Wassup Rockers

Teatro de Chile’s Narciso @ Teatro Círculo (TeatroStageFest).

Today I went to see Narciso, directed by Manuela Infante and presented as part of TeatroStageFest. I sat on the side of the stage where the super titles weren’t visible. Right before the play started I got the horrible thought that maybe I wouldn’t understand all the chilenismos, but things went all right in the end. I had no idea what this play was supposed to be about, but I knew it involved something with pop music and youth, which is why I chose to go to this over the other plays being presented for this festival.  When I walked into the theater they were play The Unicorns, which was the loveliest of surprises, so I was really excited to check out this play.

Angélica Vial played a teen named Esperanza and Juan Pablo Peragallo played her brother Clemente, also a teen. The whole play is an exploration in the angsty youth of today, blah blah, Iron and Wine’s version of “Such Great Heights” playing in the background, etc. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound like the plot is inconsequential, it’s more like there isn’t much plot. Esperanza and Clemente have locked themselves in the bathroom of their home, vowing to never come out of there. They’re both troubled in their own ways, she’s an F student, he a D+, she’s a slut, he has no friends. Not to be quotin’ Trainspotting all up yo’ asses, but the whole thing is all about whether to “CHOOSE LIFE.”

Er, maybe I would have sounded smarter if I’d chosen to quote Hamlet: To be, or not to be… that is the mo’fucking question in this play. The answer is more complicated than I expected, mostly because there is a huge issue of reality and imagination presented in this work. Fantasy plays a major role in this play. Some of the highest emotional moments for the characters in the play are when the two are playing and letting their imaginations get carried away.

I don’t know if this is going to spoil anything, because I was confused about this point, but basically I got a whole Tyler Durden vibe from the whole thing. If this was so, then I don’t know if Esperanza was projecting Clemente, or if it was vice-versa, and if there was some sort of split self involved, then why did the alter ego manifest itself the way it did, rather than being, say, someone “cooler.” Does that make any sense?

I thought the acting was really interesting. It’s not to dis them, cos the actors were obviously trained (there were a couple of nicely choreographed scuffles in the play), not some plucky young creatures taken right off the street, y’know? It’s just that sometimes I wasn’t sure whether they were trying to mock all the kids from this current generation, as if to say “look what’s wrong with kids today!,” or if they really felt like they were these kids. That’s actually why I thought maybe there was a split self issue at play, because at times the actors seemed very sincere, and at other times it seemed like they were a bit distant from the characters they were representing.


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