by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Antonio Sacre is a brilliant, seamless storyteller.
I first experienced his work back in 2011 at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in The Next Best Thing, noting his “touch of the poet,” as an ode to his Bostonian, Irish-American background, which I am well familiar with, being a former native myself.
I’ve been enthralled from the beginning. In so many ways, where the Irish side of him is concerned, I know him utterly. I mean, seriously, every time he opens his mouth to do a caricature of one of his uncles or his mom, it’s like listening to my cousin Lynn, daughter of a fists of lightening, tough, Irish cop. And I often feel more like an insider rather than just a viewer when experiencing the hilarity of a family that uses the word “fuck” as a reverential adjective as opposed to a curse word. It really is pretty funny. I “get it.”
Of course, there’s the Cuban side. As Antonio likes to spin it, “everything sounds better in Spanish,” and the great benefit of his ability to orate bilingually, lends immediacy to the audience who is therefore able to culturally grasp his alter ethnicity which is very different, and yet, so much the same.
At the essence of all of Sacre’s stories is love of family. The juxtaposition of harsh to soft dialects, all the Latin bravado, the Bostonian staccato and the sheer variety of lively personalities within his own family, creates such a robust experience, one can only say, “Wow! What a life!”
This new tale, revamped from an outstanding 2012 debut in New York City, is not very different than anything I’ve seen and heard him do so far. An intertwine of inconceivable personal history meshed with impersonations of family members, a little bit of hyphenated action and the key element of a myth to wrap inside or around his story.
This time however, it was most definitely, rougher. Let Them Eat Meat at the Solo Collective is a serious exposition of Sacre’s relationship with his younger brother, Harry, a remarkably vivacious, smart, kid without borders, whose self-love, determination and penchant for getting into trouble, take him to a comical/tragical edge and back.
Beginning with being kicked out of multiple grade schools, Henry asks to live with his Cuban grandmother in Miami and makes an early rise to success at age 17 as a strip club bartender with a reputation for being the most likable, jokester of a boy who can charm anyone. But as his success graduates to being a high rolling bookie, he is eventually indicted by the Feds as a key player in one of Miami’s most infamous drug cartels.
It is a Daedalus and Icarus themed account played out for audiences as if it is completely and practicably normal. Only, in the most unbelievable triumph, Henry, unlike Icarus, does not sink to his death from flying too high, but in Antonio’s words, “learns to swim.”
In this story Antonio focuses into his Cuban ethnicity really taking time to describe ethics, the sweetnesses, the disappointments and the realities that clearly shaped him and his brothers after their parents bitterly divorced during his youth.
It’s not a simple “heartwarming” story. It is fierce love realized through, exasperation, mild brotherly jealousy, comforts, jokes, profiles and music that most audiences will assume to be highly improbable, but for Sacre’s natural authenticity.
Let Them East Meat, is an aboundingly honest Sacre, extracting the profound meaning of brotherly relationships for himself and the audience while finding perspective with one of the most important persons in his life.