February is summer in Argentina, and most Argentinian theaters and companies are on holiday. However, it is wintertime in Madrid and theaters are open. Consequently, it is the best moment for companies from South America to come to Spain, or other places in Europe to show their productions and to spread the Argentinian accent, expressions and typical references.
One of the places where they usually exhibit their plays is El Umbral de Primavera. A small prestigious and independent theater in the trendy neighborhood of Lavapiés where is organized an Argentinian theater festival every year in February.
As a matter of fact, this year 7th edition has been held with two companies from Argentina, one from Uruguay, and three othershich are based in Spain, but are made up mainly of Argentinians.
First of all, one if faced with the question of what the interests of these companies are. Are they different from European ones? Of course not. On this occasion, women’s role in our society was the main topic, thus, they were the protagonists of four of the six plays. As a result, it was possible to see good actresses on stage whose names are worth reminding.
Among them, the young Lourdes Hijano Sol stands out. She starred in the monologue Arizona mi amor (Arizona my love). It tells the story of a woman whose boyfriend is breaking up with her in a restaurant. Meanwhile, the waiter is serving her Argentinian dishes and imaging a North American violent film that take place in the Arizona desert where she is empowered and is in control of the sequence of events. As opposed to her real-life situation, where she is being left by her lover in her parallel story she takes his money, hijacks a vintage car and escapes the monotony of her life as a couple. The performance is mesmerizing. She is capable of managing of those changes in scenes using only light movements and her voice. She is as a magician that makes you see what she wants.
The actresses of Impalpable (Untouchable) are also good. Again, love is the topic of choice. This play is about a lesbian relationship that it is broken because one of them decides to go to Buenos Aires to become a movie star. Her partner remains alone in the small city where they lived and must deal with loneliness and a new colleague that it is not as friendly as her former lover. A moving sorority story with flashes reminiscent of Fried Green Tomatoes, the successful Hollywood film.
Furthermore, Seré tu madre tranquila (I will be your mother at ease) has the same flavor as the last one. It is a story of a man who tries to tell his mother’s life, but she does not let him do it. She has her own voice and point of view and fights against him to be listened. It is a comedy that underlines how men usually are the ones who tell the lives and the stories of women, besides how children tend to reimagine the life of their mothers and fail.
The most curious play was Adela, women´s white long sleeves sport shirts. It is a monologue with its title in English written by Daniel Veronese when he began his career in Bueno Aires. An avant-garde text which is difficult to stage and a challenge for any actress, which Mireia Gubianas overcomes with ease. The story is about a woman who tries to convince the audience she is not responsible of the murder of her brother-in-law, who is her lover too. She repeats arguments with little variations, as she were rehearsing a speech in front of a jury or the police.
In addition to women’s roles, the other hot topics in our societies are transgender and homosexuality. Dibujitos desanimados (Little discouraged cartoons) from Uruguay touches both subjects. It is the story of a casual meeting between a transgender woman and a petty thief who are working in a shabby theme park dressed up as Minnie and The Pink Panther, while children have fun. Despite the happy context, the play is violent like a Tarantino film, because their lives are harsh. Firstly, because of their social class and sexual orientation. Secondly, because they don’t have any money for living and must accept what society gives them. They have few choices for living and these underpaid jobs are the best they have found.
Finally, El nombre de la moscas (The name of the flies), addresses a typical Latin American topic. That is the fight against military dictatorships. In this play, it is the real story of a religious man who was imprisoned for twenty years and tortured because he refused to fight in the Falklands War. The story is interesting because it is based in a true story. However, the staging will not help to make it widely known.
In short, it could be said that all these plays are like the plays that usually can be seen in El Umbral de Primavera. Women, sexual orientation, and other political issues are the most common topics in this theater. The only difference is the Spanish accent of the cast. During the festival, Argentinian accent, and expressions reign on the stage to tell current human stories to Spaniards audiences who love the theatre from everywhere and want to be up to date.
Edited by Nicholas Dale Leal
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.
This post was written by Antonio Hernández Nieto.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.