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By Ana Elena Puga

Reminiscence, Allegory, and Testimony in South American Theater traces the shaping of a resistant id in reminiscence, its direct expression in testimony, and its oblique elaboration in other kinds of allegory. each one bankruptcy focuses on one modern playwright (or one collaborative crew, on the subject of Brazil) from each one of 4 Southern Cone international locations and compares the playwrights’ aesthetic concepts for subverting ideologies of dictatorship: Carlos Manuel Varela (memory in Uruguay), Juan Radrig?n (testimony in Chile), Augusto Boal and his co-author Gianfrancesco Guarnieri (historical allegory in Brazil), Griselda Gambaro (abstract allegory in Argentina).

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Extra info for Memory, Allegory, and Testimony in South American Theater: Upstaging Dictatorship (Routledge Advances in Theatre and Performance Studies)

Sample text

In the present, memories are formed and make sense, and there they compete for the coveted role of shaping the future. The stage, then, becomes a living canvas upon which the contested past can be re-presented and assessed from new perspectives, and where futures can be imagined, envisioned, and rehearsed. (402) Varela’s theater reconfigures material from the past in order to construct memories. This process of memory-building is well captured by the common Spanish-language expression “hacer memoria,” literally “to make memory,” as in “Voy a hacer memoria” [I’m going to make memory], uttered as one attempts to recollect.

Embedded in the joke about Clotilde’s blunder may be a second joke, between Varela and his audience, about the stupidity of censors who persecute the innocent and sometimes miss the “guilty,” such as the playwright, who at the height of the dictatorship manages to stage a condemnation of apathy to political repression and an exhortation to cultivate speech and memory. The omnipresent danger of the production being censored or shut down, however, made it necessary for the message urging cautious resistance to itself be delivered with caution.

Though it might have been more powerful for Clotilde to urge the audience to fight and to say “no,” it might also have been, from an aesthetic point of view, too obvious, and from a pragmatic perspective, too likely to trigger censors. The message’s import is disguised by directing it to a “safer” recipient. Besides taxing the spectator’s memory, then, the play also asks that the spectators use their imaginations to fill in the purposeful gaps in the text.

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