Cuerdas (Strings), which opened last night at the Arsht Center as part of the International Hispanic Theatre Festival, is a tightly acted play that wants to tug at its audience's heart, but ultimately misses the mark.
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Written by Barbara Colio, Cuerdas, (which comes from Mexico and is performed mostly in Spanish) is by all accounts a road trip story. The three brothers reconnect on their journey through various experiences, mostly humorous, and mainly by reminiscing about their childhood and catching up with the current state of their lives.
Elder brother Peter (Carlos Corona), who is headstrong and grounded, is expected to become a new father. Little brother Prince (Felipe Cervera), who is independent and intractable, shares that his wife has been diagnosed with cancer. And then there's Paul, who is all heart with his motor mouth and emotional outbursts.
The ribbon (or string) is clearly a symbol for everything encompassing their lives, good or bad. And Enciso's tireless mastery of the dance ribbon is a highlight of the production.
These moments lend to fine physical comedic performances and humorous moments, with the actors having no other props at their disposal but suitcases against a black backdrop.
It's during these soliloquies that the story delves into deeper levels, as each man bears his soul and tries to cope with his own reason for agreeing to taking this trip. The gist of this excursion is, of course, that these are three grown men with serious abandonment issues.
Their father, who deserted them as children and was distant even when he was around, has suddenly resurfaced and sent a note for them to come watch him perform one last tightrope walk. But the script never quite exploits or explores that premise to its fullest potential.