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Joint Forces Journal

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VOL. 24 - NO. 27
JUL 14 - 21, 2019
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX

Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Berkeley Rep's "Kiss My Aztec" Offers Hilarious Take on History

Jun 14, 2019
by Renata Polt
Wow! I haven't had this much fun in the theater since—well, Monty

Python's “Spamalot,” about 15 years ago.

Like that show, John Leguizamo and Tony Taccone's musical, “Kiss My Aztec!” messes with language, history, tradition, and you-name-it to create a totally original, absurd, and hilarious send-up of almost everything you thought you knew about language, history, tradition and you-name-it.

The basis of the show, in its world premiere at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, is a riff on the history of Spain's conquest of the Central American Aztec peoples in the 16^th century. But you've never experienced history so laced with music, dance, humor, goofy costumes, and the mangling of Shakesperean English (after all, Shakespere lived around that era too). Try, for example, “Spooneth me, baby” or “I standeth corrected.”

The plot isn't the main issue . Suffice it to say that the central

characters are a young couple, Colombina (Yani Marin) and Pepe (the immensely likeable and talented Joél Pérez); a coke-sniffing bogus Frenchman (Richard Henry Ruiz), who is advised to “keep it in your pants and dance,” El Jaguar Negro (Chad Carstarphen), and a cast of nine more.

The songs and dances are performed with a live five-piece orchestra under the direction of Kenji Higashihama. Maija García is the choreographer, and the musical styles range from salsa to rap. There are hand puppets, giant masks, and all sorts of other imaginative stagecraft.

But none of this suggests the flavor of “Kiss My Aztec!” which is loud, dirty, and constantly surprising. About “dirty”: yes, this show is definitely R-rated. Don't bring the kids.

Writer/lyricist John Leguizamo last appeared at Berkeley Rep in 2016 with “Latin History for Morons.” Writer/director Tony Taccone has been the artistic director of the theater for over 30 years. “Aztec” is his last show for the company, and it's a helluvan exit.

“Kiss My Aztec!” runs through July 14^th (unless it's extended, which wouldn't surprise me). For tickets, phone (510) 647-2949, or visit Blue Star Military Tickets, as well as special rates for those uder 35, and last-minute rush tickets are also available.

* * * * *

Photo caption: (l to r) Angelica Beliard (Ensemble), Zachary Infante (Sebastian), Yani Marin (Colombina), Maria-Christina Oliveras (Tolima), Chad Carstarphen (El Jaguar Negro), Joél Pérez (Pepe), Jesús E. Martínez (Ensemble), Desiree Rodriguez (Pilar), KC de la Cruz (Ensemble), and Richard Henry Ruiz (Ensemble) in the world premiere of Kiss My Aztec! at Berkeley Rep, directed by Tony Taccone. (Photo courtesy of Alessandra Mello/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)


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