GALA Hispanic Theatre in Washington, D.C., open their 1999-2000 season with the U.S. premiere of the provocative La Granada ("The Hand Grenade") by Argentinean playwright Rodolfo Walsh. The show opens Sept. 23 and runs through Oct. 24, with Press Night and Noche de Gala scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 25.
In Walsh's satire, Private Gutierrez (played by GALA newcomer Jaime Carrillo) becomes a dangerous human explosive when he inadvertently presses the detonation button of a powerful new grenade, which will explode if he lifts his finger.
New York-based actor/director Jose Carrasquillo will direct. (From 1996 1998, Carrasquillo served as artistic director of The Group Theatre in Seattle, where he directed the world premiere of Carlos Murrillo's Never Whistle While You're Pissing and Chay Yew's A Language of Their Own.) Although one actor served per role in the original production of La Granada in Buenos Aires in 1965, Carrasquillo has chosen to double cast here. GALA's producing artistic director Hugo Medrano plays Gutierrez's father, as well as a lieutenant who thinks the private is faking; Luciana Donato plays a major who is an explosive's expert, and a colonel; Luis Caram plays Gutierrez's captain and the sergeant who discovers his plight during the war games; Vera Soltero plays his girlfriend and mother; and Carlos Castillo plays his best friend and all the other characters.
In addition to La Granada, Walsh wrote La Batalla ("The Battle") and Peligro, Seduccion ("Danger, Seduction"). A respected journalist, he was Founding Editor of Prensa Latina, a daily newspaper in Buenos Aires. Walsh's narrative style is illustrated by his courageous open letter to the military, written six months after his daughter was killed fighting as a guerilla during the junta rule in Argentina (1976-1983). Shortly after his letter was published in March 1977, Walsh became one of "los desaparecidos," "the disappeared."
The Set Design for La Granada is by 1999 Helen Hayes Award recipient Tony Cisek, with sound design by Ron Oshima, lights by resident designer Ayun Fedorcha and costumes by resident designer Alessandra D'Ovidio. La Granada will be presented in Spanish with simultaneous English interpretation, on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM and Sunday matinees at 4 PM, at GALA, 1625 Park Road, N.W., Washington, D.C. For further information, call (202) 234-7174. GALA maintains a bilingual web page at www.galadc.org.
GALA Hispanic--"a theatre with a different accent"--was founded in 1976 by producing artistic director Medrano to preserve and promote Hispanic culture in the U.S. and share Hispanic culture through the presentation of bilingual theatre. GALA's upcoming season also includes:
Dos Mil/Neruda 2000 (Nov. 18-Dec. 19, 1999) by Chilean Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda, directed by Abel Lopez. Written in 1945, the prophetic poem "Dos Mil" envisions a new century where hope is tempered by caution, and admiration for man's scientific prowess raises questions about the human condition. In this U.S. premiere, actors will perform the poetry with choreography, set to music composed for GALA by Miguel Cordova (director of the Chacabuco Chamber Ensemble).
El Burlador de Sevilla y Convidado de Piedra ("Don Juan of Seville or The Trickster of Seville" and A Stone Guest) (Feb. 17 April 2, 2000) by Tirso de Molina, directed by Hugo Medrano. A comic reconsideration of the famous (or is it infamous?) Latin lover, from a master dramatist of Spain's Golden Age.
Mar Nuestro ("Our Sea") (U.S. premiere; April 20-May 21, 2000) by Alberto Pedro Torriente, a distinguished representative of the controversial new Cuban dramaturgy, directed by Max Ferra. (Also under consideration: Dos Viejos Panicos by Virgilio Pinera) As three Cuban women set off on a journey, afloat on their raft, Ochun, the Patron Saint of Cuba, appears to stimulate a debate about such issues as Mussolini, the Pope, free will and even rap music.
For subscription information, call (202) 234-7174.
-- by Barbara Gross