Out of the Wings

Posts Tagged ‘Sample of Spanish American Plays’

Upcoming Plays from Spanish America

27 November 2008

Here is a selection of the plays from Spanish America which we are working on:

Los siameses, Siamese Twins (1967) by Griselda Gambaro

Poor thing! His face has changed. Now no one will get us confused.

At the centre of Los siameses are Lorenzo and Ignacio, twins who form the well-known archetypes of Cain and Abel. Lorenzo, having thrown a stone at a child on the street, is being chased by the child’s father. He bursts onstage through a door, slamming and locking it behind him. Ignacio is some paces behind and when he meets the shut door, he pleads to be let in because the child’s father is getting close and will mistake him for Lorenzo. While Lorenzo is safe inside, he cruelly refuses Ignacio’s desperate appeals to be let in. Worse still, he taunts his brother from behind the door. Ignacio eventually takes the beating meant for his brother and, when Ignacio is finally admitted to the room by Lorenzo, the sadism continues. At the end of Act One two monstrous police officers arrive at the house on the trail of the man who threw a stone at a child’s head and Lorenzo sets Ignacio up as the culprit. Ignacio is arrested by these officers, and taken away.

Lorenzo subjects his more successful and independent twin to cruelty and to torture, and finally brings about his incarceration and murder, assisting with the body’s burial in an unmarked grave. With black humour, Gambaro depicts humans who are complicit in atrocities which, although they are absurd, are also frighteningly real.

This is an early, yet startling brilliant, work written by the internationally acclaimed Argentine playwright, Griselda Gambaro. To our knowledge, it has not been performed before in English translation.

El día que me quieras, The Day You’ll Love Me
(1979) by José Ignacio Cabrujas

It was the 11th of June 1935 when Carlos Gardel arrived at this house and Elvira Ancízar divided her life into two stages or, better said, into two movements, and as simple as before and afterwards.

It’s 11 June 1935 and the legendary tango singer, Carlos Gardel, has come to give a concert in Caracas. This is just what some people have been waiting for. Living under a dictatorship there is dissent in the home of the family Ancízar; their house is dreamy, full of exotic and decorative objects which betray something of their romantic yearning for another way of life. María Luisa invests her hope in the first Communist state in Russia and is planning to follow her political ideals and her love of ten years, Pío Miranda, to Stalin’s Ukraine. For the other members of the family – María Luisa’s brother, sister and niece – it is not Communist Russia which represents hope, but the fact that Carlos Gardel is in town, and nothing is more wonderful than when he invites himself for dinner. Everyone behaves as if they are entertaining royalty, all except for Pío Miranda who is intent on dampening the excitement. He reminds Gardel, as well as the Ancízar family, that while Caracas is entranced by a tango star, there are innocent people being tortured and imprisoned by the regime. But does Pío Miranda really have the answers? In this Chekovian family drama, Cabrujas slices through history and offers us a view of this point in time which is fascinating to reinterpret now, over seven decades later.

Yo también hablo de la rosa, I, Too, Speak of the Rose (1965) by Emilio Carballido

Every day there is news. It takes all forms: a dream, a flash of lightening, explicit or trivial, it gets tangled in its own web, sowing its seeds.

It’s Mexico City in the 1960s and two teenagers, Toña and Polo, play truant from school and roam the streets in search of amusement. They tamper with a phone box, the fruits of which they use to gamble or spend on street food. These small pleasures compensate for a lack of privilege in life; they are poor and Polo doesn’t even have shoes. When they wander into a dump, they find a metal tub which Toña fancies as a plant pot but they soon discover the tub is filled with cement and begin to roll it along the ground until they roll it down the embankment and onto the railway tracks before an oncoming train.

A freight train is derailed and the play offers us a prismatic lens through which to interpret the event. No-one was hurt, but they could have been. Was it deliberate? To what extent should they be punished?

From this point the play is structured by reactions from all corners to the teenagers’ deed. I, Too, Speak of the Rose is a play about perception and the lenses through which we view our realities where it is possible that several converge in a single act. A newsreader asks the audience: What is a rose? Is it the whole rose, the rose petal, or the rose fibre under a microscope — which one is the real rose?

Contrapunto para dos voces cansadas, Counterpoint for Two Tired Voices
(1976) by Jorge Días

An old man and an old woman meet every Saturday. Neither is sure who is visiting whom, or where they really are, or why; there is no apparent social reality to which they belong, and they share the incipient fear that they may be repeating the same conversation time after time. Distant by virtue of their age and infirmities from the possibility of action, they use the only means available to them to create a past, and to inject their present with a sense of future.

I’m a visitor too. We’re both telling the truth. Why would we want to lie? So, either we’re both inside without realising it, or we both live outside, free, and we meet here every week to exchange apples, strawberries and words of encouragement.

In this poignant and enigmatic play there is a fearful, imaginative, desperate and, above all, necessary invention of a fantasy of life.

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