At the age of seven, Alban left his native Ecuador and moved to the United States, along with his parents and older brother Angelo. They arrived under the pretext of a tourist visa, but had already made plans to stay on a more permanent basis. Thus began a life of secrets and lies for the entire Alban family, who constantly lived with the fear and paranoia of being found out and sent away.
Alban proves to be a charismatic storyteller, easily winning the audience over to his side as he describes the various forged documents that enabled his family's stay in the U.S., as well as their eventual successful bid for citizenship. Along the way, he charts his own efforts to become a normal American kid -- or at least play one on TV as a cast regular on Sesame Street.
Not only does the writer/performer share first-hand accounts of his experiences, he also takes on the personas of other individuals. The most intriguing is his depiction of his older brother Pacelli -- who stayed in Ecuador along with three other adult siblings when the Alban family moved to America -- and who now feels a lingering bitterness and resentment about being left behind.
Interspersed between the various stories are Spanish-language revolutionary folk songs, which Alban sings with passion. Unfortunately, the sequence in which he takes up the electric guitar to perform a number that's closer to heavy metal is not as successful.
Raul Abrego's scenic design is dominated by large black slates onto which Erik Pearson projects an effective video design that incorporates family photographs, images taken from news outlets, and other materials. The slate surfaces are also used by Alban as chalkboards, reinforcing the show's educational aspects without undermining its emotional impact.
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