October 20, 2014
Chilean theatre hits stages in Buenos Aires
For the Herald
By Veronica Stewart
Young directors will stage works written by renowned Chilean playwrights
Perhaps the most famous thing ever said about theatre came from none other than William Shakespeare, who wrote in his play As you like it that “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Although he was using theatre as a metaphor for life and its various stages, he also managed to capture the spirit of theatre as an art.
In theatre, all that’s necessary to perform a play is an audience at a given time and a given place, a group of spectators willing to listen and be enthralled by what is being performed. Because it can be put on stage virtually anywhere, there is no such thing as a geographical barrier when it comes to this art form. The First Encounter of Emerging Chilean Theatre is proof of that.
During a period of just ten nights, the series will consist of five plays from renowned Chilean playwrights such as Néstor Alfredo Vargas and Macarena Losada, which will be directed by younger Chilean artists who now reside in Buenos Aires, like Felipe Rubio Morales and Emilio Diéguez Troncoso.
The idea is to encourage an enriching exchange between those who created the plays themselves, and those who now choose to breathe life into them by putting them on stage. The series thus brings various artists of different calibers together: playwright Luis Barrales, for instance, who was granted the Chilean award Altazor, will have his play Niñas Araña staged by Daniela Rodríguez González and Andrés Saavedra Garrido, who have worked on a smaller scale; Saavedra Garrido, as a matter of fact, is a theatre student at IUNA.
The plots of the plays that will be staged are varied. The spectrum goes from the true story of teenage girls who climb buildings to rob them (Niñas Araña) to the more abstract and reflexive tale of two men who find themselves nowhere, feeling nothing and unable to escape this state of oppressive inertia (A propósito de la Inercia).
The plays also cover different stories that are somewhere in between. We get the fantastic tale of witches about to undergo a life-altering experience in Santa Venganza, a journey in search of a Latin American identity in La Historia Cualquiera, and a ballet dancer going over her past in the Soviet Union and overcoming a general feeling of loss in Ye Katherina. They are all strictly contemporary, the earliest one dating from 2000.
The names of these plays or artists might not ring a bell in Argentina, but they have been widely successful in their native Chile, either presenting their works at festivals such as Santiago a Mil, or simply staging them all across the city, as well as the rest of the country.
The crux of the plays to be presented at the First Encounter of Emerging Chilean Theatre — that is, the theme that ties them all together — is that of a quest for identity, a search for answers as regards what it really means to be Chileans — and Latin Americans, for that matter — today, and how the country can be defined in this democratic, post-dictatorship era.
Despite the mountain range and the ideological differences that have set Chile apart from Argentina, our neighbour’s reality proves to be quite similar to our own. Its theatre will, therefore, undoubtedly connect with the Argentine audience on some level.
Through smaller works which tell the stories of conventional people or even just the one particular person, these artists will attempt to tackle bigger issues, and make the viewers think critically.
These plays promise not to draw a line between the good and the bad, but rather question that line and foster a deeper meditation about the self.
All five plays will be performed in the Centro Cultural Embajada de Chile, located at Av. Libertador and Tagle, where not only the auditorium will serve as stage, but also the whole of the embassy, even the more unconventional spots. Spanning from June 5 to July 11, they will all start at 8.30pm.
After each performance, the guest playwrights will engage in dialogue with the audience, who will be able to reflect upon the plays with the authors themselves.
Where & when
Centro Cultural Embajada de Chile (Tagle & Libertador) at 8.30pm. Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance.
June 5 & 6: Ye Katherina, written by Macarena Losada and directed by Felipe Rubio Morales.
June 19 & 20: Santa Venganza, written by Erick Pulgares Ramírez and directed by Emilio Diéguez Troncoso
June 25 & 26: Niñas Araña, written by Luis Barrales and directed by Daniela Rodríguez González and Andrés Saavedra Garrido
July 3 & 4: A Propósito de la Inercia, written and directed by Néstor Alfredo Vargas
July 10 & 11: La Historia Cualquiera, loose adaptation from La Pequeña Historia de Chile by Marco Antonio de la Parra; directed by Nibaldo Maturana.