Theater as an exercise in memory Aristide Vargas cycle in Rosario

The presence in Rosario of actor, playwright and director Aristidis Vargas is an event for the theater sector and the city. The cycle, which he considers his protagonist – and organized by Cooperativa Los Titiriteros Ltda., Under the auspices of the delegation of Rosario, the Argentine Actors Association, Provincial AMSAFE, CTA of Workers and the Ministry of Culture of Santa Fe – began yesterday with How Lazarus Lazaril died and rose again; continues today with The age of the plumdirected by Christian Alvarez (at 9 pm at the La Toma Cultural Center, Tucumán 1349), and tomorrow with Instructions for embracing the air, played and directed by Vargas and Charo Frances (at 7 pm at the Teatro Municipal La Comedia, Miter 958). At the same time, Vargas and Frances will complete their respective seminars on drama and acting at the Lavardén platform today.

For Aristides Vargas, born in Cordoba but living in Mendoza, the theater was the window that opened his life to other worlds, an opening through which he had to go into exile during the last military dictatorship. In Ecuador, he met actress Charo Frances, his wife; with her and other artists, they created the Malayerba Theater Group, whose works toured Latin America. Today Vargas and Frances are in Rosario and as he says Rosario / 12: “For us, this is a joy, because it is an opportunity for my drama and the work we do to be known a little more. It is always important to appear even more in these times so that people can meet and be challenged by a play.

-I remember one of your expressions: “Hust returned the theater to the people”; perhaps today this will find even more urgent consideration.

-I think that after what we experienced, both in the pandemic and in what we are experiencing worldwide, with the unleashing of this unusual violence through war, it makes people feel the need to meet and experience close experiences. We come from a rather individualistic world, surrounded by media, by technology, a world that presupposes subjective requirements. Right now we need a more sense of community, and the theater is special. This is a social gathering, and in some cases a party.

Credit: Guillermo Torino Butelo.

-Maybe it will give us the missing pieces, the ones from the puzzle of empty spaces; I say this because of the last dictatorship and the missing, and because of the way their dialogue in exile works.

-The theater brings us back or reintegrates us with certain lost spaces, through the exercise of imagination. I have written several works on exile, but there is one, Virgin Mary from the clouds, which is the meeting between two people in different times of exile, in these meetings they rebuild a city called the Virgin Mary of the Clouds; the play’s thesis is that if there are gaps in your life or in our lives, the theater repairs them in an imaginary way. Theater is the meeting with memory, with absence, with those who are not. This connection makes it an exceptional art, especially in modern times, where many times our relationships are mediated by machines. The theater is a first-hand meeting, this inaccurate but at the same time necessary reconstruction of memory.

– I allow myself to connect him with the work he presents tomorrow, Instructions for embracing the air.

-This is a work I wrote based on the conversations we had between Charo Frances, the actress, companion and wife I live with, and Uncle Mariani. I already knew the house on Calle 30, in La Plata. This house published a magazine from those years about the militancy and youth of the Peronists, which was Avoid Montonera. When I saw the house, I was shocked because it immediately connected me with the past, I was so shocked by what happened there that I decided to write. After a series of coincidences, a friend told me that she knew Chicha, the grandmother of the missing girl, who had been robbed on 30th Street, and Chicha sent me to call me, telling me she wanted to hear the story from her. Of course, this is not a job that reconstructs the facts, even when it does. I call it a fictional poetic exercise because it’s like a poem that tells facts that, if you’re informed, you understand what you’re talking about. There are three levels, two adults talking on one, two chefs on another and two neighbors on another. They talk about the house all the time. The peculiarity is that it was made for a spectator who is Uncle Mariani. In fact, when we did the first show, he was at her house in La Plata, with three or four friends she had invited. By then, the work was completed, because that presentation was over. And it was a presentation that lasted a long time, two or three hours, because we stopped when Uncle was very upset by what we were saying, talking, and she told us, “Now I want you to go on,” and we went on. It was such an intense performance that I understood what the Greeks called catharsis, because it was really catharsis, an exercise of an emotional, social and ideological nature, where life was condensed in a tragic, poetic and beautiful way; somehow after the show we felt that something had healed in us.

With the death of Uncle Mariani in 2018, Vargas and Frances decided not to play the play again, “but several compañeras and compañeros told us that we must continue because the search for Clara Anahi Mariani continues, as well as that of missing children during the horrific period of the Argentine dictatorship ”. As Aristides Vargas himself explains, “this world of my works may seem bleak, but on the contrary, there are many humorous elements, many elements that make life also shaped by laughter, meetings and celebration. In fact, one of the things Uncle Mariani told us at the end of the play was “this play would entertain my children a lot,” and that’s essential to me. Diversity in the Brechtian sense, intelligent, is what makes us think about our lives and our ethics in the community. ”

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