In Edward Bok Lee’s “El Santo Americano,” a professional wrestler kidnaps his wife and child as he drives to Mexico, hoping to reinvent himself and keep his family together. Clay is a disgraced professional wrestler who drives his wife and son with him to Mexico. There, he hopes to reinvent himself as a wrestler, and not be taken as a joke. He also hopes to improve his failing relationship with his family.
It is revealed shortly into the play that Clay has in fact taken his wife and son by force, when Evalana tells him to stop so she can take a bathroom break, and Clay says “if I stop, you’ll try to run again. ” He also has brought a gun with him. As the story progresses, Clay pulls over, giving Evalana the “opportunity” to run away, to which she promises she won’t. Clay then gives a long monologue revealing his wrestling life, including when he had finally won a match and the audience actually cheered him on, appreciating a “real” match as opposed to “so much phoney bullshit (they had seen) through the years.
More importantly, during the monologue, Clay reveals that he had won to give his wife and son something to believe in, and so his son could for once not “see his daddy get beat time and again. ” During the long monologue, Evalana temporarily runs off, and Clay aims the gun at himself, eventually just putting it into his mouth. Evalana eventually reappears, and gives a monologue of her own. She tells of a family trip she went on to Disneyland when she was about their son Jesse’s age.
Along the way, her father woke the family up in Arizona, so they could see a big dam at night. It was during that time that she was fascinated by a rainbow she saw at night. The next night, while the family was camping out, Evalana saw a distant town that enchanted her, “shining with tiny stars that weren’t really stars, surrounded by rainbows that weren’t really rainbows. ” She reveals that she imagined she was born in that town, and that was the place the family was heading to instead of Disneyland.
Following Evalana’s monologue, it is revealed that Jesse has driven off without them. Clay and Evalana look at each other, the gun still in Clay’s mouth, and Evalana proceeds to remove the gun from his mouth, and aims it at him. Overall, this was a successful play which had conflicts between the characters, and ended in a twist in which their son abandons them in the desert. The play reveals the tragedy of a man who wants to prove himself to his family, and his own son abandons him and leaves both him and his wife stranded in the end.
I liked the story and the tensions in this play, as well as the ending I did not expect coming. However, I did not like the long monologues told by both Clay and Evalana, which I found hard to follow. In addition, the fact that no sentences began with capital letters made the play hard to read. I feel like the play could have improved if it did not have such long monologues, and shorter bits of character dialogue with each other.