Santos & Santos | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Santos & Santos 

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Henry Godinez--long respected as a performer, equally at home in comic and serious roles--has come into his own as a director. He proved last fall at the Goodman Studio, with his intelligent take on Jose Rivera's glorious play Cloud Tectonics, that he could maneuver through a complex work without sacrificing the transcendental beauty of its magical realism. Now, Godinez shows he's equally at home with Octavio Solis's exquisite realistic drama Santos & Santos. Centered around a morally ambivalent Mexican-American law firm that subsidizes its well-meaning political battles with drug money, the play concerns a squeaky-clean Santos brother who, thinking he's doing good, brings tragedy on his family. In less certain hands this play--which features enough killings and random acts of violence to make a good movie of the week--could easily have devolved into melodrama. But under Godinez's expert direction for Teatro Vista, Santos & Santos becomes a rich, multilayered meditation on the nature of good, evil, and the many shades of gray in between. Godinez is aided by an ensemble led by three fine actors--John Carlos Seda, Anthony Diaz-Perez, and Edward F. Torres--who play the Santos brothers with remarkable sensitivity, intelligence, and power. Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, 1852 W. 19th, 738-1503. Through June 2: Thursdays-Sundays, 7 PM. $12. --Jack Helbig

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