Friday, April 13, 2018

Play a Day: Calling Puerto Rico

Juan Ramirez, Jr.
For Friday I read Calling Puerto Rico by Juan Ramirez, Jr., and available at New Play Exchange.

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico. Six months after, more than 100,000 people remain without power.

Remember when an enormous natural disaster struck the United States and the American President did absolutely nothing? Lobbed paper towels? You would think that would be a national outrage. And yet, here we are. Talking about porn stars.

The fact that the name Donald J. Trump, or any reference to him or his position, never comes up with Ramirez's play shows remarkable restraint and focus. Because it's not about that guy.

One of the best ways, sometimes to only way, to comprehend an epic tragedy is to concentrate on one compelling, intimate story. Joel is a ham radio operator in the Bronx, his grandfather in Puerto Rico. Their relationship is strained (neither will step foot out of their home) but Joel's relationship with everyone is strained, the only person with whom he can speak easily is a woman who sails two hundred miles over his head every ninety minutes, in the International Space Station.

Ramirez elegantly paints a picture of isolation and despair, with pathos and humor, never forgetting that there are always those around us, some we cannot see and pretend not to see, who want to help us when we are in need.

You can send assistance today through the Hispanic Federation and UNIDOS, a disaster relief and recovery program to support Puerto Rico.

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