SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the San Antonio... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Food & Drink: There was a special kind of draw at Alamo Ice House on a recent Tuesday evening. A handful of weeks after opening its... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/22/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

Food & Drink: Cheesy Jane’s. Multiple locations, If the name is any indicator, this San Antonio staple doesn’t mess around when it comes to... By Tommie Ethington 10/22/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

Jump-Start party is a big tent

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

The performers of '¡Carpa!'

The carpas, the traveling tent shows that entertained working-class audiences throughout Mexico and the Southwest during the 1920s and 1930s, offered a mixture of circus and vaudeville. "The time was filled with wonder and fantasy, not like now," says the narrator at the outset of ¡Carpa!, an energetic but elegiac salute to a vanished tradition. "All that magic just ran out, like air from a balloon you didn't even know had a leak in it."

Even before the house goes dark and the formal proceedings begin, much of that magic is restored, as clowns, acrobats, a strong man, a fortune teller, and twirlers of hoops and batons interact with the assembling audience. Soon, The Ringmaster takes charge, introducing, in turn, The Strongman, a mermaid named La Sirena del Golfo de México, twin Flyers who twirl on ropes above the ground, and The Fortune Teller. The first half of ¡Carpa!, written by Billy Muñoz, a member of the Jump-Start Performance Company, offers the facsimile of an old tent-show production. Particularly engaging are Sheila Sisler-Currie's transgendered impersonation of a muscled lifter of huge barbells and S. T. Shimi's turn as a mermaid confined to a tank wheeled across the stage. Dino Foxx's Ringmaster astounds the crowd with his own talent at swallowing fire.

The performers pull up stakes, but, while traveling to their next venue, the mermaid's tank is cracked. Cracks, too, develop within the fractious carpa family. La Sirena is preserved, temporarily, by immersion in a metal tub filled with salted water. But that leaves no salt to season the flavorless caldo served at the company's hilariously rendered communal dinner. "The end is near," prophesies the Fortune Teller. Declaring that: "We are done," The Ringmaster disbands the company and carries La Sirena del Golfo de México back into the Gulf of Mexico.

Muñoz is agile and arresting as El Payaso, a clown who serves as drudge for the despotic Ringmaster. But the text he created as playwright is under-developed, a mere pretext for evoking the vibrant but doomed glory of an old tent show. Sandy Dunn's gift for facial expression, gesture, and intonation is under-utilized in the role of The Fortune Teller. It is not mere carping to say that the play is neither a full-scale tent show nor a completely realized back-stage drama about a carpa company. Muñoz has attached a minimal frame to a circus minimus.

The result is a jaunty sampling of campy performances within the ironic context of an avant-garde contemporary theater group. Jump-Start, which often challenges sexual and ethnic taboos, is not known for G-rated material. However, ¡Carpa!, a bouncy launch to Jump-Start's new season, is jolly family fare, and the children who attended opening night seemed attentive to the pleasures of a tent show augmented by video sequences and period musical tracks. Neither La Sirena's jaded take on being an object of prurient interest, nor the misfortune that befalls one of The Flyers, dispels the production's manifest and merry good will.


By Billy Muñoz
Directed by Laurie Dietrich & Marisela Barrera
8pm Fri-Sat
Jump-Start Performance Co.
Sterling Houston Theater
108 Blue Star
(210) 227-5867
Through Sep 29

Recently in Arts & Culture
  • SA Design Maven D’Ette Cole and the Topography of Junk D’Ette Cole has been an artist, interior designer, antiques dealer and even a pie. Simply put, she notices everything, and has built her career on... | 10/22/2014
  • Failure Is Not an Option: George Lopez returns to SA It is evident comedian George Lopez is still a little sensitive about the on-again, off-again relationship he’s had with television. Whatever the... | 10/22/2014
  • Free Will Astrology ARIES (March 21-April 19): The driest place on the planet is the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. It gets about a half-inch of rain per year. And yet in 2011, archaeologists discovered that it’s also home to a site containing the fossilized skeletons of nu | 10/22/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus