×

Diciembre

The Santiago, Chile-based Teatro en el Blanco ("Theater on Target") is certainly not coy about flaunting its agenda.

With:
Jorge - Jorge Becker Reyes Trinidad - Trinidad Gonzalez Paula - Paula Zuniga

The Santiago, Chile-based Teatro en el Blanco (“Theater on Target”) is certainly not coy about flaunting its agenda. During the course of a relentlessly combative, yet highly comedic display of sibling confrontation, the chaotic political history of Chile and its South American neighbors is emphatically skewered and dissected. Serving as an emotionally raw conduit to centuries of acquired social angst, scripter-helmer Guillermo Calderon and a vocally dynamic three-member ensemble bombard such issues as racism, protectionism and patriotism. The translated dialogue of “Diciembre” is projected in English supertitles that do not adequately communicate the interactive flow of these captivating onstage protagonists.

Set in a futuristic Christmas Eve 2014, the action focuses on Jorge (Jorge Becker Reyes), an ambivalent young soldier on leave from a fictional border war between Chile and Peru. The supposed one-day holiday turns into an agenda-driven battleground, dictated by the opposing mandates of Jorge’s older, pregnant twin sisters, Trinidad (Trinidad Gonzalez), a pacifist who opposes the war, and the ultra militant nationalist Paula (Paula Zuniga) who applauds the fighting.

Calderon’s dialogue is as witty as it is bleakly pessimistic. Raging through such historic and contemporary Chilean crises as the festering memory of a century’s-old war with Bolivia, the reputed crimes of former Peruvian President Fujimori, and the racial/ethnic tensions caused by the increasing immigration of darker-skinned natives from Peru, Calderon offers a jaundiced indictment of the capabilities and culpability of governments, while applauding the resiliency of the Chilean populace.

The Santiago, Chile-based Teatro en el Blanco (Theater on Target) is certainly not coy about flaunting its agenda. During the course of a relentlessly combative, yet highly comedic display of sibling confrontation, the chaotic political history of Chile and its South American neighbors is emphatically skewered and dissected. Serving as an emotionally raw conduit to centuries of acquired social angst, scripter-helmer Guillermo Calderon and a vocally dynamic three-member ensemble bombard such issues as racism, protectionism and patriotism. The translated dialogue of “Diciembre” is projected in English supertitles that do not adequately communicate the interactive flow of these captivating onstage protagonists.

Set in Christmas Eve 2014, the action focuses on Jorge (Jorge Becker), an ambivalent young soldier on leave from a fictional border war between Chile and Peru. The supposed one-day holiday turns into an agenda-driven battleground, dictated by the opposing mandates of Jorge’s older, pregnant twin sisters, Trinidad (Trinidad Gonzalez), a pacifist who opposes the war, and the ultra-militant nationalist Paula (Paula Zuniga) who applauds the fighting.

Calderon’s dialogue is as witty as it is bleakly pessimistic. Raging through such historic and contemporary Chilean crises as the festering memory of a century’s-old war with Bolivia, the reputed crimes of former Peruvian President Fujimori, and the racial/ethnic tensions caused by the increasing immigration of darker-skinned natives from Peru, Calderon offers a jaundiced indictment of the capabilities and culpability of governments, while applauding the resiliency of the Chilean populace.

Performing on a bare-bones but adequate touring set, the ensemble evokes the veracity of family members who have warred against and loved each other all their lives. As the dueling twins, Gonzalez’s Trinidad and Zuniga’s Paula thrash at each other through reams of logic, prejudice and fatalistic humor.

Gonzalez offers an emotionally measured, multilayered portrayal of an antiwar activist who uses her innate wit, hoping to cajole her brother into defecting. Zuniga is fascinating as the motor-mouthed militant who attempts to verbally ramrod both her sister and brother into submission.

Becker’s Jorge exudes a perfect balance of low-keyed, noncommittal neutrality, all the while offering hints of character and resolve, heretofore unrevealed to his sisters. He impressively voices Calderon’s evolving observations on racism and the complicated divide between nationalism and pacifism.

“Diciembre” is part of a Calderon trilogy of social indictment legit fare that includes “Neva,” set in 1905 prerevolutionary Russia, and “Class,” a chronicle of a recent Chilean students’ strike.

Diciembre

REDCAT at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles; 200 Seats; $25

Production: A REDCAT, in association with Festival Santiago a Mil, presentation of a play in one act, written and directed by Guillermo Calderon; English translation by Harley Erdman.

Crew: Sets and concept design, Teatro en el Blanco; lighting/technical, Jose Tomas Gonzalez. Presented in Spanish with English supertitles. Opened and reviewed, Feb. 24; closes Feb. 27. Running time: 1 HR, 30 MIN.

Cast: Jorge - Jorge Becker Reyes Trinidad - Trinidad Gonzalez Paula - Paula Zuniga

More Scene

  • David Crosby

    David Crosby Says New Documentary 'Remember My Name' Is Like 'Being Naked in Public’

    “It’s not easy. It’s hard being naked in public,” David Crosby, the legendary troubadour of classic rock, reflected at Tuesday night’s New York City premiere of “David Crosby: Remember My Name.” “I don’t know what to do here. There’s no guitars, no drums,” he laughed. Directed by newcomer A.J. Eaton and produced by the legendary [...]

  • The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con

    The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con Parties and Activations

    Hollywood is heading down the California coast to San Diego because It’s time for 2019 Comic-Con International. The annual cosplay celebration officially kicks off tomorrow, July 18, with a preview happening tonight. Here, Variety gives you a guide to this year’s parties and activations. Make sure to check back for updates. Wednesday, July 17Amazon Prime [...]

  • Sir Elton John, David Furnish. Sir

    New Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala to be Held in the South of France

    Elton John and David Furnish are launching a new gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The two will host the inaugural A Midsummer Party benefit on July 24 in the south of France at the Johnny Pigozzi’s private estate, Villa Dorane, in Cap d’Antibes. A cocktail reception will be followed by dinner, a live [...]

  • Dwayne Johnson Idris Elba

    Dwayne Johnson: Idris Elba Nixed 'Black James Bond' Joke in 'Hobbs & Shaw'

    In the “Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw,” the movie’s villain Brixton, played by Idris Elba, spreads his arms out wide and declares “I’m black Superman.” It turns out that might not have been the original line. Dwayne Johnson tells Variety that Elba was first asked to proclaim he’s “black James Bond,” but the [...]

  • Matteo BocelliAmerican Icon Awards Gala, Inside,

    Top Music Manager Calls Out American Icon Awards for Failing to Pay Talent

    The centuries-old adage no good deed goes unpunished is a common refrain for star music manager Scott Rodger of late. Rodger, who represents Paul McCartney and Andrea Bocelli at Maverick, says his client Matteo Bocelli, the son of the opera star, was stiffed out of promised expense reimbursement by the American Icon Awards. The event, [...]

  • Mary Bailey Steve D'Angelo, Jim Belushi

    Cannabis Industry Tackles Justice Reform With 'Last Prisoner Project'

    Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk — and success — hanging [...]

  • Dwayne Wade holds up the legend

    Dwyane Wade, Megan Rapinoe Win Big at 2019 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards

    The 2019 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards was filled with incredible athletes, inspiring moments and — of course — a massive amount of slime. “I love the kids. I love the slime. I loved the games. I love seeing celebrities and athletes like become kids again. And it’s like my favorite thing,” Michael Strahan told [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content