Jay Padilla-Hayter & Mateo Sallono in Sergio’s Museum. Photo: Theatre 
By Steve Moulds
Directed by Diana Grisanti
Review by Jason Cooper
Entire contents copyright © 2019 by Jason Cooper. All rights reserved.
Class conflict, the value of beauty, and the ties that bind us are just a few of the themes running through Theatre ’s moving new production Sergio’s Museum. Set in the last days of Mexico’s aristocracy, the play, the latest collaboration from playwright Steve Moulds and director Diana Grisanti, follows the plight of Sergio, a recently orphaned eleven-year-old boy
After Sergio’s silver magnate father and art collecting mother are killed in an auto accident, he is left in the care of Ana, the daughter of the family’s housekeeper and chauffeur who were also killed in the crash. What unfolds is a mystery questioning the realities that both Sergio and Ana have grown up believing. Neither orphan quite understanding the parents that left them behind.
We meet Sergio at two points in his life, age 11 and age 18 when he finally comes into his inheritance. Mateo Sollano demonstrates extraordinary rage in the role. The full weight of the play rests on his young shoulders and he delivers a captivating performance. As the rebellious Ana, Jay Padilla-Hayter brings spirited energy and strength the role.
The rest of the cast is no less than superb, with each actor playing dual roles. Theatre  co-artistic director Gil Reyes plays both Sergio’s aloof father Hector and dubious curator of the museum left to Sergio by his mother. It is nice to see Reyes onstage again and he does a fine job crafting two distinctive characters. Guillermo Sollano brings strength and harm to his roles as Salomon, a proxy father figure to Sergio and as the museum’s nighttime custodian. As Sergio’s mentally unstable mother Gabriela Castillo delivers a knockout performance. Castillo is equally magnificent in her second role, that of a mysterious art collector with questionable motives. In both roles, Castillo glides across the stage with grace and power. Finally, giving arguably the finest performance of the night is Liz Torres. In her role as Gabriela, the housekeeper, Torres brings the show its greatest moments of gravity and mystery and as the Gossipy Lady she provides the night’s biggest laughs. Torres has a natural yet commanding stage presence I was transfixed by. I hope to see much more from this stellar cast.
Grisanti’s direction of Moulds script makes beautiful use of The Baron’s Theatre, a space I’d like to see more local theatre utilize. In partnership with Jesse Alford’s gorgeous lighting design, Grisanti does a wonderful job creating mood and atmosphere. The audience is not just trying to unravel the mystery that is unfolding onstage but enveloped in it.
Speaking of things I’d like to see more of, diversity. Part of the beauty and the appeal of this play is the peek into a cultural history we are not often exposed to. There is a great demand for more cultural diversity across Louisville stages and producing shows like Sergio’s Museum is a step in the right direction. Theatre ’s mission of building community and creating opportunities is well served with this beautifully mercurial play.
February 15, 16, 18, 22, 23, March 1 & 2 @ 8:00pm
February 24 & March 3 @ 2:00pm
The Baron’s Theatre
131 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Jason Cooper has worked in professional, regional, and community theatre for over twenty years. After receiving his BFA in theatre performance he spent three seasons with the award-winning Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN. After working in theatres all over the country for a time, Jason settled in Chicago and worked with The Chicago Dramatists, Apple Tree Theatre, and Red Moon Theatre before returning home to Louisville to become a high school English teacher. Locally, Jason has worked extensively as an actor and director primarily for Pandora Productions, CenterStage, The Bard’s Town, Derby Dinner Playhouse, and Stage One.
2019 Arts-Louisville/Broadway World Theatre Award Sponsorship provided by