Antonio Sacre: The Storyteller ‘Stripped’

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Antonio Sacre is a man at a crossroads, scrying into the future, embracing a sign of life to come.

As I entered the VS Theatre on the first Sunday evening for the preview of Sacre’s latest enterprise for the Solo Collective, The Storyteller (“What were you thinking letting me see this unfinished!”, I somewhat scolded him after the show.) I immediately got a gut feeling that this would be a mashup, a little bit of everything soup, a hodgepodge of ideas.   

Then I thought, “What was it that he had to say?  How much more new material could one contrive and expound upon in the ongoing past and present Sacre saga?”  So many questions in that vein, loomed in my mind.  This was going to very well be a defining moment.  I was right.

Bearing witness to the litany of his public stories thus far, I, like so many other regular fans and followers have come to know Sacre most intimately.  His multi-cultural Cuban/Irish heritage and growing up “split-down-the-middle”; his doctor father, his Bostonian mother, his competitive brothers, heart breaks, divorces and make-ups, including his own; his adoring Spanish grandmother, crazy “Mick” uncles and cousins, his bilingual capabilities, books, plays and now tours around the country telling children’s stories (including for LAUSD), becoming a father himself, and all the metaphors, mythologies and allegories built into and around the insanity that is his personal and professional life.  What a whopper! – pickles included.

For starters, like anyone who’s lived an unsettling life, especially that of a theatrical performer and writer, there’s always another drama to unfold.  This time around however, Sacre takes a different direction and a lot more risk in the material and the presentation than ever before.  It’s his exclusive, growing up, right of passage story told in “real-time” without apology.  And it is bold!

He’s quite funny actually.  Exposing the murky comedic shades of elusive industry success, he compares the evolution of his work and career path to stripping, something he claims to be quite an authority on via his college days, to the devolutionary art & hustle, balls to the walls performances of highly skilled bump-and-grinders. Song One: stepping out into the lights, you begin to create relationships. Song Two: showing more than just skin…hooking you into the drama.  Song Three: hitting the pole hard for the climax.  THIS is your moment! The big wigs are in the room scouting you for the new TV pilot.  And if you’re lucky, you’ll move on – BIG – and make it all the way, glittered and perfumed, to the private Champagne Room for the ultimate lap dance.  It is exciting, utterly divergent material for a man used to exposing merely charming, romantic vulnerability.

Weeks later, I got the opportunity for a second round with the updated show and although Antonio has altered a few of the lines, removed text, re-aligned some of the subject matter and pulled it all to center he has by no means wrapped himself in a safety blanket of watered down material.  He has remained as dedicated to dancing at the raw precipice as his first preview night.

According to Sacre, his life is rather boring and that his singular privilege allotted to him by the audience, is that he gets to write stories and tell them and make a living at it.  But by no means is he special or great or best in any way.  Even his own father jokingly and regularly tells him that he is, “Only the 10th best storyteller in the family.”  In the most honest of ways, it is laughable because there is a huge truth to the statement.  But, as one artist witnessing another, I’d have to say, it’s time to remove the “only” in any description of him.

In The Storyteller, Sacre is directly questioning himself and his future.  Closer than ever to crossing over into the largest of limelights, will it be possible to realize fame, stardom, influence and wealth with the power players of entertainment instead of performing on a small stage, in a black box theatre, for mostly friends he’s had to repeatedly tempt to participate, like one of his strippers, in his work? Will he be doing only this after tonight, after that and after that and after, after, after, AMEN?  Or is this, the amazing and wondrous ability to engage people with his chronicles and fables and getting paid for it, “the next best thing.”  It’s a touch point that uncomfortably, depressingly hits home with everyone at some point.  As for his own life…that is…”to be continued.”

The Storyteller officially closed this past Sunday evening. However, two more extended performances have been added in November.  You are highly encouraged to hear this personal work. Check with the Solo Collective website for more information or follow Antonio Sacre on Twitter for updates: @antoniosacre

written and performed by Antonio Sacre
directed by Paul Stein

VS. Theatre
5453 West Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
United States

For twenty years, on three continents, in ten countries, in 45 states, and for over two million people, Antonio Sacre has told stories. He has published four books, six plays, and four audio recordings, many of which are award winners and critically lauded by magazines, newspapers, and other media worldwide.

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