Culture Clash, the brilliant Chicano theatre troupe consisting of Richard Montoya, Ricardo Salinas and Herbert Siguenza, has been around a long, long time and shows no sign of letting up. Their current sharp-edged social satire, Culture Clash (Still) in America, now in production at South Coast Rep, is unabashedly and satisfyingly rude as they demolish polite norms of behavior. In sketch after sketch, the trio assumes the characters of the current scene—ICE agents, a civil rights lawyer at the border, a white Floridian husband and wife (Herbert Siguenza and Ricardo Salinas) who make a questionable living by razing hurricane-thrashed homes, a sassy transgender individual (Siguenza) on the cusp of surgery to transform her penis into a vagina, and many more iterations of the diverse individuals of the Trumpian era. The comedy is hilarious evoking raucous laughter, yet retains the critical sting of social justice that can make an audience squirm.
Since Culture Clash (Still) in America is playing at South Coast, of course the production is up to SCR standards. A slick scenic design by Christopher Acebo features a serape American flag hanging upstage at opening, to be replaced with other units that fly in for other scenes. Furniture and other elements glide in and out on cue. Lighting by Tom Ontiveros compliments the scenic design. Costumes by Carolyn Mazuca are ideal for character and action, the sound design by composer Paul James Prendergast is choice, and the stage is deftly managed by Alyssa Escalante. Nimble direction by Lisa Peterson insures a non-stop pace that delivers the show in a neat ninety minutes.
Standing and cheering with the rest of audience at curtain call, it occurred to me that it was a pity the show was not taped for broadcast. This show deserves to be seen all over the nation.
Hey Netflix! Get a crew together and make it happen.
Culture Clash (Still) in America runs through January 20, 2019 on the Julianne Argyros Stage at South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa.