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Five indie plays to beat the autumn blues

Five recommended plays to enjoy the independent theater of Buenos Aires.

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En la sombra de la cupula by Agustín León Pruzzo.
En la sombra de la cupula by Agustín León Pruzzo. Foto:COURTESY PRODUCERS

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The quality of Buenos Aires’ independent theatre scene never fails to amaze. Five plays not to be missed are:

Mi hijo sólo camina un poco más lento

Embracing diversity is the motto of our era, but how can we achieve it? How can we accept difference? How can we integrate ‘the other’? Director Guillermo Cacace explores these questions and more this play written by Ivor Martinic.

The story focuses in on a family affected by the passing of time and by an unmentioned disease of one of its members. The family wants to accept him but don’t know how; life has not given them the basic skills to do so. Dysfunctional families are a common theme in today’s theatre scene in Buenos Aires. But this play’s exploration goes further with a touching, melancholic and mesmerising emotionality. The audience is lured into the suffering of a family whose existence is built upon grief.

Teatro Picadero (Pasaje Discépolo 1857). Cast: Aldo Alessandrini, Antonio Bax, Luis Blanco, Elsa Bloise, Paula Fernandez Mbarak, Pilar Boyle, Clarisa Korovsky, Romina Padoan, Juan Andrés Romanazzi, Gonzalo San Millan, Juan Tupac Soler. Playwright: Ivor Martinic. Director: Guillermo Cacace. Sundays 11.30am.

Matate, amor

Based on the novel by Ariana Harwicz, Matate, amor seeks to topple the traditionalist concept of family: the wife, husband, kids and the dog. Directed by Marilú Marini, with Érica Rivas Mátate in the lead role, the play is a fierce criticism of the preconceived and traditional notion of love. A woman who questions the place her life has confined her to.

The journey from novel to stage came naturally to the wonderful trio who worked on this smooth creative transition. “I always felt that I had written this text with the conventions of a play, a play with a literary structure, with literary pauses and rhythm, but with a dramatic sentiment”, Harwicz said recently in an interview. The play is a unique experience, a devastating experience. Santos 4040 (Santos Dumont 4040). Cast: Érica Rivas. Playwright: Ariana Harwicz. Director: Marilú Marini. Fridays & Saturdays 8pm; Mondays 9pm.

El mar de noche

Two friends, two books, one project. Some time ago, Santiago Loza and Guillermo Cacace came together to carefully plan out the creation of a new play. Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s “The Profundis” and Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice”, Santiago Loza put in the hard yards of developing the idea, before it took its form in the hands of Guillermo Cacace and came to life in the body of Luis Machín. Their talent on an individual level is undeniable. Their creative power as a trio, indisputable.

The central figure on stage is a man who is apparently in a hotel room and who has just been abandoned by his lover. His soul and body ache. His grief is almost tangible and exceeds any rational or emotional comprehension: he can only let out words, statements, and images of a life that he knows is falling apart. One thing is certain: talent needs to find you working and in the company of gifted artists/friends. NUN Teatro Bar (Juan Ramirez de Velasco 419); Cast: Luis Machín; Playwright: Santiago Loza; Director: Guillermo Cacace; Saturdays & Sundays 6pm.

Terrenal

Possibly the best dramatic piece ever written, the best play ever staged. Words fail to describe Mauricio’s Kartún creative mind and this group of actors’ work under his stage direction. The play has been running for three years and, still, the theatre is fully packed. What makes it unique is that it relies both on delicacy and on its theatrical power: a piece rich in biblical and folk language, in metaphors that redefine the Western myth.

The story of the two brothers is re-signified in the suburbs of Buenos Aires where the siblings discover their true nature in a dispute over an insignificant piece of land. Tatita, the absent fatherly figure, arrives just in time to witness the downfall of the earthly paradise. All three actors are splendid in their grotesque and caricaturesque roles, and are incredibly directed by the great master, Kartún. Definitely, the best play of the past few years.

Teatro del Pueblo (Av Roque Saenz Peña 943). Cast: Rafael Bruza, Claudio Da Passano, Claudio Martinez Bel; Playwright & Director: Mauricio Kartún; Thursdays & Sundays 8pm; Fridays and Saturdays 9pm.

En la sombra de la cúpula

En la sombra de la cúpula is a unique play that pays homage to Roberto Arlt and is performed in one of the most emblematic buildings of Buenos Aires: Edificio Bencich. Spectators wander around Estudios Caracol, which has been artistically intervened by dancers, actors and musicians who tell the story of “Trescientos millones”, a play written by Arlt. Its non-conventionality relies on the fact that the audience adopts a significant role in the development of the play. First, they listen to Roberto Arlt in this iconic porteño building, then they sip some wine and relax in a cosy living-room while listening to a piano player, and later walk from one room to the other trying to decipher the plot of the story.

The play tells of the unfortunate life of the servant. Agustín León Pruzzo’s idea paying homage to this Argentine writer is notable, and in a place that characterises the city so well and is located just in front of the house where Arlt was born! An enchanting, different and captivating play. Chapeau!

Estudios Caracil, cúpula de edificio Bencich (Avenida Roque Saenz Peña 615); Cast: Tokyo, Leandro Avalos, Ana Bowers, Florencia Miller, Santiago Orquera, Agustín León Pruzzo, Antonella Sturla, Fermin Varangot; Playwright & Director: Agustín León Pruzzo; Fridays 8pm; Sundays 6.30pm.

By Agustina Pardini

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