Here's where the production becomes better than the play. Playwright Diaz has created a remarkable, larger-than-life character in Vigneshwar "VP" Padua (Benjamin Gracia), but he has to become smaller-than-life to play the Fundamentalist. Mace comes across this Mumbai-born dude from Brooklyn who is a wonder to behold in his own personality, a supercharged, hyper-articulate street kid who can seduce the chicas in Spanish and trash talk in Hindi or Urdu. Not only does Gracia inhabit the character as effortlessly as Robin Williams channeling an over-caffeinated Eddie Murphy, he tosses in some way-cool hip-hop as well. VP — and Gracia — deserve a play of their own.
Unfortunately, the playwright wastes VP as an embarrassed stand-in for racial stereotyping and racist exploitation. Fortunately, Wilbury makes sure we have a grand old time laughing our way through the messages.
Here's a test for you, Trinity subscribers. If the above storyline is something you think you could get into, consider checking out this fine production. You'll be confirming your credentials as a serious theatergoer.
Trinity Rep started out in a church basement, after all.
, Theatre, wrestling, Wilbury Group