RED BANK, NJ — Two River Theater continues its 2017/18 Season with El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom: A Superhero Play, a world-premiere play by Matt Barbot, directed by José Zayas.
Employing deft use of the superhero/comic book genre, El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom explores questions of individual and national identity—including what it means to be “Latino” or “not Latino enough”—in contemporary America. The play tells the story of Alex, an unemployed young comic book artist still wrestling with the death of his father, a policeman, in the line of duty. Adrift in his career and his life, he decides to see what it’s like to be a superhero, and begins to dress up as his creation El Coquí Espectacular (a Puerto Rican superhero who gets his power from a vejigante carnival mask and his name from a tree frog) and fight crime in his neighborhood of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Meanwhile, his responsible older brother Joe is encouraging Alex to join him at his advertising agency, where Joe works selling sugary soda to Latino consumers. When Joe is fired from a project, the two, with the help of a young photographer named Yesica, hatch a plan: to debut El Coquí at the Puerto Rican Day Parade and prove themselves to the world.
El Coquí Espectácular and the Bottle of Doom was a finalist in the 2014 Repertorio Español Nuestras Voces competition, and won the Kennedy Center’s Darrel Ayers Award for Outstanding Student-Written Play for Young Audiences, as well as the Kennedy Center’s Latinidad Award for Outstanding Play Written by a Student of Latino/Hispanic Heritage. It was also a finalist in Repertorio Español’s 2013 Nuestras Voces competition.
Performances will begin in Two River’s Marion Huber Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, January 6 and continue through Sunday, February 4. The opening night performance is Friday, January 12 at 7pm. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org.