December 20, 2014
A comedy that prompts laughter, reflection
Celebrated actresses Nora Cárpena, Mercedes Carreras, Zulma Faiad and Silvia Montanari come together on stage in Sergio Marcos and Martín Guerra’s comedy Mujeres de ceniza, under Roberto Antier’s direction.
From the beginning and on the surface, Mujeres de ceniza would seem to be just another story about a group of friends who meet after some time. Or yet another play about women who get together to talk friendship, marriage, sex, infidelity, lost youth and human relationships, subjects already broached in the runaway success, all-women theatre production Brujas, also starring Cárpena and other stage stalwarts.
Mujeres de ceniza, however, has an additional plot twist.
The cast features emblematic icons of Argentine cinema, theatre, television and revue. With a precise timing and mise-en-scene, Antier and the actresses present a humorous piece full of irony.
A year after the death of her husband, Clara (Cárpena), sends something resembling a suicide note to her three lifetime friends, played by Montanari, Carreras and Faiad.
Worried about the content of the letter and their friend’s intent, the three decide to meet at the widow’s home. They find her sad but far from trying to commit suicide. Instead, Clara is looking for something else — something that remains undisclosed until the end of the play.
However, there are some unexpected turns during the play’s development.
Clara’s dead husband is the fifth character. He appears once and again, not physically but represented by different objects, such as an armchair where nobody is authorized to sit, and a vase keeping his ashes.
Cárpena’s character keeps the intrigue going during the play, interpreting a woman who is calm even on the first anniversary of her husband’s sudden death a year ago. She seems to be distant with her friends, but it’s clear that she is hiding her real feelings. Some of her actions are accompanied by abrupt musical strokes underscoring the play’s suspense.
Montanari plays Teresa, a woman in good physical shape, married and keeping lots of lovers. Montanari’s acting is good, but at times she feels a bit uncomfortable moving around on the high-heel shoes her character is made to wear.
Carreras plays Estela, the one “bored,” pessimist member of the group. She does a great job on stage. Although she did some stage work before, she developed most of her professional career on the big screen. There are many humorous moments based on Estela’s “tragedies” but she wisely refrains from laughing, in keeping with her character’s nature.
As Isabel, a painter who lives in the US, actress Zulma Faiad’s stage presence is fresh and natural, and she also has very funny moments.
The costumes are another outstanding asset in themselves. All characters are defined — not to say inspired by — the clothes they’re wearing. Cárpena dresses in a long, black and white outfit and carries an impressively glamorous pearl necklace.
Carreras’ look is formal. She wears a navy blue suit and tightly clutches the bag on her shoulders, so worried is she about the rising crime situation in the country. Montanari puts on a silvery-grey suit with a black and white animal print lapel, matching the lining of her red overcoat. Faiad wears emerald green leggings with a green and brown blouse and a brown overcoat. Mujeres de ceniza, although a comedy, raises an important topic: Do friends always stay friend? This play shows, in an ironically humorous manner, people’s diverging points of view on the same or similar subjects, and how opinions change depending on the role each one plays in the story.
Where & When
At Teatro Picadilly (Av. Corrientes 1524). Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8.30pm, Sundays 8pm. Tickets: $230 pesos at the venue or from www.plateanet.com.@lucianaek