Irene Hernandez’s Parental Guidance Suggested
at The Dream Up Festival
by Marcina Zaccaria
What is it like to be a daycare teacher? Is it a demeaning routine that leaves one without hope, with the shouting, the screaming, the bottles, and toys everywhere? Is it impossible?
That’s exactly what Writer/ Director/ Actor Irene Hernandez explores in her new play, Parental Guidance Suggested, at The Dream Up Festival at Theater for the New City. Billed as a “True Musical Dramedy,” it’s a boisterous 65 minutes, with plenty of complaints, dilemmas, and desperation.
Irene works with real children on this play, and it was largely a success. The other “elder” actress in the play, named Miss Perfect, was convincing, dressed in a costume that represents East Village funk. Similarly, the writing is succinct, and includes the everyday struggle involved in minimum wage work. Irene somehow suffers mightily, while experiencing incredible growth through the process. The moment-to-moment directing and acting are actually quite tight. In fact, Hernandez’s interdisciplinary skills provide the greatest source of strength in this piece.
Hernandez, the daughter of Cuban immigrants, has an incredibly loud, resonant singing voice, and in fact, it would have been a joy to hear her sing a bit more. The depths of despair are something to get loud about, and Hernandez does it with a grim disposition, but every force of will. Eventually, she makes a terrific exit, when her character gets fired and walks out the door. It’s a great release, after all the strain and daily trials of teaching. In true cabaret form, she makes the most of it, posing at the exit door.
Parental Guidance Suggested ran from August 27th – September 12th at the Cabaret Theater at Theater for New City, located at 155 First Avenue in New York City.