Joel de la Fuente
Joel de la Fuente
Hold These Truths
John Berger "Honolulu Pulse"
It is a remarkable story, and with Joel de la Fuente starring in this one-man show, "Hold These Truths" is must-see theater as well as the actor's tour de force... De la Fuente's beautifully nuanced portrayal makes Hirabayashi a fascinating American hero that anyone would enjoy meeting. [He] also creates a kaleidoscopic cavalcade of other characters-Hirayabashi's unconventional Issei parents, various people he met while a student at the University of Washington, military officers doing their duty, attorneys, law enforcement personnel and several of the Supreme Court justices who heard his case (Hirabayashi vs. United States) and decided his fate in 1943. It is a brilliant performance by de la Fuente.
Hold These Truths
New York City
"The New Yorker"
One of the stunning things about Joel de la Fuente's performance in Jeanne Sakata's gripping one-man show is how completely he embodies the real-life character of Gordon Hirabayashi... de la Fuente, under the direction of Lisa Rothe, also plays many other characters - Hirabayashi's parents, his college friends, police, lawyers, judges, a Hopi Indian-but his portrayal of Hirabayashi, whom President Obama just this year posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, feels eerily true to life.
Peter Santilli "Huffington Post"
Jeanne Sakata's eloquent one-man drama about civil rights giant Gordon Hirabayashi... provides a concise examination of a fascinating chapter in American history...Joel de la Fuente plays Hirabayashi with buoyant, magnetic enthusiasm, under the direction of Lisa Rothe.
Carole Di Tosti "Technorati.com"
...de la Fuente's stirring, layered portrayal of Hirabayashi, and his spot-on ironic and humorous portrayals of Hirabayashi's parents, friends and people he meets along his journey, propel us toward a mixture of emotions, reminding us that this could happen again if we are not careful...This is what living, breathing theater is about. Unforgettable... If one still wonders how Hirabayashi remained steadfast and without despair and desolation, the answer is also in de la Fuente's fine portrayal of this sterling citizen. The actor's Hirabayashi is irrepressible, convinced, faith-filled, persistent and temperate with a sense of humor...Joel de la Fuente never allows his protagonist to become a maudlin hero...I cannot imagine another actor doing as well as de la Fuente in the role. For me he is Gordon.
K.L. Hirliman "New York Times Reader's Reviews"
From a theatrical point of view, the astounding performance that Joel de la Fuente delivers as Gordon Hirabayashi is reason enough to recommend Hold These Truths. Recalling Joanne Woodward's performance in 3 Faces of Eve, but extending it exponentially, de la Fuente presents, in addition to Hirabayashi, a plethora of personages that people Gordy's story - different ages, different sexes, different nationalities - all without benefit of makeup or costume change. I had occasion to attend a performance with a blind friend and she was able to distinguish easily one character from another through vocal inflection alone. This is simply remarkable work - a master class in acting, if you will.
Anthony Chase "The Chautauquan Daily"
Joel de la Fuente cuts a sculpted and well-tailored figure as philosophical Vershinin, looking crisp and orderly even in a supposed state of dishevelment. He brings meticulousness and intelligibility to his character's celebrated monologues. This, coupled with his unusual good looks, helps us understand why he catches Masha's eye -- he is decidedly not from this tedious provincial town.
Mark Sullivan "Capital New York"
In Churchill's 'A Number,' a standout performance keeps the once-timely debates about cloning fresh and important... When it debuted in 2004 at New York Theatre Workshop, Caryl Churchill's "A Number" revolved around the character of Salter, a widower who got more than he bargained for when he cloned his only son. Casting the blustery Sam Shepard in the role ensured that you never took your eyes off Salter.In the National Asian American Theatre Company's engaging revival, it's Salter's sons who grab your attention. Once again it's because of an impressive performance. Joel de la Fuente plays a trio of young men who share the same DNA, but he infuses each with a distinct personality. He doesn't just change sweaters to tackle each character but transforms himself completely: his voice, gestures, even his posture. The change of focus feels entirely justified, as Churchill isn't as concerned with the moral or ethical challenges of cloning as she is with how you might feel if you found that there were a dozen or so carbon copies of you running around. As Bernard discovers that he has an unknown number of identical siblings, de la Fuente reveals his quickly shifting emotions, reeling from confusion to sorrow to hostility.
Dan Bacalzo "Theatremania"
de la Fuente gives an impressive performance as three very different variations on the same man. He changes both body posture and speech patterns while also infusing his portrayals -- particularly for his first two characters -- with subtle shadings of emotion that complicates the men's relationship to Salter, and gives an added poignancy to their interactions.
From Other Worlds
Rory L. Aronsky “Film Threat”
...de la Fuente [is] the perfect vehicle for a satire of all things science fiction...
Cowboy v. Samurai
Mallory Jensen “Gothamist”
As Travis, Joel de la Fuente consistently shines even above the other actors' strong performances; he is wonderfully natural in the part, making Travis complex and sympathetic and helping the play become something you can really become immersed in.
Amy Krivohlavek “offoffbroadway.com”
At the show's center, de la Fuente gives a graceful arc to his performance, effectively evoking the complexity of Travis's friendship with Del and the angst of his growing affection for Veronica.
Margo Jefferson “New York Times”
Mr. de la Fuente [gives] a calm, steady performance.
Alexis Soloski “Village Voice”
...the dreamy Joel de la Fuente...
Jonathan Kalb “New York Times”
“Ivanov'' is about an educated landowner in his mid-30's who, for no discernible reason, has lost all his vibrancy and interest in life. It depends crucially on an actor who can make the character rise above his incessant whining. Joel de la Fuente is marvelous in this role, rooting it in a calmly self-conscious air of intelligent disgust, a sort of smoldering perspicacity that never lets the audience near the thought (familiar from other productions) that Ivanov could be dismissed as a clinical case who just needs Prozac and a good therapist… this Ivanov comes off as an Ivy Leaguer fallen among backwoods philistines and overcome with a snowballing, omnidirectional disappointment he can't control.
David Noh “Gay City News”
The character of Ivanov is nothing more than a remarkably perceived and deeply felt full-scale portrait of manic depression, and Joel de la Fuente is superb, the best Chekhov stage performance I've seen since the mythic Irene Worth in "The Cherry Orchard." All of Ivanov's lacerating self-hatred and split second mood swings are brilliantly described by the actor who, with his appealingly young face and dimples, cannot help but invest some saving charm into the character as well.
Loren Noveck “nytheatre.com”
As Ivanov, Joel de la Fuente captures every nuance of a man who sees himself turning into someone he despises, and only despises himself more for not being able to stop. De la Fuente forces us to understand Ivanov’s pain in exquisite detail, without holding back on any of the character’s worst qualities: his self-absorption, his selfishness, his violent temper and childish outbursts.
"The New Yorker" | March 6, 2000
Evil is rearing a charming head on East Fourth Street, in the National Asian American Theatre Company's latest take on Shakespeare. Joel de la Fuente's Iago has his way with the audience, and Othello himself, from beginning to end; even at the moment of his greatest defeat, he looks as if he's hatching another scheme.
Les Gutman, “Curtain Up”
Joel de la Fuente's Iago… exudes an ingratiating charm that laces perfectly with his demonstrably savage evil…his animation as he orchestrates with the skill of a puppetmaster is superb. The image of the bilious grimace with which he last faces the audience is like an engraving of his astonishing performance.
Andrew Neiman “Theatremania.com”
The title of this production, produced with impeccable design sense by the National Asian American Theatre Company, should have been Iago. Certainly, any production of Othello must grapple with the danger that Shakespeare's greatest villain could overshadow the would-be tragic moor, and this production succumbs to such a danger: Joel de la Fuente's Iago holds the dark hearts of the audience enthralled
Joel de la Fuente plays Iago with unabashed aggression and spite, delivering his lines in a well-timed, violent staccato. Devoid of the feigned warmth or false pity assumed by many an Iago, this Iago is not a baiter, but an icy manipulator who reserves emotional pretense for absolute emergencies. Only when Othello seriously confronts him does he resort to a display of guilt or weakness. Rarely does this Iago smile or pander, making his occasional half-smile or evil laugh all the more powerful. His "put money in thy purse" speech was reminiscent of a geared-up Hannibal Lecter: each time he turned the famous phrase he quickly spat it out with cold, nasal conviction. De la Fuente was at his bitter best when confiding in the audience, the only time Iago can totally let loose and fully enjoy his hate.
Two Gentlemen of Verona
Bruce Cuthbertson, “New York Village News”
Joel de la Fuente, as Valentine, captivates you, standing tall and broad like Hercules or some other mythic hero in the open air theater. He delivers Shakespeare with a conversational ease reminiscent of Kenneth Branagh's greater moments.
Baby with the Bathwater
Jim Seavor, “Providence Journal-Bulletin”
But the show belongs to Joel de la Fuente as Daisy. with his arrival in Act II, Baby finally gets a human being amid the outrageous characters. de la Fuente makes the most of it, especially in a long series of monologues with an off-stage psychiatrist, and Baby gets a grip on reality, admittedly a rather tenuous one.