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Theatre Review (LA): Intringulis by Carlo Alban at the Lillian Theatre

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One of the most exciting events taking place in Los Angeles theatre is the collaboration between the LAByrinth Theatre Company out of New York and the Elephant Theatre Company of Los Angeles. The exact nature of this joint endeavor is yet to be determined but the LAByrinth has sent one of its shows, Intringulis, to be performed at the Elephant’s Lillian Theatre alternating with the Elephant’s production of a LAByrinth play, The Little Flower of East Orange (by one of their Artistic Directors, Steven Adly Guirgis). Intringulis (loosely meaning “what is hidden”) is a powerful one-man show by LAByrinth member Carlo Alban. The play recounts his struggles with his and his family’s immigration status. Alban is an engaging fellow and a humble entertainer.

Alban came to the United States from Ecuador when he was only eight. He arrived with his mother and other family members, but two of his brothers were left behind in Ecuador. Through music, language, culture, and storytelling Alban weaves a tale that is capable of moving us deeply. Alban is unique in that he went on to become an actor and appeared on Sesame Street from 1993 to 1997, all the while hiding his illegal status. For anyone who thinks that illegals have it easy and drain our system, Alban shows us not only what it is like to live with the secret, but also the amount of money spent by his family, nearly $50,000, to finally become citizens.

One of the most heartbreaking sections of the piece is when he recounts his interactions with one of his brothers who comes to visit from Ecuador. His brother accuses him of selling out, taking the easy road, and abandoning his culture, saying than Carlo doesn’t even know South American history. Carlo counters with his own story of struggle, shows us he is still connected to his culture through music, and how difficult it was to finally admit that he felt American.

I highly recommend this one man show even to those who don’t like one-man shows. Carlo Alban is a very talented entertainer and tells his story with honesty, courage, and great humanity. Intringulis plays at the Lillian Theatre on 11/23, 11/24, 12/1, 12/2, 12/7, and 12/8. Go see this remarkable show.

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About Robert Machray