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September 20, 2014
Sunday, July 20, 2014

Four vernacular classics in new productions

A scene from Armando Discépolo’s Mateo.
By Juan Carlos Fontana
Armando Discépolo and Roberto Arlt more relevant than ever

MUÑECA. This is Armando Discépolo’s stage play in a new version directed by Pompeyo Audivert. A high class Porteño man falls for a woman nicknamed “Muñeca,” but the woman will pay no attention to him.

This is Discépolo’s way of tackling a tragedy which resonates with unusual force in today’s Argentina: unrequitted love and its analogy with unfulfilled aspirations.

One of the most striking aspects of Audivert’s production is the inclusion of poems by Marosa Di Giorgio, as though Discépolo’s powerful text alone were not enough to bespeak a country’s fate.

With: Carlos Correa, Pablo Díaz, Gustavo Durán; Fernando Khabie, Abel Ledesma, Fabio Sancinetto, Pompeyo Audivert, Diego Veggessi and Ivana Zacharski.

Where & When

At Centro Cultural de la Cooperación, Av. Corrientes 1543. Tel: 5077-8000. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8.15pm. Tickets $ 120.

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MATEO. This is another Armando Discépolo play about frustrations and crushed hopes and desires. Mateo, a horse-drawn carriage chauffeur, sees his fate sealed for the worst with the arrival of motorcars.

Trapped his ingrained beliefs and the inevitable advance of technological progress, Mateo must confront a society in constant change, and also his own family, silent but eloquent witness to the old man’s downfall.

Premiered at the Teatro Nacional in 1923, this is the first play Discépolo himself defined as belonging to the “grotesco” genre. The play’s success was so big that, from that moment on, horse-drawn carriages came to be known as “mateos.”

With: Luciana Bellini, Hernán Bravo, Alfredo Devita, Juan Manuel Echave, Martín Lavini and Vicky Buchino.

Alfredo Devita directs.

Where & When

At Carlos Carella auditorium, Bartolomé Mitre 970. Tel: 4345-2774. Saturdays and Sundays at 7pm. Tickets $60.

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GIACOMO. Written by Armando Discépolo and Rafael J. De Rosa, Giacomo is the story of family — the Bistoldis — and their struggle to break out of poverty. With its potential social mobility background, Giacomo is a faithful portrait of the Argentina of yore and today.

The characters peopling Giacomo are:Arturo, the eldest sibling, a compulsive gambler who’s wasted the family fortune; his wife, Matilde, has only one virtue to speak of: playing the piano. Meanwhile, Jorgelina, the middle sibling, is beautiful and arrogant but fails to get her beau to propose. Esther María and María Esther, the youngest twin sisters, do nothing but criticize each and every member of the family but do nothing to improve their own pitiful situation.

Giacomo is ill treated by his nephews until the arrival of his loyal friend Eloísa, who decides to take revenge and take justice in her own hands.

With: Lourdes Cerdán, Johanna Chiefo, Annie Fink, Hugo Gregorini, Xristian Grilli, Jorge Ochoa and Noelia Torregiani. Raúl Serrano directs.

Where & When

At Teatro del artefacto, Sarandí 760. Tel: 4308-3353. Saturdays at 9pm. Tickets $70.

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ME LLAMO ROBERTO ARLT. With texts compiled by María Esther Fernández, who also directs, Me llamo Roberto Arlt is a loving tribute to Roberto Arlt comprising his best aguafuertes, letters and lines spoken by the characters from El juguete rabioso and Los siete locos. Fernández’s view of Arlt’s texts is original and pungent and features a weath of literary elements typical of early 20th century literature. With: Roberto Bagnasco, Sergio Espósito, Miguel Nicolás Massone, Omar Moron, Diego Pañart and others, with Alfredo Alcón’s voiceover in the background.

Where & When

At El búho, Tacuarí 215. Tel: 4342-0885. Sats at 9pm. Tickets $80 and $50.

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