AISLE SAY San Francisco


by Elizabeth Irwin
Directed by Kirsten Brandt
Presented by Marin Theatre Company
Boyer Theatre
397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, CA / Phone (415) 388-5208

Reviewed by Judy Richter

Four men working as busboys in an upscale French restaurant in New York City suddenly learn that their pay has been drastically cut.

They must decide between taking the cut or resisting in Elizabeth Irwin's "My Mañana Comes," presented by Marin Theatre Company.

All four desperately need the money, especially since they have no benefits, but there are complicating factors. One is that they could lose their jobs. Moreover, two of them are undocumented Mexican immigrants who could face deportation and the loss of their American dream.

One is Jorge (Eric Avilés), who has been in the country four years. He has been carefully saving his money so that he can return to his wife and children and finish building their house. The other is Pepe (Carlos Jose Gonzalez Morales), youngest of the four. He has been in the country only four months and hopes his brother can join him.

The two citizens are Peter (Shaun Patrick Tubbs) and Whalid (Caleb Cabrera). Peter, who is black, has a wife and child. He seems to be the unofficial leader of the group. Whalid, who is Latino but American-born, still lives with his parents and has an eye for women.

The men don't get a salary. Instead they're paid $25 per shift plus a share of tips. Shift pay is being taken away.

Peter insists that the only way to get their money is for all four to walk out, forcing management to realize how important they are to the restaurant's smooth functioning.

The play raises important issues such as the plight of undocumented immigrants and the low pay for service workers. However, its effectiveness is diluted because some scenes seem repetitious both in the writing and in Kirsten Brandt's direction.

The acting is uneven. Tubbs as Peter is the most assured, while Morales as Pepe is the weak link. Moreover, the heavy accents and some exchanges in Spanish limit understanding for many viewers.

Design elements are solid with a set by Sean Fanning, lighting by David Lee Cuthbert, costumes by Brandin Barón, and sound and composition by Theodore J.H. Hulsker.

Several award nominations but no wins followed the play's 2014 off-Broadway premiere. This is its Bay Area premiere.

"My Mañana Comes" shows promise, but it's Irwin's first produced play and feels that way.

It runs about 90 minutes with no intermission.

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