Apologies for being slow with the note... but if you SoCal fans want to see Robert Beltran in a whoie new light from his Chakotay persona of Voyager fame—run don't walk downtown this weekend to LATC for Devil's Advocate, a mix of bravura performances and a take on recent secret politics I fear is all too real.
In its U.S. premiere here by the Latino Theater Company, the play captures the astounding true events of late December 1989, when Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega finally went too far and triggered an American invasion to capture and return him to trial on lowly drug charges in Miami. Between the invasion and the capture, however, Noriega first sought refuge in the Vatican embassy in Panama City—and there, under the ostensible "protection" of papal ambassador Archbishop Jose Sebastian Laboa, is the two-day time frame of the play. Laboa was also still carrying the medieval Vatican title of "devil's advocate"—and hence the all-too-ironic title of the play, and his own agenda—one theory as to how Noriega was finally broken. Playwright Donald Freed is known for the sharp political point and dialog of his plays; director Jose Luis Valenzuela is known simply for his recent honored hits at LATC.
Oh, did I mention the two actors? The only two? Yes, Robert and Tom Fitzpatrick (above) share the stage the entire 90 minutes of the two-act play. Add to that a casting hiccup that brought Fitzpatrick to the show only two weeks shy of the delayed opening, and the intensity is all the more amazing. It's really a tour de force for Robert... or as SoCal.com says: "If, however, you are up for being entertained by some great acting and expert directing, both of which are enhanced by a beautifully designed set, then be assured that this show embodies that theatrical trinity."
But hurry—the 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday shows and 2 p.m. Sunday matinee was extended but will close April 24 at the Los Angeles Theater Center, 514 S. Spring St. in downtown Los Angeles. General admission is $35, students and seniors $20 at 866-811-4111 or http://www.thelatc.org —or try half-price general tickets via Goldstar.
Best of all—we just saw where Valenzuela's wonderfully organic 2009 production of Solitude last year, which included Robert in the cast, is back with the original cast for a June 14-26 revival run back at LATC this year, prior to a hoped-for national tour. Stay tuned, but do NOT miss it if you can!