La tempestad (The Tempest)

Garcini, Salvador 2011

This 2011 Mexican production of The Tempest, a joint venture involving Mexico’s National University (UNAM), National Institute for the Fine Arts (INBA), and Metroploitan University of Mexico City (UAM), served, among other things, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the play’s first staging.

By having the stage, film, and television actor, Ignacio López-Tarso starring in the show, the play attracted even wider audiences than usual. Fittingly, his casting as Prospero was to a large extent due to the fact that López-Tarso made it his personal priority to play the lead once more, and for the last time, in an UNAM production of a Shakespeare play, after having performed as King Lear in the 1980s, so as to close his involvement with what he himself terms “the finest theatre made in Mexico”. This 86 year-old man is considered to be one of the country’s finest actors; despite his age, his experience and distinct voice made a striking Prospero. Working alongside such an established and renowned personality were both excellent young professionals from different acting schools and older actors from Mexican vaudeville and commercial venues, making it a productive combination of styles. The mix of actors comments upon the way youth and maturity interact in the actual play.

A slanted platform recalling a deck, a dock or a pier transforms into a ship, an island, or a library depending on how the mast is used and the ropes disposed. A few objects such as a chair and a couple of barrels help to define the space represented on stage. The flexible scenery underlines the sense of wonder and discovery present in the play.  In key moments such as the shipwreck and the banquet, a projector enhances the visual aspect. Lighting with blue, green, and purple hues emphasizes the fantastical quality of the island’s magic. The lights also establish contrast and aid the audience to keep track of the different stories in the play.

The costume design is quite eclectic. Prospero and Miranda wear ragged and self-made clothes that characterize their exile. As Miranda falls in love, her clothes change. Ariel, a very flirtatious female spirit, wears a blue corset and headdress that convey her airiness and stylized movements. The rest of the faeries are topless, only wearing skirts made out of leaves; their attire evokes Polynesian or Hawaiian dancers, but their dance is contemporary. Caliban is characterized as half reptile; his appearance foregrounds difference. Alonso and his men contrast with the inhabitants of the island; they wear more sober clothes with a slight hint to the Spaniard conquistadors. Although this is a Mexican production, the theme of colonialism was not stressed through the play.

The character’s costumes are not the only exotic sights of the island. The compelling atmosphere of the place is created through sound. Music is the vehicle of magic: the percussive music of the faeries dancing, finger cymbals for Prospero’s mild spells, strings for painful magic, Ariel’s alluring songs… These musical effects complement Alfredo Michel Modenessi’s excellent translation, conveying both the play’s poetical majesty and its keen sense of humor through Mexican idioms and different varieties of Spanish for Trinculo and Stephano. For over two hours, we question and examine how freedom, restraint, obedience, and rebellion take part in the most basic human relations. Yet, all is complicated with the erotic tensions that underlie many of these relations. Forgiveness seems to be the solution.

 

Type: stage

Year: 2011

Director: Salvador Garcini

Play: The Tempest

Language: Spanish

Venue: Teatro Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, Ciudad Universitaria; Mexico City, Mexico

 

Direction: Salvador Gracini

Translation and adaptation: Alfredo Michel Modenessi

Production: Dirección de Teatro UNAM

Set Design: Eloise Kazan

Costume Design: Edyta Rzewuska

Lighting Design: Víctor Zapatero

Choreography: Ruby Tagle

Live Music Coordinator: Isaac Pérez Calzada

Melodies and effects composition: Violeta Sarmiento, Mireya González, Isaac Pérez Calzada, Paola Izquierdo

Cartel Tempestadpath

Cast:

Edgar Omar Moreno-Master of a Ship

Rodrigo Alcántara-Boatswain

Isaac Pérez Calzada-Mariner

Felio Eliel- Alonso, King of Naples

Rafael Inclán-Antonio

Luis Couturier-Gonzalo

Roberto Sen-Sebastian

Adrian-Abraham Stavans

Violeta Sarmiento/Paola Izquierdo-Ariel

Lorena del Castillo-Miranda

Ignacio López Tarso-Prospero

Horacio García-Caliban

Osvaldo de León-Ferdinand

José María Seoane-Trinculo

Roberto Duarte –Stephano

Ixchel de la Rosa, Mitzi Elizalde, Nayelly Acevedo, Erandi Mondragón, Mireya González, Claudia Pastrana-Nymphs

 

Season: Semptember 8 to November 20, 2011

 

Direct information: http://www.teatro.unam.mx/wwwteatrounam/Paginas/la-tempestad.html

 

Reviews:

UNAM Culture Digital Diary:

http://www.cultura.unam.mx/?tp=articulo&id=2922&ac=mostrar&Itemid=&ct=0&titulo=el-perdon-en-el-centro-de-la-tempestad&espCult=ccu

http://www.cultura.unam.mx/?tp=articulo&id=2931&ac=mostrar&Itemid=&ct=0&titulo=la-tempestad-se-va&espCult=ccu

http://www.cultura.unam.mx/?tp=articulo&id=707&ac=mostrar&Itemid=103&ct=0

La Jornada newspaper:

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/09/03/cultura/a03n1cul

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/09/28/cultura/a05n1cul

Difusión Cultural UNAM, includes several photographs:

http://www.difusioncultural.unam.mx/saladeprensa/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=920:395-continua-la-tempestad&catid=5:direccion-de-teatro&Itemid=11

 

Otelo (Othello)

Ríos, Claudia 2009

Claudia Ríos’ Othello (Hispanicized as Otelo) premiered at Teatro Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, at the main National University Campus in Mexico City, on February 14th 2009. Like every other Shakespeare production at the National University (UNAM), the play attracted a widely diverse audience: students from all schools, academics, critics, and keen theatregoers. The cast included the well‐known actresses from Mexican cinema and TV Ana de la Reguera (Desdemona) and Cecilia Suárez (Emilia). Read More

Ur-Hamlet

Barba, Eugenio 2006

Ur-Hamlet is a multicultural project by Odin Teatret: a performance that brings together the Odin Teatret ensemble, a group of actor-dancers from Bali, Japan, Brazil, musicians from different parts of the world, and a long-term pedagogical project for young trainees from all over the world. Read More

Sueño de una noche de verano (Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Faesler, Juliana 2009

An orchestra rehearsal frames the action of this multidisciplinary and contemporary approach to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a joint production of the theater, music and dance departments of the Coordinación de Difusión Cultural UNAM. The scenery is extremely simple: chairs and music stands rest on a printed grass carpet. Aligning the chairs turns the actors into spectators; a musical‐chairs disposition evokes childhood games. Objects acquire symbolic meaning; for instance, musical stands roll around to mirror how apparently and equally simple it is to displace affections or play a different instrument. Read More

Como te guste (As You Like It)

García Lozano, Mauricio 2002

Mexican Director Mauricio García Lozano created the company “El Teatro del Farfullero” in order to provide young actors with early opportunities at highly quality, professional stage work. As You Like It was their project for late 2001 and early 2002.

Five panels as a backdrop compose the simple, monochromatic, glum, and metallic scenery at starting. When Rosalind and Celia abandon the palace, the panels twist in order to transform into curved ramps that recreate the Forest of Arden—a strangely lively place, darkly so.

When the girls come up with their plan and strip their courtly clothes, they discard their identities in the process. Matte fabrics and color disappear from their clothes as they adopt the metallic, minimalist gold costume of the inhabitants of the forest—clearly inspired by the designs of Gustav Klimt. All actors wear the same fundamental wardrobe, which, nonetheless, features several pieces that may be quickly, and significantly, reorganized. The homogenous costume is highly functional; the corset, pants, vest and sleeve are flexible pieces that can be taken off, rolled over, tied differently to change purposes and produce different looks. Without distinctions of sex, age or shape, all nine actors take turns to play every role in Shakespeare’s play—i.e. the roles flow from one to another without limits of age, class or gender, although in the end, every major role flows back to the actor who played it first. The arrangement of the garments distinguishes which character the actor is playing at any given moment: for instance, the presence of Rosalind’s chain identifies Orlando’s neck, and hence Orlando, who is also and at the same time characterized by his specifically muscular, deliberately “manly” body language—and so goes for the rest of the parts. On the other hand, putting on the sleeve a certain way may create Rosalind’s one-shouldered dress, while a second later the same sleeve on the head  the fool stands for his hat, and hence, prompts recognizing Touchstone and his also deliberately “obvious” body language. This is quite a tour de force, but it never confusing to the spectator.

These tokens emphasize the power of disguise, enhancing the confusion in the play and complicating the questions Ganymede’s disguise throws over gender. Apart from the clothes, each character makes a bold, distinctive gesture. These corporal cues show the body as a costume in itself: a finger held up to the mouth for Celia/Aliena, weight thrown back for Duke Senior, hands on the hip for Phoebe… The constant exchange of roles emphasizes the lack of a concrete individuality and the fluid quality of identity. This attention to the body also highlights sensuality.

The actors constantly dance to live music influenced both by Medieval and Renaissance styles; characters meetings develop through these choreographies. Songs add to the pastoral and festive mood of the forest. Most choreography plays with the double, the triple and the crowd; men and women enjoy mirroring each other. The interaction of homosexual and heterosexual couples turns the production into a kaleidoscope in which the audience is forced to reevaluate the concept of identity, love, sexuality and gender. In the end, the wedded couples dissolve and each player turns back to the early part but also to a new fancy, demonstrating that nothing is fixed.

 

como-te-guste-02como-te-guste-03    como-te-guste-01

Type: stage

Year: 2002

Director: Mauricio García Lozano

Play: As You Like It

Language: Spanish

Venue: Teatro El Granero, Centro Cultural del Bosque; Mexico City, Mexico

 

Direction: Mauricio García Lozano

Adaptation: José Ramón Enríquez (from undisclosed translation)

Music: Horacio Uribe

Coregraphy: Juan Carlos Vives

Set Design: Jorge Ballina

Costume Design: Jerildy Bosch

Lighting Design: Víctor Zapatero

 

Cast:

Miguel Ángel Barrera

Humberto Busto

Yuriria del Valle

Grisele Hernández

Héctor Kotsifakis

Angélica Lara

Anais Rangel

Marisa Rubio

Mayahuel Tecozautla

 

Musicians:

Bozens Slawinska and Ina Velasco- cello

Raúl Zambrano-guitar

Gabriela Méndez-flute

Rita Sumano-viola

Omar Durán-drums

 

Season: December 10, 2001 to February 3, 2002

Reviews:

El Universal:

http://www2.eluniversal.com.mx/pls/impreso/noticia.html?id_nota=20340&tabla=cultura

La Jornada, several reviews:

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2002/01/10/05an1cul.html

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2002/01/10/05aa1cul.html

Jornada semanal:

Part I http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2002/04/21/sem-columnas.html

Part II http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2002/05/05/sem-columnas.html

 

El vano afán del amor (Love’s Labor’s Lost)

Caballero, José 2000

Director José Caballero takes Love’s Labor’s Lost to the beach.

The pier, a wide-open sky, a multifunctional scaffold, fishing nets and beach towels set up this seaside Navarre. The flamboyant beachwear completes the nostalgic picture of a popular vacation venue. The robes in the beginning make the King and his court look like monks, yet underneath they wear shorts, striped shirts and Panama hats. The ladies wear glamorous 1950’s swimsuits with dress robes and matching hats that mock the gowns associated with princesses. The rest of the characters wear fisherman’s clothes, a sailor’s uniform, turn-of-the-century male swimsuits; Don Armado looks like a conquistador. His page, Mote, resembles characters from very popular Mexican sitcoms. His songs are also influenced by the traditional music from the coast of the state of Guerrero.

Such details bring the play closer to the Mexican audience. Alfredo Michel Modenessi keeps the audacious and ornamented language of the play and seasons it with distinct Mexican rhythms of speech and inflections. This bold Mexican flavor is particularly important for Cabezón/Costard and Mote. His adaptation also fuses the characters Dumain and Longaville into one “Dumainville”, and Maria and Katharine into simply “Maria”, thus reducing the play’s couples from four to three, with all necessary adjustments in key scenes. Perhaps the cleverest move is his creation of the character “Mercedes” who disguises as “Boyet”, and plays his part, only to be found out to be a woman near the end, with the ensuing complications. “Mercedes” also plays the lines of Marcadé.

Sunbathing and volleyball games serve as a backdrop for the elaborated game of playing at being in love. Signs of this love, letters and compliments, keep getting mixed up. Conventions do not seem to flourish in this tropical beach; rules are constantly evaded and exceptions prevail. Sophisticated and pretentious language confronts mockery and covered-up feelings that highlights the dangers that lurk behind an attempt to ignore the body and live solely on words.

The stylized transactions of love contrast with the jovial setting of the beach. The artificiality of the Muscovite’s masque stands out ridiculously in this tropical setting. The rowdy puppets used for the Nine Whorties make evident the undergoing double-entendres of the play. The blatant comedy is stopped by the dark news that announces how the real world and its demands cannot be kept at bay for long even in the idyllic seaside.

 

Type: stage

Year: 2000

Director: José Caballero

Play: Love’s Labor’s Lost

Language: Spanish

Venue: Teatro Ciudadela, Mexico City, Mexico

 

Direction: José Caballero

Translation and adaptation: Alfredo Michel Modenessi

Music: Alberto Rosas

Coreography: Nora Helene Manneck

Set Design: Arturo Nava

Costume Design: Cristina Sauza

Lighting Design: Arturo Nava

 

Cast:

Irving Corral-Fernando, Rey de Navarra

Everardo Arzate-Berowne

Raymundo Pastor-Dumainville

Daniel Rivera-Armado

Mariana García Franco-Mote

Edson Martínez-Chato (Dull)

Héctor Holten-Cabezón (Costard)

Mónica Jiménez-Holofernes

Javier Guardado-Natanael

Patricia Marmero-Mercedes/Marcade

Ana Ligia García-Princesa

Olga González-Rosalina

Carmen Trejo-María

Milleth del Carmen Gómez-Inmaculada Concepción (Jacquenetta)

 

Season start: May 22, 2000

 

Reviews:

Newspaper La Jornada:

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2000/05/18/harmony.html

 

Hamlet P’urhépecha

Arvide, Juan Carlos 1990 | 2 Comments

The translation and performance of Hamlet in the P’urhepecha language—still used by the native pre-Columbian ethnic group of the same name from the mid-west of what is now Mexico—is a fascinating example of how Shakespeare’s works can find its place and meaning in a culture that is radically different from that which produced them. The works of William Shakespeare have been staged in Mexico since the early Nineteenth Century. For instance, Hamlet was first staged in 1821, the year Mexico finally became independent from Spain. However, even nowadays, Shakespearean productions in Mexico sometimes rely on translations made in Spain, forcing performers and audiences to deal with a specific variety of a shared language that is not entirely their own. Read More

Macbeth

Rodríguez, Jesusa 2002

In her production of Macbeth, director Jesusa Rodríguez—a prolific Mexican artist, playwright and activist—links the play with several debates and fears of our time. This performance, intense and daring from the onset—although also very uneven, often pointlessly strident—opens with the lines “Macbeth has murdered sleep”. Insomnia and nightmares will become a central theme throughout the production: we see Lady Macbeth taking sleep pills, while Macbeth turns on the T. V. during the night. Three maids, who are later revealed to be the Weird Sisters, clean the bedroom of the couple and polish Macbeth’s shoes frantically, as if they intended to leave everything spotlessly clean, echoing Lady Macbeth’s obsession. Read More

Ricardo 2 (Richard II)

Singer, Enrique 1996

In 1996 Director Enrique Singer—in charge of Teatro UNAM since 2008—brought a history play to the Mexican stage, which by then had seldom hosted any other but Richard III. The text is pared down to quite a short adaptation. The set is almost bare and dark. The floor’s uneven levels create a stairway with really large square platforms that, among other things, convey in visual terms the notion of subordination to the king, as well as the ascent and descent of rulers and politicians. Read More