Photo: Celia Von Tiedeman.
Arrabal, now playing at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge in its U.S. début, premiered in Toronto in 2014. In its present state, it is a fascinating theatre experience, a political drama told without words via the tango and music. It is also an immersive show where some audience members, supposedly at a tango club in Buenos Aires, sit at tables downstage as well as on the orchestra floor, which had several rows of seats removed. In the first scene which takes place in the present spectators are invited to join the performers onstage for a tango lesson.
The joyous mood changes abruptly as the story begins. A projection announces that it is 1976, the year in which Isabel Peron’s government was overthrown by a right-wing junta. We meet Rodolfo (Julio Zurita), an endangered resistant, bringing his infant daughter to his mother who lives in a slum (arrabal in Spanish) outside Buenos Aires. He dances a tender tango with baby Arrabal (a word also associated with the tango) before putting her into the bassinet and leaving her a red scarf. (Continue reading » )
In February of 2008 the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts presented Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar directed by Arthur Nauzyciel. For those unfamiliar with the American Repertory Theatre, a brief description is in order.
As its acronym ART indicates, it is a noncommercial theatre dedicated to art. The kind of art the theatre produces and its worth has been a question since the ART’s arrival in Cambridge in 1980. For most of that time, its artistic director was Robert Brustein who was at once conservative and experimental in his tastes. Under his helm, the ART presented classics old and modern, generally those familiar to his public, as well as the occasional new work. Debut plays were often relegated to a second stage where their performances were given lower production values. On the main stage, Ibsen, Shaw, Pirandello, Strindberg, Beckett and other stalwarts of the modern drama anthology reigned supreme. Shakespeare and Molière were the most frequent representatives of the older classical repertoire.
(Continue reading » )