Rated 3.0

This experimental Mexican-American play at California Stage is a highly ambitious (if uneven) show.

Playwright Philip Boehm (who’s translated Franz Kafka) brings a vivid dreamlike/nightmarish quality to this script, which flits between “worlds overlapped in time and space,” fully laden with symbolism and spirituality. The dialog is primarily in English, with some Spanish and Nahuatl. (This is the Western premiere; the play debuted in Atlanta in 1999.)

Boehm packed many concepts into 90 minutes; in fact, Mixtitlan might be easier to embrace if it didn’t attempt to traverse quite so much territory. Topics include ancient Aztec culture (including human sacrifice), cutthroat competition by American corporations, immigration and cultural assimilation.

Director Manuel Pickett conjures vivid visuals, but isn’t always able to corral the abundant, diverse, multidirectional elements and themes cohesively. The cast (including several college students) is likeable, but could be deeper in terms of experience.