December 13, 2013
New English language play takes stage in BA
American Dreams and an Elephant brings a critical outlook on the US
Theatre in English is not a common experience in our midst, save for the very welcome, usually outstanding stagings that the Suburban Players have regularly been doing for 50 years already, in San Isidro. Which does not exclude other younger groups whose activity is precious little known.
One detail that confined the accessibility of these plays only to English speakers — the language factor — is now following the example of opera: the text of the play is subtitled in Spanish, which is quite helpful, as in films.
In the case of the Suburbans, there is, however, the added nuisance of the location, especially for downtown residents who do not own cars.
Now a play in English is being staged in town, although not exactly downtown and on Wednesdays only. But nowadays theatrical life is so busy in BA (the third-busiest in the world) that theatres have spread all over the city from Monday to Saturday and many groups have to share the same theatre on different schedules.
Such is the case with the theatre El Tinglado (The shed).
Bilingual production American Dreams and an Elephant has been written by playwright and journalist Dennis Weisbrot, born in Phihladelphia in 1946 but a very porteño resident of San Telmo since 1998, who considers himself a survivor of Haight Ashbury and Woodstock.
American Dreams and an Elephant is really a quartet of short dramatic comedies spiked by a very critical outlook on the US and the “American Dream,” not unrelated to the spirit of Eugene Ionesco’s theatre of the absurd.
In fact, the American author uses language with the same expertise as the Romanian master. And so his criticism of his country’s American Dream is not short of rebuke. It deals with alienation, consumerism, and the lingering effects of war.
But his objections are not bitter: they are somehow lit by a smile. Indeed, the elephant, here a huge ever-present stuffed pink toy, alludes to the saying that there is a giant problem which is being generally ignored, as if everyone were under some kind of delusion.
The work has been admirably served by the cast, lovely Mara Mater, also a very good singer, Guillermo Jáuregui and David Maler, also the brilliant director. Sophie Lloyd’s stylish wardrobe, Maler’s lights and the set by Shaina Cohen complete this outstanding effort.
Where and when
El Tinglado / Mario Bravo 948 – 4863 1188 / Only on Wednesdays, 8pm.