Imagine being able to peer into a slice of someone’s life experiences. Think of the emotional tug and pulls of seeing and hearing stories once known to a family you may have never heard about. Watching the highs of a family – all the way to the absence of the once-strong family nucleus. On top of it, this all takes place face-to-face.
I was submerged into a theatrical experience, the Blues Opera, led by Cuban-Jewish blues musician, Eric Garcia, through carefully thought-out reenactments where he showcases stories about love, family, loss, and redemption. Ana Margineanu spearheaded the concept and direction.
Garcia, who is best known as “Uncle Scotchy,” partnered with the Juggerknot Theatre Company to present the one-man show, which he wrote and acts it out as well.
The event takes place near the heart of Miami, Calle Ocho. This is where Cuban and, overall, Latino culture is splattered in every crevice and corner.
A glimpse at Uncle Scotchy’s world
From the beginning, you are strung around town. You aren’t told the exact location and you are given very little information on what to expect. What you do know is to expect everything to be eccentric – and intentional.
When it was my turn to get lost in Garcia’s world, I was guided towards the secret location by holding on to a rope, alongside the rest of the event-goers. Yes, similar to how Kindergarteners learn how to walk in a line. We did this in plain sight of the lively street. Cars stopped to give us the way, but the drivers all wore puzzled expressions. I also made the mistake of wearing a long, velvet skirt with a long-sleeved shirt, so I was sweating my ass off before the show started. The Miami heat is not kind to anyone – even if its humid breeze feels like a soft whisper sometimes. It tricks you. Don’t let it. Although, this, too, added to the experience.
Once we arrived at our destination, Garcia greeted us with a white tank top, black pants, socks, and slides. At that point, I realized I was overdressed, but that’s fine.
In an intimate setting, where only 12 of us were allowed in, we waited as Uncle Scotchy started his show. The walls were decorated with family pictures, dated portraits, and a wall that had the sun drawn on it. The house felt as if it were decorated by a humble family many moons ago.
He first spoke of his mother, with a harmonica, and the love he felt for her. Garcia also mentioned that she had Alzheimer’s and walked us through moments most families won’t share, especially in Latino communities. But he aired it out, la ropa sucia and all.
Dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s is difficult. You stand by as you lose someone, little by little. The loss is in small dosages a lot of the time – and sometimes it explodes right in your face.
As the night progressed, he sang about the struggles of Alzheimer’s, being a caregiver, love, and dear moments with his mother and father, while simultaneously playing his harmonica and other instruments. We were treated to games, cafecito cubano, and some wine. Later on in the show, he sang about his father.
Uncle Scotchy encapsulates the equal parts of pain and love someone experiences as the family dynamic changes. His one-man show makes you laugh, cry, and wonder about the many changes human beings go through.
Though the shows are now sold out, I advise you to be on the lookout for any shows from Uncle Scotchy. They are an emotional rollercoaster that teaches you to embrace your own Blues; you don’t want to miss out on these experiences.