Small Town Hoser Spic is wonderful, cleverly written and performed by Pedro Chamale. He has nailed down what it is to grow up in a small town in northern B.C.; and he can drink a prodigious amount of alcohol on stage and still remember his lines.
This is an autobiography, and an unusual one. You could count on the fingers of one hand the number of Latinos living in Chetwynd – there were four in all: Pedro, his sister, his mother and father. They were brown-skinned, but not the same brown as the indigenous families comprising half the population. They were not white either. But it was not until Pedro had left Chetwynd and moved to Vancouver that any of this mattered. Until then he had not encountered racism.
This is a very funny show; the audience laughs a lot. It is only afterwards that we recall some racist remarks. Audience participation consists of one guy being called out to join Pedro in a beer-drinking contest. The guest loses graciously, and accepts another can of beer as a consolation prize. And Pedro also hands around a bowl of guacamole and a bowl of tortilla chips for the audience to share!
We are drawn to the actor on stage by his million-dollar smile and the sheer energy emanating from him. A very engaging character, in an unlikely situation. We cheer him on from the beginning. He asks how many of us know what the word Spic means. Not, it would seem, an abbreviation of Hispanic, but derived from No spica Eengleesh, spoken by a person from Central or South America.
Yes, the laughs are a mile a minute, but this performer subtly makes us think as well as laugh.
Part of UNO Fest, Small Town Hoser Spic is on at the Intrepid Theatre Club is on for one more night –on Wednesday, May 24 at 6:30 pm. Tickets on line at intrepidtheatre.com or call Ticket Rocket at 250-590-6291.