The really fantastic aspect of bringing in international artists to the Atlantic Fringe Festival is having the opportunity to hear first-hand stories about important issues that most of us often only encounter peripherally. Carlo Alban’s one-man show Intringulis, which focuses on his experience growing up as an un-naturalized citizen in New Jersey, is one such show.
Alban’s writing is immediate, instantaneously compelling and manages to have a distinct urban rhythm and vernacular while being beautifully descriptive and often poetic. His stories are told mostly through monologues, and he is the most effective at drawing the audience into the world of his characters during his carefully crafted one sided dialogues. His specificity of movement and vocal rhythm, especially during these scenes, give the show a sharp sense of clarity and help to build the tension and the momentum of the piece. He also uses music, both Latin American protest songs and American rock n’ roll to effectively root the story in its own vivid political and historical contexts and also to dramatize the polarization that occurs within a family as the younger generations seek to assimilate into American culture while the older members remain more rooted in the traditions, politics and ways of life from the Homeland.
Alban has a soulful and passionate singing voice which gives the songs he sings in Spanish the heartbeat of universality. As a performer he exudes a modest affability, with a wry sense of humour that weaves its way nicely throughout this difficult journey, highlighting the absurdity of politics and the human experience. There is a particularly marvellous Sesame Street inspired dream and an infomercial for “Counterfeit” that shows off Alban’s comedic chops especially brightly. Director David Anzuelo keeps an even balance between the humour and the poignant and brings the two tightly together in a deeply compact and sharply executed performance by Alban.
I find the politics of this show fascinating. Intrigulis is a Spanish word that means “mess” or “complex” or “shit.” The concept of people embracing a country so passionately, to the exclusion and renouncement of all other ones, even after that same country had tried, in many cases for over a decade, to rid itself of them and insisted that they did not belong, until money finally made them belong, is massively complex. It is also a reality for millions of people in the United States alone. Through theatre we can cross borders, metaphorically and literally, to share in one another’s experiences, which gives us a richer understanding of the world. Intrigulis takes us somewhere new, into what is still considered by many to be a taboo underground world, and Carlo Alban shines his light on this story with irresistible charm, dignity and plenty of heart.
Intrigulis is $10 and plays at the Atlantic Fringe Festival at the Neptune Studio Theatre, 1593 Argyle Street at the following times:
Saturday, September 3, 3:00pm
Sunday September 4th, 8:00pm
Monday September 5th, 3:30pm
To book advanced tickets please visit Neptune Theatre’s Box Office, 1593 Argyle Street or call 902.429.7070 or visit www.atlanticfringe.ca.
Same Day Sales are available at the venue (Neptune Studio Theatre) From 1 Hour Before the First Show of the Day.