The struggles of growing up in the South Bronx were brought to life in the Last Chapter Pub courtesy of Jose Roldan, an online student pursuing a master’s degree in English and creative writing with a focus in screenwriting.
On Thursday, February 16, Roldan performed his inspirational solo-performance titled “Father Forgive Me for I Have Sinned.” The event was sponsored by the Coordinators of Activities and Programming Events (CAPE). The award-winning show, which opened in 2006, has enabled Roldan to gain notoriety as a talented actor and playwright.
The performance was a coming of age autobiography about a shy Latino boy who grows up in South Bronx, N.Y. who has a no-nonsense father, protective mother and flamboyant sister. The show began by Roldan impersonating his loud, erratic cousin. He continued to discuss each of his family members.
Uninterested in sports and disrespected by his peers, Roldan focuses his attention on school, in an attempt to make his abusive father proud of him. Their relationship does not improve, which motivates Roldan to attend college in Lower Manhattan.
While there, he makes a friend named Xavier, who boosts his confidence and convinces him to come out to his family.
Roldan provided vivid imagery into his dysfunctional household, while also incorporating numerous elements of humor. Much of this humor came from family anecdotes which added to the originality of the story.
After the show, a question and answer session was held. Attendees asked Roldan about his current relationship with his family, how living in the Bronx affected him and his plans for the future.
The decision to tell his story stemmed from a class he took during his final year in college. “I thought I graduated, but I later found out that I needed one more credit,” said Roldan. “I ended up stumbling upon a class called solo performance workshop.”
First-year student Sammy Frasier thoroughly enjoyed Roldan’s performance. “I was excited to see more theater on campus,” said Frasier.
Roldan describes the story as “his New York City Latino version of ‘All in the Family’ sprinkled with South Bronx soul and riotous clashes set in a family living room.”