicott - Show Mag - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

Act two centers around the several days-long sit-in in the lobby of the baths, Rustin with his guitar singing the “Ballad of Bimini Baths” in an oblique reference to the re-emergence of the folk music and topical song tradition in the 1940s. It's the kind of song that might have appeared in Sing Out! or Broadside. When the cops are called to evict the “goddam Communist” protesters, it's the Irish cop who determines that they're not doing anything wrong—recalling historic anti-Irish prejudice in the U.S. In another reference to the concerns of the era, Remedios insists that Rustin and Yamamoto cannot enter because they don't have health certificates—which he does not demand of anyone else, of course—reminding us that polio was a frightening fact of life in those pre-vaccine days. There is a touching confrontation between Maxwell and Remedios, who surprisingly re-encounter one another after 32 years. Repentant as Maxwell is, Remedios replies “My life didn't stop with you. I've seen much worse in the world. I grew up.” The meeting has a healing quality for both men.

sweet - Eric A Gordon - ...read full review


Avatar

Great performances, strong direction…a play to see. It is not only poignant but also relevant to our current political and racial climate….a powerful and moving conclusion.

sweet - Peter Foldy - Hollywood Revealed - ...read full review


Avatar

All fresh, seductive and topped by a joyous watery ending. Well directed...punctuated by gorgeous snippets of powerful singing. Healthy interjections of startling humor.

sweet - Sylvie Drake; Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

CRITICS CHOICE - An inspiring tale of people working together to try to redeem the past and re-chart the future.

sweet - Daryl Miller - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

This drama, in particular, has a strong statement to make about gay rights, as well as racial and human rights in general. And Lee's unfulfilled hetero character is Hisaye the Virgin no more.

Jeff Liu ably directs his ensemble, and Jacobson uses some stylistic screenwriting techniques to creatively tell his complex story. With Mexican Day, L.A.'s risk-taking Rogue Machine Theatre continues to push the dramatic envelope and the winning streak that won the company the Best Season Ovation Award for 2017. Adventurous theatergoers should take the plunge!

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Only a playwright as daring and talented as Tom Jacobson could imagine and achieve a project as mind-blowing as his fascinating, informative Ballad Of Bimini Baths trilogy. Mexican Day at Rogue Machine is the most accessibly crowd-pleasing of the bunch.

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

Jacobson skillfully weaves all the various story threads into a moving piece of theatre, skillfully enacted by the quartet of actors under the deft direction of Jeff Liu. John Iacovelli designed the bathhouse setting complete with two turntables that easily transform to the various locales.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Avatar

What ensues is a series of confrontations, revelations and a limited victory. While the work is informative, Jacobson has packed it with so many themes — racism, sexism, homophobia, pedophilia, personal angst, the conflict between principle and job security as well as the conflict between upholding journalistic objectivity and taking a stand based on morality — that its main message is diluted. In this case, less would be more.

sour - Iris Mann - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Excellent ensemble acting abounds with each of the four players coming around as other characters whom the audience readily accepts. Notable is Larson's Irish Swedish cop!

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Avatar

Directed by Jeff Liu, MEXICAN DAY plumbs the depths of ingrained beliefs – and how they might starts to show a crack or two when questioned with enough force and relentless drive. The talented cast seems to be having lots of fun telling the story; and humor alternates with seriousness, creating a precarious balance between what should be and what is.

sweet - Elaine L. Mura - Splash Magazine - ...read full review


Leigh Kennicott

If I was confused and intrigued by Tom Jacobson's Plunge at Son of Semele Theatre, Mexican Day brings clarity and perspective to an unspeakable crime, while rehearsing another at the famous Bimini Baths. The play is part of an intriguing trilogy produced by three different theatre companies in June. Tom Jacobson weaves his narrative around the true-to-life events during 1948 to create a fascinating portrait that fills in many of the blanks exposed earlier, while introducing new mysteries. Expertly limned by Jeff Liu, Rogue Machine's wondrous production values enhance the work at every turn. Another “must see” from Tom Jacobson.

sweet - Leigh Kennicott - Show Mag - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

Act two centers around the several days-long sit-in in the lobby of the baths, Rustin with his guitar singing the “Ballad of Bimini Baths” in an oblique reference to the re-emergence of the folk music and topical song tradition in the 1940s. It's the kind of song that might have appeared in Sing Out! or Broadside. When the cops are called to evict the “goddam Communist” protesters, it's the Irish cop who determines that they're not doing anything wrong—recalling historic anti-Irish prejudice in the U.S. In another reference to the concerns of the era, Remedios insists that Rustin and Yamamoto cannot enter because they don't have health certificates—which he does not demand of anyone else, of course—reminding us that polio was a frightening fact of life in those pre-vaccine days. There is a touching confrontation between Maxwell and Remedios, who surprisingly re-encounter one another after 32 years. Repentant as Maxwell is, Remedios replies “My life didn't stop with you. I've seen much worse in the world. I grew up.” The meeting has a healing quality for both men.

sweet - Eric A Gordon - ...read full review


Avatar

Great performances, strong direction…a play to see. It is not only poignant but also relevant to our current political and racial climate….a powerful and moving conclusion.

sweet - Peter Foldy - Hollywood Revealed - ...read full review


Avatar

All fresh, seductive and topped by a joyous watery ending. Well directed...punctuated by gorgeous snippets of powerful singing. Healthy interjections of startling humor.

sweet - Sylvie Drake; Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

CRITICS CHOICE - An inspiring tale of people working together to try to redeem the past and re-chart the future.

sweet - Daryl Miller - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

This drama, in particular, has a strong statement to make about gay rights, as well as racial and human rights in general. And Lee's unfulfilled hetero character is Hisaye the Virgin no more.

Jeff Liu ably directs his ensemble, and Jacobson uses some stylistic screenwriting techniques to creatively tell his complex story. With Mexican Day, L.A.'s risk-taking Rogue Machine Theatre continues to push the dramatic envelope and the winning streak that won the company the Best Season Ovation Award for 2017. Adventurous theatergoers should take the plunge!

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Only a playwright as daring and talented as Tom Jacobson could imagine and achieve a project as mind-blowing as his fascinating, informative Ballad Of Bimini Baths trilogy. Mexican Day at Rogue Machine is the most accessibly crowd-pleasing of the bunch.

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

Jacobson skillfully weaves all the various story threads into a moving piece of theatre, skillfully enacted by the quartet of actors under the deft direction of Jeff Liu. John Iacovelli designed the bathhouse setting complete with two turntables that easily transform to the various locales.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Avatar

What ensues is a series of confrontations, revelations and a limited victory. While the work is informative, Jacobson has packed it with so many themes — racism, sexism, homophobia, pedophilia, personal angst, the conflict between principle and job security as well as the conflict between upholding journalistic objectivity and taking a stand based on morality — that its main message is diluted. In this case, less would be more.

sour - Iris Mann - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Excellent ensemble acting abounds with each of the four players coming around as other characters whom the audience readily accepts. Notable is Larson's Irish Swedish cop!

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Avatar

Directed by Jeff Liu, MEXICAN DAY plumbs the depths of ingrained beliefs – and how they might starts to show a crack or two when questioned with enough force and relentless drive. The talented cast seems to be having lots of fun telling the story; and humor alternates with seriousness, creating a precarious balance between what should be and what is.

sweet - Elaine L. Mura - Splash Magazine - ...read full review