The People of Stephen is an adaptation of two short stories by Gabriel García Márquez: The most beautiful drowned man in the world And The sea of lost time.
It is not a literal reading of the stories, but to take up again spaces, environments, themes and characters that evoke the magical realism own of the author and of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
A open structure, fragmented - figures and characters that narrate, evoke And represent inside the dream- allows the recovery of moments in the life of a people in which diverse myths and traditions converge: from Moby Dick and the Pirates of the Caribbean to elements of pagan and Christian religiosity present in the Latin American Altars and Retablos. From the Retablo, the characters speak, dream, evoke a word or a gesture from their history: the story turns each time, illuminating a different point or angle of history. That is why the sense of time and space does not correspond to a logical-causal order of facts: it is a mythical time and space, bewitchedas a kaleidoscope where everything is possible in the memory and every action discovers an excerpt of memory brought by the dream.
The result is the assembly of a Live theatre exercisea Altarpiece in movement, or the space-time in which a group of actors took possession of the magic of the story and converted Stephen's village in the everyone's dream.
By Baltasar Santiago Martín
El Ingenio Teatro, in collaboration with Centro Mater, presented the theatrical work Esteban's village, an adaptation by Raquel Carrió of two stories by Gabriel García Márquez: The most beautiful drowned man in the world And The sea of lost time, on 9 and 10 October, at the Artefactus Cultural Project, as part of the IV OPEN ARTS FEST MIAMI 2021.
On Sunday 10 October I had the pleasure of seeing this production, and the first thing that captivated me, even before it began, was its scenography - being open curtain - which reminded me of the traditional and evocative Altars of the Dead that I appreciated so much during the six years I lived in Querétaro, and which, once the play had begun, I believe continued to function as that Latin American village full of alebrijes and exuberant handicrafts whose colourfulness, paradoxically, blends perfectly with the greyness and solemnity of a Museum of the Dead - which there is in San Juan del Río, and which I even visited.
That is why I believe that the first virtue of Stephen's village is its authenticity, for what it encloses, envelops and evokes in the spectator; delving into an essence that is latent in every Hispanic - or underlies their collective imagination - even if they live in Manhattan; in short, it saves itself from being a simple folkloric pastiche without dramatic depth.
And speaking of the drama that all that scenography, so praised by me, wraps and fits, if the six participating actors had not truly "submerged" themselves without hesitation in that "sea", all their effort would have been a real "lost time", but all, without exception, entered into a trance with their characters, absolutely all of them: Alfredo Martínez, Carmen Olivares, Zaho Hernández, Ivanesa Cabrera, Vivian Morales and Simone Balmaseda, with the refreshing and hopeful appearance of the children Joshua and Justin Solórzano, Isaac Henríquez, Madison Flores, Isabella and Dafne Fuentes, whose inclusion I consider another great virtue of Raquel's adaptation and Lilliam Vega's successful and magnificent direction.
I wouldn't be forgiven if I didn't talk now about the soundtrack, which would have gone unnoticed if it had been so appropriate, as sometimes happens in great films, but in this case it is impossible, because the original music by Héctor Agüero is another essential "actress" in this work, And I even commented to Lilliam that the song of the same name, both for the music, the lyrics and Jorge Morejón's exquisite interpretation, seemed to me to be a happy symbiosis of Silvio Rodríguez and Mike Porcel, ignoring the negative aspects of the former and celebrating the virtues of Mike, fortunately, which are still in force.
As nothing is superfluous in theatre, I give the maximum to Milaydis Martínez, for the make-up; to Rubén Romeu for the "choreographic displacements" of the actors; to the quality of the sound by Mateo Cano; to the perfect lighting by Eddy Díaz Sousa - the undisputed Mecenas of all this marvel -, and to Loipa Alonso for the impeccable production.
Hialeah, Saturday 23 October 2021.