Helltown Buffet, September 12th through October 18th, 2008.

Keith Dillon  - KUCI

            Halloween is here again. You can tell that by the plays being offered at the local theatres right now. Take, for example, Aurelio Locsin’s Helltown Buffet, currently running at the Rude Guerrilla Theatre in Santa Ana. Helltown Buffet is a tale involving a bitched-out succubus and her cruel-hearted demon assistant, an inept wannabe whose tendency towards romantic entanglements keeps him one horn short of full demonhood, a flamboyant coiffeur who cares not where he goes after death as long as he can dress people’s hair and an unassuming young Filipino-American boy who opens the local Hometown Buffet to murder in the name of love.

            The first act of Helltown Buffet is as campy as they come. Long time Rude Guerrilla company member Aurelio Locsin gives us a first act that is a silly tale of demons and blood and epicurism. Much of it feels fairly routine, although the bit about making a buffet out of Hometown Buffet patrons is fascinating. In Act Two, however, the play becomes beautiful. Mr. Locsin’s second act is spiced with Filipino culture. Upon his death, the play’s protagonist, Benjie, is sent to the Filipino sector of Purgatory. Mr. Locsin’s purgatory is racially segregated as it turns out. Act Two introduces traditional dances punctuated by jokes about life in America as a Filipino and funny little object lessons about the history of the Filipines. Benjie is brought back to the history that bore him. Even if he wanted to, Benjie simply cannot escape that history. His history, in fact, saves Benjie from his demon lover Paco who after all is still a demon, despite the sincerity of his affection.

            Don’t kid yourself; Helltown Buffet at its roots is nothing more than Halloween camp. There is nothing profound about this play. Even as camp, it’s still a little too broad, a little too underdeveloped. The introduction of Benjie’s cultural history into the second act, however, makes it worth the ticket. I might add that on the night I came, several folks in the audience seemed to enjoy themselves throughout; all I can do is write my reactions. Anyway, the production is directed by Mr. Locsin himself; it is light-hearted and fleet of foot. Especially notable among the cast is Alexander Price as the Etienne the hairdresser. Mr. Price plays his over-the-top hairdresser with enough wit and joy to keep his audience near tears throughout his entire performance. His explanation of the gates of purgatory is uproarious. Trina Estanislao’s Spirit is so disorientingly clueless that just about every line she speaks is a laugh line. Ms. Estanislao also dances her simple cultural dances with authority and affection. Ashley Jo Navarro is appropriately air-headed as Cloud. As Madame Loveless, Maggie Zamora is just a little too nice; Maggie, think Vanessa Williams from Ugly Betty. Rick Kopps, on the other hand, plays her assistant Grom with moustache-twirling joy. David Tran is cute as Benjie, whereas Brian Chayane Salero seems out of place as Paco Johnson.

            The production is fleet of foot, requiring few sets. With the exception of a curtain running upstage of the action, the sets are walk-on units like palm trees, desks and such. The decorative items deliberately look like something from a nightmare Junior Prom. The sets are uncredited. Ryan Joyner’s lights are occasionally funny, especially at places like the gates of purgatory. Sarah Boros’ costumes are an interesting blend of Hometown Buffet uniforms, leather and traditional Filipino wear. The dances are choreographed with great care by Lee Samuel Tanng and the fights Jami McCoy are well done.

            Camp is the taste on Halloween. Helltown Buffet is very much to that taste, but author Aurelio Locsin has both the courage and the foresight to lace his show with his own traditions. Those traditions make Act Two a thing of authentic charm. 

               


OC WEEKLY By STACY DAVIES
Published on October 09, 2008

Half-Baked
Rude Guerrilla’s Helltown Buffet isn’t quite ready to serve

One of the greatest pitfalls a writer should avoid is sending a piece of
material out too early—a novel that hasn’t quite shed its fat, a poem
that’s still too cryptic, a play that needs more dimension. It’s a tough
call; writers are usually so steeped in their own worlds that they’re
unable to stand outside them. That’s what editors—and friends who’ll
really tell you the truth—are for.

The fact that playwright Aurelio Locsin changed his play’s title from
Consent to Helltown Buffet only months after it had been advertised
seems fitting after seeing the Rude Guerrilla production—it certainly
feels like a work in progress, and it’s unclear how either title relates
to the content in a thematic way.

Or how the content relates to anything, for that matter. Starting off
with a surreal mime, the play opens with actors gorging themselves at a
Hometown Buffet. Restaurant manager Benjie (David Tran) is then
convinced by his lover, Paco (Brian Salero), to close the eatery early
and serve up a rich person as food to a group of homeless. That the
details of how this occurred, and the plausibility of it, are left out
isn’t as troubling (we get it, we’re watching symbolism) as the fact
that “eat the rich” has been done to, well, death. But that doesn’t
matter because so little of what we’ve just seen has to do with what
will follow.

In short (I’ll try), Paco is actually a novice demon trying to earn his
horns by corrupting an innocent, as directed by lead demon, Gram, and
Hell’s queen, Madame Loveless. Paco realizes he loves Benjie after a few
weeks of dating, however, and although he’s just gotten his boytoy to
engage in a heinous crime, he tries to stop the process, but it’s too
late—Benjie is killed by Gram, who isn’t keen on Paco turning tail. Both
Paco and Benjie then travel to the afterlife, where Paco tries to enter
Filipino purgatory with his lover, and after dilly-dallying around with
some Filipino spirits (a hilarious Alexander Price and Trina
Estanislao), Paco and Benjie are reincarnated 2,000 years in the past in
the Philippines—Paco as a sacred rock, Benjie as a priest. Benjie then
becomes enveloped by rock Paco for all eternity.

That’s right. No acid needed for this one.

Fortunately, there’s much more going on in the show than the bizarre,
random storyline—and Locsin (who also directed) gets big props for being
extremely original with most of his content; while one might be left
scratching one’s head over what the hell is going on, the play is
certainly never boring. Locsin is most successful when it comes to his
witty, poignant one-liners. Pop-culture jokes about Microsoft being a
sponsor of hell and Apple running heaven and such ponderances as “the
last thing you see before you die is your whole life flashing before
you, but the first thing you see after death is the life you wished
you’d lived” hit their mark. Unfortunately, before we have time to
really think about any symbolism or cultural insight (a heap of
fascinating Filipino traditions are on display), the play rushes us on
at a screwball pace. It’s clear that Locsin just tried to stuff too much
into one little box, and the result is not the satisfied feeling of a
buffet, but rather a rumbling for more—more dimension, more character,
fewer kitchen sinks. Locsin has a lot to say and a unique perspective—he
just needs to give us more meat in the meal.

Helltown Buffet at Rude Guerrilla, 202 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 547
4688; www.rudeguerrilla.org. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m. (special
Oct. 16 performance, 8 p.m.). Through Oct. 18. $10-$20.

OC Register

Helltown Buffet' fails to satiate in Santa Ana
Review: Rude Guerrilla's world premiere mixes intriguing elements
with stereotypes, creating a tantalizing misfire.

By ERIC MARCHESE

Autobiographical stage plays can be thorny at best, particularly if
the playwright doesn't invite the counsel of a seasoned director.
When that director is the playwright himself, as with "Helltown
Buffet," all bets are off.

The dark comedy is by Rude Guerrilla Theatre company member Aurelio
Locsin, who has proved in the past – as with his "Asian Acting" of
2005 – that he is a skilled writer of perception, wit and imagination.

What's obvious from watching "Buffet" is that Locsin started out with
too many elements, many of which simply don't fit together, and maybe
even a couple of preconceived scenes. All are thrown into a creative
blender, the "on" button is hit, and voila – an original world
premiere that, unfortunately, carries many of the flaws of the
troupe's recent original production, "The Seven Deadly Sins."

The story, such as it is, concerns Benjie (David Tran), a young
Filipino raised in Orange County who works as an assistant manager of
a Hometown Buffet. Benjie is cute, sweet and innocent. He's seduced
by Paco Johnson (Brian Chayane Salero), a local drug dealer who, we
learn later, died 15 years ago in a drug deal gone bad, went to hell
and became a demon in training.

To avoid being sent to "the lower depths," Paco agrees to resurface
on Earth and drag another soul down with him – Benjie, of course.

The naive little dweeb in a necktie is attracted to the bad-boy demon
in black leather primarily because he thinks the two share the same
heritage. As it turns out, Paco was adopted by the highest-bidding
Anglo (huh?), which explains his non-Latino surname.

The latter detail is just one of dozens of which "Buffet" brims with.
You want game show parodies? Step right up. Sexy female demons?
Present and accounted for. Gay stereotypes? Got it. Life and
afterlife archetypes? Of course.

The mixture of misfit concepts continues with social commentary
(Hometown Buffet, we are told, refuses to donate leftover food to the
homeless, discarding it), satire (the homeless gorge themselves on
overfed buffet customers) and possibly real, possibly imaginary
histories of Benjie and Paco.

Combining themes of Catholic guilt, death and the afterlife, and the
immigrant experience, the jumbled structure is unable to maintain any
sustained dramatic momentum. On the comic side, it generates only
sporadic laughs.

Especially frustrating is that the play treats the buffet idea as
offering the best of any number of categories, when in fact this
approach kills off such strengths as character, story and dialogue.
Were the volume of elements pared down, we could concentrate on
Benjie's life, which offers the most dramatic potential.

Likewise, giving us a real, honest-to-goodness villain for Benjie to
get mixed up with – instead of a nickel-and-dime hustler like Paco –
would have made for some terrific theater.

It doesn't help that Salero is, in terms of thespian skills, simply
awful. Bad enough that his character is an unattractive sleazeball,
but Salero can barely hold a scene together.

Tran is only slightly better, and while much of the fault lies in the
script, Locsin has neither cast this show well nor done much in the
way of direction, each scene limping along without any bright spots
until late in the play.

Rick Kopps, who has proved a reliable villain in past Rude G.
stagings, comes through for Locsin in his portrayal of Grom, a nasty
demon with a comical sneer for a voice. Maggie Zamora certainly shows
demoness Madame Loveless as sensuous temptress but underplays the
character's viciousness.

The ensemble members – Frank Javier Aranda, Trina Estanislao, Adam J.
Ferry, Ashley Jo Navarro and Alexander Price – essay a variety of
roles with only occasional flair. Price transcends the stereotype of
the gay hair stylist with his riotously swishy Etienne, and he and
Estanislao, Ferry and Navarro are idiotically blissful in
the "Filipino Realm" segment.

It is here, where Locsin recalls Philippine history and his own
Filipino heritage with warmth and fondness, that "Buffet" glows in a
way that almost redeems the entire play. Had this tantalizing vision
of a Filipino Eden been grafted to the story of a little boy who
dreams of becoming a storyteller, we might have been in for one
amazing tale. We can only dream.

Backstage West

September 24, 2008
By Eric Marchese

Aurelio Locsin's original world premiere teems with ideas — proving
that, as a playwright, he's at no loss for inspiration. The problem
with this production, which Locsin also directs, lies with a script
that tries in vain to merge disparate elements. The worst of these
are overworked concepts, such as Satan — or, in this case, a pair of
demons — trying to get his hands on mortal souls. The best offer
fascinating insights into Locsin's Filipino heritage, giving clues as
to the direction at which he should have aimed his script. The story
threads that give the play its title — one character's sarcastic name
for Hometown Buffet — feel shoehorned into the tale of Benjie (David
Tran), a handsome, young, gay Filipino raised in Orange County.
Locsin's methods for recounting Benjie's life before and during his
affair with Paco Johnson (Brian Chayane Salero), a sleazy drug
dealer, are almost cinematic. Were this a film, the script might work
as is; to succeed on stage, it needs a thorough reworking that
emphasizes what is gained and lost when the family of a bright,
personable, gay Filipino emigrates to the U.S.

Only masterful, superlative acting talent could elevate the script to
a level needed to overlook its flaws, and Locsin's cast doesn't rise
to the challenge, nor does his direction offer the needed shaping and
pacing. Tran is certainly likable enough as the young hero, but he
lacks the force and charisma the character and script need. Not only
is Paco a stereotype, and thoroughly dislikable, but Salero's acting
technique is clumsy and inelegant. Soaring head and shoulders over
his castmates is Rick Kopps. As sneering, malevolent demon Grom, he
even outshines Maggie Zamora as his character's boss, the sexy
demoness Madame Loveless. Zamora is certainly appealing but doesn't
convince us of her character's ruthlessness. The versatile five-
member ensemble offers decent light-comedy skills, notably Alexander
Price as a riotously swishy "horndresser" to the lady demon.

Presented by and at the Rude Guerrilla Theater, 202 N. Broadway,
Santa Ana. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Sep. 19-Oct. 18. (714) 547-
4688. www.rudeguerrilla.org.

Aurelio Locsin’s “Helltown Buffet”

By TheA_rtist • September 23, 2008

Rude Guerrilla Theater Company presents the World Premiere of playwright Aurelio Locsin’s black comedy HELLTOWN BUFFET as the ninth production in its eleventh season. Can a Filipino-American manager of Hometown Buffet and his hunky demon seducer fall in love through their real and imagined histories? This dark comedy propels them from Orange County to several afterlives, prompting encounters with a sexy demoness, a fabulous stylist, bewildered tribesmen, and talkingtrees. The production is directed by the playwright.

Rude Guerrilla Theater Company member, playwright and director Aurelio Locsin comes from a long line of Filipino writers: his father, grandfather, and uncle were all journalists, and his grandmother completed a much-praised translation from Spanish to English of Noli Mi Tangere, the seminal Filipino novel. His mostly Filipino ancestry is enriched with DNA from mainland China on his father’s side and from Germany and the Republic of Texas on his
mother’s side.

Aurelio started his American life when his family moved from Manila to Seattle during his early teens. With a compatible degree from the University of Washington, he began his professional writing career as a technical writer with detours into magazine articles and a game book on the Aztecs. In 1997, bored with the world of computer manuals, he turned to acting and graduated from the South Coast Rep Professional Conservatory.

Among his more memorable acting gigs were a year of Improv with the Berubians and a month at the 2000 Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. “One of the reasons I turned to acting was because I got tired of writing,” he says, “but after a few people suggested that my writing might be better than my acting, I tried playwriting.”

His first-produced play, Asian Acting, was nominated for Best New Play at the 2005 OC Weekly Theater Awards. Last year, his full-length directorial debut of Chay Yew’s Language of Their Own was designated one of Orange County’s best last year by OC Register Critic Eric Marchese.

His contributions to the Asian community in Orange County include the founding of an Asian AIDS Response program in the 80s and helping to form Asian Pacific Crossroads, a gay Asian support group that existed for a dozen years. He lives in Placentia with his partner, Anthony, five computers, and several MMORPG characters.

“Hometown Buffet” is one of my favorite places to eat, even without the 99-cent coupon,” says playwright/director Locsin. “During one of these food orgies, I noticed how a huge number of larger-than-normal people left uneaten food on their plate, which the servers promptly threw away. I thought, wouldn’t it have been better to give all that food to hungry and homeless people? When I asked the employees, it turns out it was against health department regulations.

Those images put together produced the opening buffet scene in one inspired sitting. That scene remained a stand-alone short without dialog until I took it to the playwriting class of East-West Players in Los Angeles, where playwright/instructor Prince Gomolvilas advised his students to write the first scene of the play and then continue with the ending of the play before filling in the remaining scenes. That unusual technique produced the script for this production.

People who specialize in such things will find all kinds of symbolism, social commentary, and educational messages in HELLTOWN BUFFET, but my main goal was to create something fun and entertaining for the audience. If anything more than that comes out, it’s a happy accident.”

In my correspondence with Aurelio, I’d asked him about his process in his craft:

CP: What’s the main theme of your play? What’s the intent behind it? Is there any personal experiences that you want to relate to your audience thru this play? What is it?

AL: Love conquers all. Religion and God are not absolutes but ideas created by human beings. My intent with this play, as with all of my plays, is to entertain. I wasn’t really intending to relate any personal experiences but as is true with any playwright, personal experiences color the play. Lots of things I learned about Catholicism and the afterlife are in this play.

CP: Your work in “Helltown Buffet” is quite surreal. Is this intentional? Why?

AL: Not really intentional. It just came out that way, given the subject matter. It’s probably because while many playwrights think of plays in words, I tend to think of them in images, given my acting, production, and directing background. In fact, most of my plays start out as a short scene trying to explain an image that’s popped into my head.
But I’ve written all types of plays from highly surreal to realistic. Check out “Asian Acting” at rgasian.blogspot.com for a collection of my short plays. They run the gamut.

CP: A lot of your characters seems to be out of this world (literally), how do bring it down to your audience so they can relate to them?

AL: Give them concerns that people can relate to. (The Greeks did this with their gods all the time, which made their gods more relatable.) For example, Madame, the queen of Hell, is worried about getting old while Grom, her bodyguard, is concerned about being rejected in love. As long as audiences can see common emotions, virtues, and vices, they’ll relate to the character.

CP: I haven’t seen your other works. Are your works tend to denote Asian themes? Why?

AL: All my plays are detailed in my blog at rgasian.blogspot.com. And they do tend to emphasize Asian or Filipino themes. There’s enough stuff out there being written for non-Asian actors. I want to provide roles for Asian actors, who typically don’t get cast. Paradoxically, it’s very hard to cast Asian actors in Orange County, where my plays are typically produced. So I may be writing general plays rather than Asian plays in the future.

CP: Are there any projects you’re currently working on? Future projects?

AL: I’m at David Henry Hwang Writer’s Institute writing a play about Gladys Towles Root, who was instrumental in legalizing Filipino/White marriage in California in the 1930s. I usually don’t have the energy to concentrate on more than one project at a time.

CP: Are there any themes you would like to explore in the future as a writer?

AL: Filipino historical themes (such as the Spanish-American war’s effect on the country), Asian myths and legends (such as the Chinese Monkey God’s “Journey to the West,” and the deterioration of long-term gay relationships.

CP: What advice can you give to other FilAm writers on getting their plays on stage?

AL: Send your stuff out everywhere, whether or not they produce Filipino plays. The more people who know about your plays, the more likely they are to get produced.

Get involved in your local theater, not as an usher, but as part of the production crew. One of the most useful positions is that of script reader – you’ll not only be at every rehearsal but you’ll get a good feel how actors and directors handle scripts since you’re studying the script word by word. From there, you can proceed to become a production assistant and learn how plays are produced. Many playwrights suffer from a myopic view of playwriting since only other playwrights or writing teachers have seen their work. Being a production assistant teaches you how directors, actors, fundraisers, board members, designer, and crew can approach a play.

Collect business cards, headshots, and resumes from other playwrights, directors, and actors. Not only will you need those resourcse if you ever want to hold a playreading but networking is how many plays are produced.
Publicize every achievement, every change about your playwriting abilities, maybe in a blog. This will keep your name fresh in people’s mind. And the fresher your name, the more likely they are to contact you if they need a play.
Finally, stop talking about your play: write it. All the discussion of plot, character, and motivation is irrelevant if you don’t have what’s in your head down on paper.

The production opens last Friday, September 19, 2008 and runs thru Saturday, October 18 for 14 performances at 202 N. Broadway, in Santa Ana. Show times are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 pm., with Sunday matinees @ 2:30 p.m. beginning September 28th. There is one Thursday performance, October 16th at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors and an inexpensive $10 for students with an ID.

The Helltown Buffet cast includes RGTC member Alexander Price (last seen in CHAIR). Returning are Frank Aranda (last seen in THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS), Trina Estanislao (last seen in MAN OF LA MANCHA), Adam J. Ferry (last seen in THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS), and Rick Kopps (last seen in NOCTURNE). Making their debut on the Rude Guerrilla stage are Ashley Jo Navarro, Brian Chayane Salero, David Tran and Maggie Zamora. Understudy is RGTC member
RJ Romero (last seen in CLOWNZILLA).

HELLTOWN BUFFET’s choreography is by Assistant Director Lee Samuel Tanng, Costumes are by Sarah Boros, Lighting Design is by Ryan Joyner, Sound and Projection Design by Aurelio Locsin and Stage Manager is Brenda Kenworthy.

http://www.rudeguerrilla.org

"Helltown Buffet" - Interview with The Playwright/Director & Two Male Leads
Written by Danny-Doan Nguyen /The Blade
Thursday, 02 October 2008

"Helltown Buffet" a black comedy by Asian-American playwright Aurelio Locsin is currently playing at the Rude Guerrilla Theater Company in downtown Santa Ana, CA as a part of the theater company's ninth production in its eleventh season.

The synopsis of the play is: Can an Asian-American manager of Hometown Buffet and his hunky demon seducer fall in love through their real and imagined histories? This dark comedy propels them from Orange County to several afterlives, prompting encounters with a sexy demon, a fabulous stylist, bewildered tribesmen, and talking trees.

I recently sat down Aurelio Locsin the playwright and director of "Helltown Buffet" and it's two male leads David Tran, who plays the sweet and naïve Benjie and Brian Chayane Salero, who plays Benjie's demonic lover Paco.

First up is my chat with the playwright and director of "Helltown Buffet" Aurelio Locsin.

Danny-Doan H Nguyen: How long did it take you to write "Helltown Buffet"?

Aurelio Locsin: It took me about two years, off and on, to write "Helltown Buffet." And that includes writing as part of a couple of playwriting courses taught by Prince Gomolvilas at East West Players.

DDHN: Is this semi-autobiographic?

AL: Yes, I've been to Hell and Purgatory a couple of times. Just kidding. In the sense that all plays talk about a writer's life, it is autobiographical. But in the sense that it deals with specific instances in my life, no. I never worked for Hometown Buffet (though I love to eat there), never fell in love with a drug dealer, and never was homeless. But many instances in the play are things that all immigrants (which I am) can deal with: having to deal with a strange school, different customs, and different rules.

DDHN: How was this play conceived? How did you come up with the ideas and characters for this play?

AL: It started as I was eating at Helltown Buffet. I saw the patrons and myself in this dance as they were eating. For the longest time, that was the only scene. I'd meant it to be a short play. Then I brought it into Prince's writing class as the first scene of a play. He had us write a last scene (which was very different from the current play), and then he told us to write scenes joining the first scene to the last.

DDHN: Any dilemmas with the conception of the screenplay to the production of "Helltown Buffet?"

AL: You mean other than the eight cast and crew changes due to health problems, the lack of a set designer, the breakdown of the program printer and lack of champagne on opening night, the lack of Asian actors in Orange County to perform in Asian plays, and the upstairs fire that closed the theater down?

Absolutely no problems or dilemmas at all ;-)

DDHN: That is major drama for one little play. How did you over come the dilemmas?

AL: Having a cast and crew who were willing to go the distance and who did not quit despite all the problems. And having good people in a theater company who were willing to invest time and effort.

DDHN: Are you happy with the production, cast and end results of the play?

AL: Well, ask me after we recover from the fire, and I'll tell you. I wish we'd had a more fanciful set and better sound design. (I was responsible for both of these and it shows since I'm not a designer.) I'm very pleased with how the cast and crew stuck together to make the play. We'd been through so much already that they were unwilling to let anything stand in the way of getting this play off the ground. I'm very grateful for that as the director and playwright.

DDHN: Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to chat with me about your play "Helltown Buffet". Best of luck to you and the play.

AL: No, thank you for letting me share my thoughts about "Helltown Buffet" with you and The Blade.

Next up is my chat with the play's two male leads David Tran and Brain Chayane Salero.

DDHN: What were your thoughts about "Helltown Buffet", when you first heard about it?

David Tran: I didn't know much about the play. I was just given sides to audition with and the scenes seemed fairly normal and straight-forward. But after I got the part and finished reading the play, I thought, "what did I get myself into?" I thought it was weird and offbeat, and totally unexpected; I realized then that I had to do this show!

Brain Chayane Salero: Well, when I first heard about it I was just excited to go on and read it, which is why I E-mailed Aurelio and asked for the script. After reading the script I thought it was a very interesting piece, and being that I am very imaginative I could see everything in my head and it seemed like something fun to be a part of. However my only concern was that it seemed more of a film/TV script than a theater one.

DDHN: Brian ... How would you describe Paco?

BCS: Paco's character changes throughout the play. I do know, however, that the original description for his personality was to be a tough, and mean character. What with the way he grew up and all the events in his life he was not a very nice person. I would also add jaded to the list, at least until he notices Benjie is different than the rest, than it's another change on his character. Though in a way, the character of Paco was changed so many times through out rehearsal and discoveries (it's a new play, it makes sense.)that those are just a few of the words that make up Paco Johnson.

DDHN: David ... How would you describe Benjie?

DT: Sweet, innocent, nerdy, fragile, conflicted, and sexually frustrated.

DDHN: David ... How is Benjie like David? And how is Benjie different from you?

DT: We are both one of the sweetest and polite people you'll ever meet, but I'm a more assertive and confident than he is, and I guess I'm not as innocent anymore the way Benjie is.

DDHN: Brian ... How is Paco like Brian? And how is Paco different from you?

BCS: I would not identify myself with Paco. I am at times very outgoing, free spirited, loud, extrovert, creative, wild if you will, or at other times completely and strictly antisocial, and Paco is nothing like that. Paco is more kept to himself, somewhat demanding on what he wants, and kind of cool [which I am not]. However, that vengeful sinister mind he has, for example to feed the homeless a customer, or take revenge on Carlos, I'd do that. Ha-ha. Just kidding. Or am I? Ha-ha. You decide... : )

DDHN: Brian ...Tell me the chemistry between you and David?

BCS: David is a great guy, he's really funny, and a great actor. I remember when he read for the part, I instantly told Aurelio, "oh, he's good." However, on our chemistry...we get along, no tension between us, we're comfortable with doing what our characters go through, well at least I am, and hope he is too. Ha-ha. But seriously, I think we have an ok chemistry, it's not as strong as I would like it to be, but that may be because he came to the production late in the process which gave us very little time to work on it. But, like I said, he's great and I'm very happy to work with him.

DDHN: David ...Tell me the chemistry between you and Brian?

DT: I think our general liking of one another helps a great deal when performing those intimate scenes. I was a late addition to this production and Brian was very helpful in getting me situated, and we've just become more and more comfortable with each other ever since.

DDHN: What are your thoughts now about "Helltown Buffet"?

DT: The play is still weird and offbeat, but now I can see it also has a lot of heart to balance all the humor. It's an eccentric play, but one that is filled with familiar themes of love and loss, as well as spirituality and sacrifice, which helps ground the play to help audiences stay engaged.

BCS: I still think it's a product best taken to the screen. I , however, congratulate everyone involved, on the way they have worked at this to make it come to on stage, it seemed like hard work, but it's on now. And I think if it is ever taken to film, (something to think about Aurelio) that the same actors should play their roles, because they are all so talented, and also should add the help of a bigger ensemble and maybe someone actually, or a bit more, Asian looking for the role I now play. Ha-ha. I'll play someone else. He-he.

DDHN: Are you having fun with this play?

DT: I'm proud of the amazing accomplishments everyone involved in this play has achieved. Working with this cast and crew has made this such a pleasant production to be a part of. Now that all the hard work has been done, I am indeed having fun with this play! We've all come a long way since day one and have really helped create a very entertaining show together that we genuinely enjoy performing for audiences who want to have a great time and laugh their asses off.

BCS: Uhm...define "Fun" Ha-ha. Well, this play has gone through so many "situations" to keep it discreet, that in more than one way got to me. At some points, new B.S. would come up that would get me irate, and skeptical about the whole process. Sometimes I would feel very stressed out at everything that I felt like not even going to rehearsal, but I

had to suck it up. In the end though, there have been ups and downs, laughs, and yells, compliments, and criticism, but over all...I can tell you this, it's been quite the experience. Define "fun" again...ha-ha. Yes.

DDHN: Well, boys ... thank you for letting me have this chat with you. Best of luck to you and Break a leg!

BSC: Thank you for the interview.

DT: Yes, thank you.

The production continues to run Friday, October 3, 2008 and thru Saturday, October 18 for 9 more performances at 202 N. Broadway, in Santa Ana. Show times are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 pm., with Sunday matinees @ 2:30 p.m. beginning September 28th. There is one Thursday performance, October 16th at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors and an inexpensive $10 for students with an ID.

PLEASE NOTE: This production is for mature audiences and is not for children.

For more information about "Helltwon Buffet" and ticket reservations, please call 714-547-4688, send an email to rudegrrlla@aol.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit Rude Guerrilla's website at http://www.rudeguerrilla.org/. Also for more information about the play log-on to rgasian.blogspot.com