Like an overstuffed burrito, this confusing quest tale could leave you with heartburn.
In Juan Francisco Villa’s NYC-set adventure story, 11-year-old Celestino (Angelica Roque) and Octavio (Karen Rodriguez), the Sancho Panza, perhaps, to Celestino’s knight-errant, set out on a trek across the city on the run from Celestino’s menacing, drug-running uncles (played by Lorena Diaz, Wendy Mateo and Isabel Quintero in black suits and sugar-skull makeup).
The goal of this quest remains as elusive as that of Don Quixote’s, though it’s unclear whether that’s because Celestino is delusional or his story is just a muddled mess. Director Jo Cattell lards the tale with embellishments from puppets to projected animation to a literal children’s choir, but the bells and whistles only serve to make the perplexing plot feel more frenetic. A Shyamalan-level twist ending only further confuses events that came before it.
terraNOVA Collective and the Playground Theater at DCASE Storefront Theater. By Juan Francisco Villa. Directed by Jo Cattell. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 40mins; no intermission.