A: Griselda Gambaro Pf: No Argentinian production (premiered 1978 in Spain) Pb: 1975 (in Italian trans.); 1987 (in Spanish) Tr: 1989 G: Drama in 20 scenes; Spanish prose and some free verse S: Spacious residential house, Argentina, 1971 C:c.50m, 15f, childrenA Guide or Guides lead the spectators from room to room in a house. A Girl drenched in cold water is observed by a Man (is he an interrogator!). A Coordinator shows how learning can be accelerated by administering increasingly severe electric shocks for wrong answers. When the Pupil associates prison with nation, the strength of the resulting shock kills him. A Father and Mother discuss the cases of two ‘disappeared’, a lawyer and his client. Another man is set upon by thugs. A Mother and Father are arrested in front of their children. Sacks are prepared for them, but the children are let go: ‘We don't have any small sacks.’ A lawyer resists kidnap. When angry neighbours call the police, it turns out that the kidnappers are police themselves. A man from the audience steps forward and murders a Girl by suffocating her. Her distraught Husband and Mother come looking for her. A married couple are kidnapped. She loses a shoe, and the police order a doorman to clean up the blood. Police interrupt a performance of Othello. A children's game erupts into violence. Guards dress prisoners handcuffed to the wall in women's underwear and jewellery. A man is attacked, while Prostitutes sing and dance.
A: Griselda Gambaro Pf: No Argentinian production (premiered 1978 in Spain) Pb: 1975 (in Italian trans.); 1987 (in Spanish) Tr: 1989 G: Drama in 20 scenes; Spanish prose and some free verse S: Spacious residential house, Argentina, 1971 C:c.50m, 15f, children
The ‘information for foreigners’, read out by the Guides, comprises a number of news items about political kidnappings, torture, and assault in Argentina (which is why the play remains unperformed in her homeland). Gambaro is nevertheless the most internationally performed Latin American playwright, who explores innovative styles, here a promenade performance round a house, the audience experiencing something of the disorientation of those wrenched from their normal existence, as each room reveals a moment of oppression, like a series of mini-dramas.