Nuestra Señora de las Nubes
April 5-6, 7:00 p.m.
April 7, 3:00pm, 7:00pm
The Adams Pool Theatre
Directed by Enzo E. Vasquez Toral ’14
Produced by Rebecca F. Elliott ’14
Students at Harvard are rarely exposed to artistic enterprises that are not in English, and it is always interesting when one of these works is brought to campus. In this light, the latest production by TEATRO!, a Spanish-language theater company that promotes Latin American drama on campus, promises to be a refreshing break from the norm. They will bring Aristides Vargas’ play “Nuestra Señora de las Nubes”—which in Spanish means ”Our Lady of the Clouds”—to the Adams Pool Theatre on April 5.
Directed by Enzo E. Vasquez Toral '14, “Nuestra Señora” revolves around two political exiles with a shared past, Bruna (Vanessa D. L. C. Martinez '15) and Oscar (Adrian Arteaga '14), who one day find each other in an unspecified Latin American country. “Nuestra Señora” features themes characteristic of Latin American art such as corruption and male hegemony, and these tropes will be accentuated in Toral’s production in interesting ways. For example, the show employs cross-dressing as a means of providing a broad critique of the socio-political conditions of the little town that serves as the show’s backdrop. By keeping genders in flux, not only does Toral unfetter tyranny from its exclusively male connotation—which is how it is usually portrayed in art—but he also attempts to distill it in its purest form through an exploration of its true meaning.
Aristides Vargas is the director of a politically active theater called Malayerba in Quito—the capital of Ecuador—which specializes in theater that is critical of the Ecuadorian government. Just like Vargas, Toral believes that art is important in generating political discussion in its audience, and he hopes that his production will be able to heighten his fellow students’ sensibilities about Latin American politics. “People tend to think that the political situation in Latin America is really bad, and should not be talked about,” says Toral. “With my play, I want to show them a different angle of Latin American politics.”
The cast has taken special measures to make sure the play is comprehensible for audience members who don’t speak Spanish. “We really tried amplify the characters, and make them big,” says assistant director Miriam E. Psychas ’13, who also plays the part of Hermano 1. Toral says the play’s language actually encourages the cast to give more emphatic, bodily dynamic performances. “In Spanish, words have more power,” he says.