Moxie Theatre presents ‘brownsville song (b-side for tray)’


Some might underestimate the legitimacy of a play by its venue size, claiming the bigger the better. However, there is something to be said about smaller, more cozy theaters such as the Moxie Theatre in El Cajon, San Diego. It was at this compact theater that the audience was able to truly connect with the messages of the most recent production, ‘brownsville song (b-side for tray)’. It is a heartbreaking story of the struggles a young man faces in his misrepresented community, in an effort to receive an independent scholarship for college.

Senior Taz De Alencar attended the production and was personally affected by its meaningful message.

“What I took the most from was the message that was when you have an opportunity, you have to grab it and go for it,” Alencar said. “You can’t hold back even if it sometimes does not work out the way you want, but that’s life.”

Alencar shares how he could relate the plot to a lot of tragedies he has faced in his own life and that have deeply touched him.

“At first, I thought it was going to be some corny, textbook theater stuff, but it was in the sickest little venue with amazing lights and sound effects,” Alencar said. “It was very intimate and it blew all of my expectations. It was an amazing performance by all the actors [and] actresses.”

The theme of the production offered social awareness to the various conflicts individuals face within communities that are labeled as underprivileged. Alencar thoroughly enjoyed the concept of understanding other people’s backgrounds. He questions if it’s fair that people who take advantage of those opportunities don’t get to seize them because of certain tragedies, in this case Tray’s situation.

“It made me ponder about the world— if it is fair the way that different people get different opportunities,” Alencar said.

First year Kateri Theisen also attended the play for her acting class assignment and shares her experience at the Moxie Theatre.

“Overall, the message I got from the play was that circumstance does not dictate character,” Theisen said. “Regardless of where you come from, you can still be a different person and do not have to be a product of where you grew up especially in Tray’s case.”

The small theater created a more intimate interaction between the characters and the audience members. Theisen was thoroughly impressed by the acting skills of the five member cast.

“I thought the simple set made it amazing and it symbolized the humility of the characters,” Theisen said. “The simple set reflects how the characters do not live this fancy lifestyle, but that it made everything so real. The small theater helps you see the focus of the actors and them not breaking character despite their closeness to the audience.”

Alencar also comments on the acting performances of the production.

“I honestly thought the acting was superb, especially the grandma,” Alencar said. “She was the anchor of the whole play; she had a lot of pressure because her scenes would go from present to past in the blink of an eye. Her transitions of emotions were superb. It really touched you because at one point you were smiling and then all of a sudden you were crying with the grandma.”

The intimate theatre enabled the audience to truly grasp the tragic story and the individuals character’s struggles.