Review by Lauryn Angel
The stage is set up to look like a classroom, with filling cabinets and a teacher’s desk off to the sides and a large, empty blackboard in the middle. Soon, our instructor arrives, dressed like most of the male professors I teach with – jeans, button-down shirt, vest, and tweed jacket. When the audience welcomes him with applause, he says, “No, really. Stop it. We’ve got a lot to cover tonight.”
And then, John Leguizamo schooled us for two hours about Latin history – the things we were never taught in our colonially-biased schools. Like any good teacher, Leguizamo was both informative and entertaining – although most teachers probably wouldn’t get away with referring to their students as “my beautiful morons” or with the language employed throughout the lesson. He also cites his sources – mostly by picking up copies of the very books he discusses, which are placed the desk and filing cabinets on stage.
At the heart of the lesson is Leguizamo’s relationship with his son, who is being bullied because of his Latinx heritage, and the history project he has to complete about a hero he admires. When Leguizamo realizes that not only is his son not being taught about Latin Americans, but he wasn’t taught about them either, he decides to learn about them himself, and pass on the knowledge to his son. Of course, Leguizamo adds his own flair, with hilarious results.
As you might guess, Leguizamo is not shy about the political, either. He not only made comments about children in cages at the Texas-Mexico border, he also worked in topics from the day’s headlines.
You can watch the show on Netflix as it aired last year. I learned a lot, but I know that I missed a lot, too, because I was laughing so hard.
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