Written by Gustavo Pace
Directed by Stephen Brown-Fried
Reviewed by Joseph Verlezza
Theatre Reviews Limited
One of the many solo shows being presented as part of the N.Y. International Fringe Festival is “Naked Brazilian,” written and performed by Gustavo Pace. The script follows his life from childhood in Rio de Janeiro to the streets of New York City and beyond elaborating on copious experiences that contribute to his engaging journey to the present day. The monologue is filled with rich and demonstrative characters that Mr. Pace has mastered physically and vocally. He deftly morphs from one to another in the blink of an eye, captivating his audience and keeping the life train chugging along at a comfortable pace. His inexhaustible energy, charming presence and impeccable timing all help to achieve his dream of “just entertaining others.”
Unfortunately, that is what the stories become, merely entertainment with almost no personal emotional investment to compliment the experience. It is easy to like Gustavo, enjoy the comedy and appreciate the drama but it is very difficult to connect with him and care about him. When you leave the theater you remember the stories but do not necessarily remember Mr. Pace. There is also a problem with the first ten minutes or so being spoken in Portuguese even though it does take place in Brazil. Authentic but not too interesting to those who do not understand making it seem longer than it actually is. Just establish the language in the first dramatic scene and continue in English. Explaining what was said becomes repetitive. Establish the premise and move on. There is also room for refinement of the script eliminating some unnecessary scenes that do nothing to move the story forward and abandon the already scarce dramatic arc.
Take a chance and spend a bit more than an hour with a very good story teller who has a few interesting tales to share and does it with the skills afforded a proficient actor.