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culture THEATRE GUIDE

Four of the best plays to see this Winter

There are some excellent offerings in local theatres at the moment – here are four plays you should catch before they close.

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Great theatre plays to catch before they close.
Great theatre plays to catch before they close. Foto:PHOTO BY GASPAR KUNIS

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Wondering what to do this cold, wintry season?

Here is a list of four unmissable plays that will help you keep up with Buenos Aires’ independent theatre scene.

TARASCONES

This is the story of Zulma, Martita, Estela and Raquel, four close friends who get together – the way they have been doing for years – to have tea, play canasta (a card game similar to rummy) and chat amicably.

However, this time around, a crime changes their lives forever, bringing out the worst in each of them. What might at first seem an innocent gathering ends up turning into a cruel night. These four monsters choke themselves with sandwiches and alcohol until they metaphorically eat each other alive.

The theatricality of this play is what renders Tarascones a must-see show. The work is built upon two different premises: the echo of reality and the departure from it. These highclass ladies become grotesque and epic characters. Not only does the c l o t h i n g a n d make-up help the actresses in the show to shape truly surreal personalities, but the unique structure of the play, which is written in verse, adds to the surprising nature of the show.

The play is a wonderful opportunity for four outstanding actresses to display their acting abilities and capacities; indeed they shine on stage, not failing to amaze the audience even for a second. The command and rhythm of the performers, the way they bring their characters to life using their bodies and their speech, is exceptional.

The audience can only dream of a five-minute break in order to try to assimilate all the information provided – and to take a breath in order to continue laughing again.

An excellent acting class from exceptional performers. Teatro Picadero (Pasaje Santos Discépolo 1857).

Cast: Eugenia Guerty, Alejandra Flechner, Paola Barrientos, Susana Pampin. Playwright: Gonzalo Demaría. Director: Ciro Zorzoli. Costume design: Magda Banach, Scenography: Cecilia Zuvialde. Music: Marcelo Katz.

Fridays and Saturdays 8pm; Sundays 7pm; Mondays 8.30pm.

LOS ROTOS

Written and directed by Alberto Ajaka, Los rotos depicts a day in the life of those who pass by Punta Esquina, a place on the border of a workingclass neighbourhood and a shantytown. The events that transpire, from the moment the sun rises until it sets, are varied, ranging from a transvestite who has just been severely beaten up, to a young boy who lives inside an old car and has nothing to eat.

However, there is an invisible thread that connects all these characters, dragging them to the corner: the unbearable challenges of their lives that create the need to escape from their own skins, if only at least for a second. These misfortunes include disease, drug abuse, poverty, hunger, infections, physical abuse and corruption.

From years Ajaka and his company, Colectivo Escalada, have been putting shows on the independent theatre scene. It is precisely this type of collective work that makes this particular play so rich and harmonious. The group includes 15 members, 44 of which are actors. They all participate in the process of creation and behave as a true acting company does, one whose wish is simply to produce art.

“Generally, the text precedes the staging, but not in this case. We build it up as the performance flowed,” stated Ajaka in one interview addressing its creation.

The result of this experimentation is truly fascinating. The actors are used to working together and so they can seamlessly finish one scene, change costumes and begin a new one, portraying utterly different character from the ones they inhabited just minutes ago. Spectators won’t be able to help themselves from being touched by the stories of the protagonists, whose turmoil echoes dilemmas facing Argentina today.

At times hilarious, at times heart-breaking. A highly recommended show.

Centro Cultural San Martín (Sarmiento 1551).

Cast: Fernando Contigiani García, Luciana Mastromauro, Georgina Hirsch, Leonel Elizondo, Sol Fernández López, Luciano Kaczer, Camila Peralta, Gabriela Saidón, Karina Frau, Andrés Rossi y Darío Levy. Playwright: Alberto Ajaka. Director: Alberto Ajaka.

Thursdays 8pm, Fridays and Saturdays 9.30pm.

ASÍ DE SIMPLE (NO SE QUIÉN SOS, PERO TE SIGO BUSCANDO)

What happens when the ‘routine,’ that evil devourer of time, suddenly knocks on your door and transforms your magical and fantastic life into a dull, grey, boring one? Does that ring a bell? It certainly has done with people in their 20s and 30s who fall in, move in with their partner and then one day realise they are not as happy as they should be.

Así de simple is the story of a couple that decides to break up, after trying as much as they could to get their relationship back on track. There is a point at which love is not enough and the differences between both characters have forged such a wide gap that splitting up appears to be the only way out.

This play, created by Ignacio Bresso and Sofía González Gil, is a comedy with dramatic overtones. While it will leave the audience laughing a lot, it carries an underlying message that is tragic, depicting the bitter truth that love alone is not enough. This remarkable theatrical staging relies on the capacity of the director to appeal to the feelings of the audience, in order to make them assume the responsibility of accompanying the protagonists through this difficult time. Such is the empathy created among spectators that far from looking on from a judgemental standpoint, viewers will come to understand and accept reality as a simple and organic consequence of the passing of time.

Clara and Joaquín, our protagonists, are two characters but they have many voices, speaking their desires, thoughts and wishes. In order to achieve this, director Sofía González Gil has cleverly resorted to using additional actors, who illustrate the protagonists’ alter egos, detailing what they want to do and what they should do. These antagonistic voices speak all together, at the same time, and they do so equally loudly.

A warm and loving proposal for such cold days.

El Método Kairós (El Salvador 4530).

Cast: Ignacio Bresso, Julia Dorto, Francisco González Gil, Julieta Gonçalves, Magdalena Prado, Andrés Passeri. Playwright: Ignacio Bresso and Sofía González Gil. Director: Sofía González Gil. Production: Loli Crivocapich.

Wednesdays 9pm.

EL LOCO Y LA CAMISA

The “Banfield Teatro Ensamble” has been finding ways to catch the attention of audiences for more than eight years, often by means of crudely represented archetypes of dysfunctional families and the stigmatisation of insanity. The subjects this time out are a father, an authoritative man; a mother, a longsuffering housewife; a sister, who is eager to escape from her familiar oppressive atmosphere; and a son, a young man who has some kind of intellectual disability and who is responsible for uncovering miseries from the family’s past. However, no-one seems to be ready to accept an unpalatable and bitter truth.

Beto goes around the house drawing an imaginary “z” in the air as if he were some kind of modern Zorro. He has decided that someone has to speak the truth. He denounces the role of women, domestic violence and public shame. However, Beto also seems to be a burden to a family that is not ready to listen to what he has to say. By letting out the unspoken, by shouting out loud the family’s tragedies and revealing well-kept secrets, Beto triggers the play’s main conflicts. The apparent hero, therefore, becomes the crazy one, the one who should be silenced, the who should be hidden and who even deserves to be punished.

This plays feels realistic, especially thanks to some terrific acting, scenography and costumes. It’s a show that is definitely not to be missed if you want to leave a theatre with thoughts, memories and feelings bouncing around your brain. Do not miss this opportunity of watching a great theatrical piece that will make you laugh but – and most important of all – feel.

Teatro Picadero (Pasaje Santos Discépolo 1857).

Cast: Gabriel Beck, Lide Uranga, Ricardo Larrama,Soledad Bautista, José Pablo Suarez. Playwright: Nelson Valente. Director: Nelson Valente.

Thursdays 10.15pm.

BY MARÍA AGUSTINA PARDINI

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