Caballero signed on to bring “DC-7” to GALA after he stepped in with only four weeks left in rehearsals to direct last year’s “Puerto Rico . . . ¡fua!” He’d directed the show’s off-Broadway and Puerto Rican productions, as well.
“DC-7” is performed bilingually, with English surtitles. Caballero described Clemente’s success as “a universal language” but added that he intimately understood the discrimination Clemente faced as a Spanish speaker in United States.
Caballero said that when he moved to New York from Puerto Rico in 1991, “I didn’t speak the language. I didn’t even know how to ask for food. It was very hard for me to survive in a different culture. . . . When you speak the language but are not proficient, basically you have no personality. Because when it comes out, it’s rough. So in that way, you have to start fighting because language defines who you are. And if you don’t speak the language in the country you are living with, you are something different.”
Caballero worked closely with Clemente’s widow and brother.
“I think they trusted me,” Caballero said. “It was a connection. . . . I knew that it was a big responsibility, and I wanted to honor that information that they gave to me.”
Thursday to May 26, 3333 14th St. NW, galatheatre.org, 202-234-7174
Kahn’s Signature moment
Signature Theatre artistic director Eric Schaeffer has tapped a scrappy up-and-comer to direct next season’s world premiere of “Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill,” a new play by Paul Downs Colaizzo, whose “Really Really” was produced at MCC Theater in New York and nabbed him this year’s Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical at that Helen Hayes shindig.
I am speaking, of course, of Michael Kahn.
A literalist may wish to interrupt here and point out that Kahn has been the artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company for more than 25 years. However, it’s been heavy on the classics and light on the contemporary for Kahn for quite a while.
This wasn’t the first time Schaeffer had reached out, Kahn said, but all the previous offers “were rivals that didn’t grab me, or things that I could have done at Shakespeare.”
“Autrey Mill” was “exactly what I wanted to do: work on a brand-new contemporary play by a really good young writer,” said Kahn.
Even Kahn cannot avoid the world’s most obvious pun regarding his fandom of Colaizzo’s first Signature show (“I saw ‘Really Really,’ which I really, really liked”) and “I sort of wondered if the playwright really wanted to work with a guy my age.”