Living on the Fringe

For over a year, actor Armando Batista scribbled away his feelings on identity and race in America in composition books. But it wasn’t until he shared the writings with his roommate that his one-man show, “M.A.C.H.O.?”, began to take shape.

Of course, it helped that his roommate was James Ijames, writer/performer of the one-man show “The Threshing Floor,” which Mauckingbird Theatre Company presented this year at the Adrienne Theatre.

“He was like, ‘Look man, the writing is cool, but where are you in all of this? Why aren’t you talking about your story?’” Batista explains. “I resisted, but the more I thought about it, the more I started dealing with being a Latino in America.”

Debuting this weekend at Philly Fringe, “M.A.C.H.O.?” certainly promises to be an actor-driven experiment. Batista says he may just lead the audience out of the theater to an adjoining lot if the moment strikes him.

Inhabiting a multitude of “masks” and characters, Batista has divided his story into three acts. One: How does being a Latino affect his acting career? Two: How do Christianity and Catholicism affect his perceptions? Three: How does his Latino culture affect his expectations of women?

“It’s totally a work-in-progress, but that’s what the Fringe is about,” he says. “It’s a great place to try things out and see what lands. That’s something I’ve had to remind myself of.”

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