“People in the City” take on Chicago

Wendy Mateo and Lorena Diaz are two elderly women impatiently waiting for coffee and menus at a neighborhood diner one minute and two sloppily drunk young Cubs fans outside Wrigley Field another. No big deal, just another night out for the so-called “partners in crime.”
Starring in “People in the City: Bodegas, Beisbol and the American Dream” through Oct. 14 at Luna Central, 3914 N. Clark, the “tall and short” duo, Mateo and Diaz, make up “Dominizuelan,” an Latino improv comedy group originally based in Lakeview.
Portraying 20 different characters throughout their approximately 70 minute long show, the synchronization and casualty Mateo and Diaz exude on stage appears effortless and familiar. As audience members turned to each other in fits of laughter and aghast, it was clear that the pair have no trouble nailing each stereotype they set out to mimic.
While they tackle improvisations of many Chicago characters locals stumble upon on a daily basis, corner “Streetwise” peddlers for example, “the short Dominican and tall “Venezuelan” fail to touch upon their backgrounds in “corporate America.” Despite that, it is hard to fault them. Having toured nationwide, they group also tie their connections to New York City and Miami into the show.
Their portrayals, crude yet honest, had theatergoers leaving the show telling their girlfriends how they see elderly men just like the two presented, outside their grocery stores all the time.
Presented by the nonprofit, “pan-Latino” arts organization, the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago, it is fitting that the set of colorful sketches will run throughout the course of National Hispanic Heritage Awareness month. With a new T-Mobile sponsorship, ticket prices were cut in half to $10.
“We fa-moose,” said Mateo to Diaz as a small group of fans approached them after their Thursday, Sept. 27 show. “But we keep real.”

Photo courtesy of Wendy Mateo

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