A superior cast cannot save this poorly conceived – but well-intentioned – debut production regarding both the Filipino and African American experience in the Philippines in the wake of the Spanish-American War of 1898.
Despite the obvious attention to detail in all its design elements, the overly ambitious narrative structure, employing virtually every theatrical device imaginable, remains curiously remote and uninvolving despite some effective scenes scattered throughout.
Any emotional resonance is attributable to the truly remarkable ensemble, with strong, polished performances by the inimitable Clinton Derricks-Carroll, Amielynn Abellera, Adrian Roberts, David Arrow, Tim Hart, and Elizabeth Carter – plus superb dancing by Alexandria Diaz de Fato.
Undoubtedly its timely themes of recurring U.S. imperialism and the inherent hypocrisy underlying notions of “cultural superiority” was an intriguing concept, but its realization on stage leaves much to be desired. It’s an unfortunate misfire by the extremely talented and normally reliable folks at San Jose Stage Company.