LA RAZON BLINDADA
The Downey Theater
Opens: September 9, 2017
Closes: October 15, 2017
This sublimely witty and provocative play, written and directed by Argentine playwright Arístides Vargas, was triply inspired by the classic novel “El Quixote” by Cervantes, “The Truth About Sancho Panza” by Franz Kafka, and testimonies from Chicho Vargas and other political prisoners held in Rawson Prison during Argentina’s “Dirty War” of the 1970s. Jesus Castaños Chima and Tony Durán reprise their roles as political prisoners who are allowed to interact with one another for one hour a week — but must remain in their chairs and never stand. As they entertain each other with stories of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, we witness the power of theater to transport them, and us, into the realm of the imagination, despite repressive conditions and even as we remain bound to our seats. Winner of the 2011 LA Weekly “Production of the Year” award, the 24th Street production has toured around the U.S. as well as to Mexico City, Culiacan, Baja Mexico, San Salvador, Colombia and Ecuador. Appropriate for ages 14+. Presented in Spanish with English supertitles. Sept 9 through Oct. 15: Saturdays at 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.; 24th Street Theatre, 1117 West 24th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007; $10-$24; 213-745-6516 or go to www.24thstreet.org
"POWERFUL… stylized performances, heightened language, philosophical concerns… spurs the theatrical imagination."
"A DAZZLING ACHIEVEMENT…extravagantly theatrical… as staggering in its execution as it is praiseworthy in its intentions."
"REMARKABLE… a delicate balancing act between the brutal repression of the prisoners’ reality and the total abandon and joy of the moments of storytelling."
"The play is closed to 90 minutes, and for the first 60 I was hurled through their fantasy, letting my mind cruise along with theirs, saddened by their plight, but entertained by their antics of denial. For the last part of the play, the dialogue slows a bit, stark reality comes back, and my state of mind and emotions descended with them back to reality and despair. I was so overcome I could not speak and literally had to go to the restroom for a few deep breaths in order to come back to the lobby and chat a bit, as well as enjoy homemade tamales made by the grandmother of one of the young people working with the theater."
"The allusion to a fine dining experience is no accident: the presentation was exceptional, the service of the actors was impeccable, and the prolific writer/director had me ruminating and digesting a serious social issue without being left with a bad taste in my mouth. La Razón Blindada is an exceptional achievement which reminds me why I hold theater as a preeminent art form."
"Vargas’ direction is emotionally full, as can be understood from the nature of the material. Hope, despair, rage; there is not a base he leaves untouched as he gives form to the explosion on stage. He also brings forth that savior of mankind: laughter. La Razón Blindada achieves many things on stage, it is disturbing, hopeful, insightful but more than anything else, it is staggeringly funny. I cannot recall a show where physical comedy has been so prominent to the story or as superbly performed."
"CRITIC’S CHOICE… HALLUCINATORY, TRANCE-ENDUCING, SURREAL… A sharply political play about the nature of tyranny and the human imperative for connection."