“Por eso nos afectan tanto los recuerdos, las fechas, los días

de cumpleaños, los nacimientos y las despedidas.

Algo de nosotros se queda en los calendarios sin uso,

tal vez para continuar aquella tradición temprana

de coleccionar tarjetas postales.”

Carlos Giménez


STAGE: 'EL RENIDERO,' ELECTRA FROM ARGENTINA / By D. J. R. Bruckner, August 4, 1987, The New York Times

And Carlos Gimenez's direction makes the complicated plot admirably clear as the story moves in and out of remembrances of different characters

ELECTRA may have seduced more writers than any other literary heroine. The figure in Greek mythology who tests the fate of human beings crushed between inexorable duty and immovable law has turned up in stories, poems and plays in many guises in every European language repeatedly for more than two millennia.
In ''El Renidero'' (''The Cockpit'') by the Argentine playwright Sergio De Cecco, she is Elena, the daughter of a puny political hoodlum in a Buenos Aires slum at the turn of the century. Her father, Pancho Morales, has been killed in a duel by his friend Santiago Soriano, who is her mother's lover. Elena is convinced Soriano simply murdered him and determines to inspire her brother, Orestes, to take vengeance.
But Mr. De Cecco is exploring fate in a political world far from ancient Greece - a barrio where gauchos displaced from the countryside in an industrialized country are victims of ruthless politicians and their own rigid, macho ethic. In the darkly spectacular performance given the play by La Comedia Cordobesa, a company from the Argentine province of Cordoba, as part of Festival Latino at the Public Theater, the bloody reality of that world twists the old story into fascinating shapes. Indeed, on the whole, the performance outstrips the play.
Against superbly lighted white, gray and black sets that mix wood, metal, mirrors and sand into a series of abstract impressionist pictures, the characters move like figures in a dance. Their speech (the performance is in Spanish with simultaneous translation provided through infrared earphones), the music of guitar and bandoleon, the soaring songs of a rich soprano whose lyrics counterpoint the dialogue - all draw the viewer so deeply into this barrio that he shares the characters' belief that it is the only world, inescapable and unchangeable.
And Carlos Gimenez's direction makes the complicated plot admirably clear as the story moves in and out of remembrances of different characters. The test of his success is that when Pancho, who has been only a memory throughout, becomes the irresistible catalyst of the final tragedy, he triumphs over sanity and hope because he is more real than any of the living. For the audience, the trip from stifling reality to murderous illusion has been straight and swift.
Mr. De Cecco's poetic gifts sometimes betray him; he casts a mythic light on every incident, even though some of his incidents cannot stand such illumination. Mother and son, and father and daughter, come to know themselves and one another in chilling, alarming ways that would be truly tragic except that too often their knowledge has little effect on their actions. And his flirtations with melodrama are sometimes too tempting for the actors to resist. In this performance there are moments of grandeur, and grandiloquence, that beg for a little laugh - which is all it would take to destroy this play. 
DUTY AND LAW EL RENIDERO, by Sergio De Cecco; directed by Carlos Gimenez; assistant director, Roberto Stopello; translation by Jack Agueros; lighting by Francisco Sarmiento; sets and costumes by Rafael Reyeros; music by Daniel Lopez. Presented by Joseph Papp. At the Public/LuEsther. Elena Morales ... Beatriz Angelotti Orestes Morales ... Alvin Astorga Nelida Morales ... Adelina Constantini Pancho Morales ... Aristides Manira Santiago Soriano ... Enrique Introini Lala ... Azucena Carmona Trapero ... Angel Fernandez Mateu Delegado ... Jorge Aran Vicente ... Osvaldo Hueghes Teresa ... Edith Rivero Vieja ... Elena Dura Voz ... Liliana Rodriguez
Photo of Beatriz Angelotti in ''El Renidero'' (''The Cockpit'') (Miguel Rajmil).

By D. J. R. Bruckner

August 4, 1987

The New York Times


The New York Times

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