Review: Water & Power (UrbanTheater Company)

| June 28, 2017

Ivan Vega and Dennis Garcia star as Power and Water in Water & Power, UrbanTheater Chicago           


Water & Power

Written by Richard Montoya  
Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division (map)
thru July 22  |  tix: $20  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   


Great plays can come from small theaters


Dennis Garcia, Juan Delgado, Gabriel Elias Gonzalez and Mike Cherry star in Water & Power, UrbanTheater Chicago

UrbanTheater Company presents
Water & Power

Review by Duane Barnes

Great gifts can come in small packages. Likewise, great plays can come in small theaters.

The UrbanTheater Company, on Division Street in Humboldt Park, is just one such small theater, and their presentation, Water & Power, is one of those great gifts. A tale of two brothers, non-identical twins, raised by their Mexican-American father to grow up strong and do good things. They follow their father’s bidding; one becomes a Chicago policeman to “Protect and Serve”, the other rises in the political ranks to become a state senator to provide a better life for his constituents. But foremost, they are brothers, bound by love and duty, and therein lies the heart of this drama. One of the brothers commits a crime, the other has to renege on a promise – both have to take separate paths through a wilderness, yet do that together to come out the other side and still be brothers, true to each other. The director, Richard Pérez, is masterful, taking the audience through this Andrew Neftalí Perez stars as Norte-Sur in Water & Power, UrbanTheater Chicagodrama at a steady, crisp pace; no let-downs, no dead space. His actors are up to his demands from the opening monologue to the closing monologue, both beautifully delivered by Norte (Andrew Neftali Pérez), seated in his wheelchair, forever bound there by one of the brothers. It’s a stunning opening and closing, the audience riveted throughout.

The brothers, born and raised on the South Side, are named Power and Water, names given them by their father, Asuncion Garcia (Juan Delgado) whom we see in flashbacks, spending time and energy with the oldest twin, Gil (played as a teenager by Gabriel Elias González) and whom he refers to as Water, preparing him for life and leadership – and for keeping and protecting the relationship with his brother, Gil. And in these flashbacks, the connection between the use of Power and Water is explored and explained by Asuncion to make clear the brothers’ obligations to care for each other.

Power/Gabe (dynamically played by Ivan Vega) is the Chicago cop who, having killed someone with “connections”, is hiding out, sensing he is being stalked and targeted, strides nervously from window to door, his firearm at the ready for whatever/whomever will come. Water/Gil (smoothly played by Dennis García) joins Gabe to see what he can do to save his brother. Their interactions – anger, love, re-living their childhood rivalry – are consummately intertwined with their cultural upbringing and ring authentically true.

Juan Delgado and Gabriel Elias Gonzalez star as Asuncion Garcia and Gil in Water & Power, UrbanTheaterDennis Garcia, Juan Delgado and Mike Cherry star in Water & Power, UrbanTheater Dennis Garcia and Ivan Vega star as Water and Power in Water & Power, UrbanTheaterAndrew Neftalí Perez and Dennis Garcia star as Norte-Sur and Water in Water & Power, UrbanTheater Chicago Ivan Vega and Dennis Garcia star as Power and Water in Water & Power, UrbanTheater ChicagoDennis Garcia, Juan Delgado and Mike Cherry star in Water & Power, UrbanTheater Chicago

Gil attempts a rescue of the situation, expecting to make a deal with a character appropriately named “The Fixer” (Mike Cherry). What ensues is a negotiation which soon appears is going only one way: The Fixer’s. When Water/Gil is cornered and has to make a phone call to seal the transaction, he hesitates. The Fixer stares at Gil, then orders “MAKE THE CALL!” (This reviewer’s insides jumped! Powerful!)

The close is perfect, the audience in rapt attention. Tension has ceased. And a beautiful prayer from forebears long ago brings a sense of peace and closure to the pain.

The play, lovingly written by Richard Montoya, a mover and shaker in the West Coast theater world, was originally set in the barrios of Los Angeles. In bringing it to its Chicago setting, Mr. Montoya felt the need to incorporate much of Chicago’s environs – Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and South Siders – to represent a large range of Chicago’s people of Color. The script is peppered with the native language of its characters, enhancing its already powerful authenticity. Do not miss this play!

Rating: ★★★★

Water & Power continues through July 22nd at Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division (map), with performances Thursdays-Saturdays 7:30pm, Sundays 3pm.  Tickets are $20 (suggested donation), and are available by phone (312-767-8821) or online through their website (check for half-price tickets at More information at time: 90 minutes, no intermission)

Andrew Neftalí Perez and Ivan Vega star as Norte and Power in Water & Power, UrbanTheater Chicago

Photos by Anthony Aicardi 




Mike Cherry (The Fixer), Juan Delgado (Asuncion García, Ministro, Vendor), Dennis García (Water), Gabriel Elias González (Deer Dancer, Gibby, Gabby), Andrew Neftalí Pérez (Notre, Sur), Ivan Vega (Power)

behind the scenes

Richard Pérez (director), Liza Ann Acosta (dramaturg), Antonio Bruno (co-producer, production manager), Sara Carranza (house manager, props design), Kelsey Cox, Fredy Rocha (costume design), Meghan Erxleben (lighting design), Karolyn M. Gil, Brandon Gomez (box office), Miranda González (artistic director, co-producer), Caswell James (set design), Perry Landes (sound design), Jacqueline Marschke (stage manager, co-production manager), Johnny Moran (fight choreography), Anthony Aicardi (photos)

Ivan Vega and Dennis Garcia star as Power and Water in Water & Power, UrbanTheaterAndrew Neftalí Perez and Dennis Garcia star as Norte-Sur and Water in Water & Power, UrbanTheaterDennis Garcia and Mike Cherry star as Water and The Fixer in Water & Power, UrbanTheater


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Category: 2017 Reviews, Batey Urbano, Drama, Duane Barnes, UrbanTheater

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