Tuesday, January 11, 2011

José how could you

Yesterday I talked about my experiences with the "straw Jesus". Today I began thinking about the guy in that show who played Coronado, José Alverez. I met José a couple of years before we ended up performing at Charlies Place. We were doing another show for the same producer in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Many stories there but none to be told in the blog today.
José was a very large guy from El Paso. He was 5' 6" and maybe 300 pounds. His mother owned a Mexican Food restaurant in the Texas Border town and he grew up being the official taco tester. You would say that he was a jolly fat man, very enthusiastic on stage with a smile that never quit. There was a laugh in his voice even when he sang. The producer I mentioned loved to give him comedy characters to play on stage.
José was a tad naïve and would fall for the same practical joke over and over, so he was a target, a large easy target, for me and the rest of the members of the cast.
There was a running joke that we all perpetrated on him nearly once a week and he never ever saw it coming. That was the fun of the of it, he was just too jolly to believe we would continue to conspire against him.
I think the joke started when one of the guys legitimately misplaced his wallet. He was asking everyone if they had seen it and the entire company was looking for it. Toward the end of the evening it was found. Rather than just tell everyone it had been found the guy decided to hide it in José's locker and shared that information with everyone but José. We all made a point to be near that locker after the show. José opened the locker and one of us (maybe me) said "Hey, Dave, isn't that your wallet?". In a well rehearsed motion everyone turned to see the "stolen" wallet. We all looked at Jose with contempt. "Jose, how could you?I thought we were friends. If you needed some money for extra food you know I would have loaned it to you, " was all Dave said as he retrieved his wallet. As we all shook our heads and headed out the door José was baffled and pleaded his innocence to the condemning cast. Even by the next day he didn't realize he had been hoodwinked.
A week later one of the guys asked the cast if anyone had seen his watch. In a repeat performance we were all there when the watch was found in José's locker.
Another week or so went by and one of the waiters mentioned they were running low on silverware in the kitchen. The opportunity was too perfect. At the end of the evening silverware cascaded from José's locker. "José how could you" became the mantra. After a few more discoveries we cooled it for a while. José finally began to catch on when there was a crowd gathering at his locker at the end of the evening.
The final ploy was the best. One night the Chef was not there at the start of the evening. It was the talk of the theater. Would there be dinners tonight if Jimmy the Chef was not in the kitchen? Sure enough when we all finished the show Jimmy the Chef was bound and gagged below José's locker. All at once we said, "José how could you."
No doubt his weight was a problem no matter how jolly and happy José seemed. However, I don't recall him ever complaining about anything in his life. Less than ten years after the demise of Charlies Place José Alverez died of a heart attack. I remember his good nature and on stage he never gave less than a hundred percent. We miss you José and if you are reading this now some how, "Have you seen my money clip?"
As you were,

1 comment:

Roomie said...

I remember Jose well from DF and loved him dearly....you just remember too much about people that I have either forgotten (?) or never knew....didn't know he had passed away....wasn't he your age and certainly not as old as I...As for cheap tricks, remember how you and the cast used to hide a piece of my costume or props for every show and would send me into a panic? Of course you don't....but I do....and would run around in the tarantula infested backstage looking for said article, only to be handed it just before going on....just be glad I never lost one of your "friends." I think I would have enjoyed being part of C's Place....
Carry on,