The comic book play looks at the societal expectations of Latino cultural identity through superhero fantasy and lots of comedy.

BY Moni­ka Fabi­an | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

‘El Coqui Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom’ examines the societal expectations of Latino cultural identity through superhero fantasy and lots of comedy.

‘El Coqui Espec­tac­u­lar and the Bot­tle of Doom’ exam­ines the soci­etal expec­ta­tions of Lati­no cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty through super­hero fan­ta­sy and lots of com­e­dy.

For Lati­nos, cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty can be a mine­field. They can gain or lose jobs for being deemed “too Lati­no” or not Lati­no enough.

The com­ic book play “El Coquí Espec­tac­u­lar and the Bot­tle of Doom” exam­ines these soci­etal expec­ta­tions and turns them on their head with some super­hero fan­ta­sy and lots of com­e­dy.

In “El Coquí,” a Nuy­or­i­can com­ic book artist strug­gles with claims that his work is “too Puer­to Rican,” while his broth­er, a mar­ket­ing exec, is fired for the oppo­site.

The pair grap­ples with these pres­sures from Lati­nos and non-Lati­nos alike by cre­at­ing a real-life super­hero that they plan to unveil at the Puer­to Rican Day Parade.

“Coquí” play­wright Matthew Bar­bot says the script took about sev­en years to write and was his first work to address issues of eth­nic­i­ty and iden­ti­ty.

“There’s a space between Gar­cia Lorca’s poet­ry and ‘Down These Mean Streets’ by Piri Thomas that I think a lot of Lati­nos in the U.S., espe­cial­ly now, are liv­ing in,” he says.

Like Coquí’s main char­ac­ters, Bar­bot tries to shake off notions of Lati­no-ness — includ­ing in the­ater.

“I do some­times won­der when there’s a call for work from Lati­no play­wrights, if they’re look­ing for a spe­cif­ic kind of play about spe­cif­ic issues — about drugs and jail, immi­gra­tion, sad­ness; or alter­nate­ly, about the mag­i­cal abuela who has her native mag­ic.

“We’re sec­ond or third gen­er­a­tion at this point,” the 27-year-old, Park Slope native con­tin­ues.

“Our par­ents are often bet­ter off than theirs were. We’re no longer liv­ing in depressed areas — and even those who do, have more diverse sto­ries to tell.”

“El Coqui” was a final­ist in last fall’s emerg­ing play­wrights com­pe­ti­tion at Reper­to­rio Español.

It opens as part of Brick Theater’s com­ic book fes­ti­val on June 5 — the week­end of this year’s Puer­to Rican Day Parade.