Born to Share: Reviving the Past

Most people wonder what life was like when they were born. There is arguably much more to dig up for those born in Chile during the Pinochet years. The country was wildly different from today, and almost any family story is a far cry from modern Chilean living.

 Photo by David Alarcon
Photo by David Alarcon

In order to explore this increasingly distant world, El año en que nací (The Year I Was Born) attempts to answer the questions that many young Chileans ask about their families’ pasts. A group born between 1970 and 1989 shares how the 1973 coup and subsequent government of the country affected families from every class, background and ideology. Eleven actors use photographs, newspaper clippings and other documents to develop their unique family histories.

One of the main goals is to show how such diverse experiences emphasize the infinite variety of perspectives that exist from some of Chile’s most controversial years. The show points out that, despite being two decades past the end of the Pinochet government, much of society still deals with the deep divisions it created. More poignantly, it suggests many of these conflicts are just a result of a lack of dialogue or simply not knowing that there are other points of view.

 Photo by David Alarcon
Photo by David Alarcon

While presenting 11 separate stories could be tedious, director Lola Arias keeps everything fresh through an expert mixture of humor and seriousness. Although the play discusses a serious topic, comic relief keeps up the energy and makes the more important points more telling. From a foreigner’s perspective, this play reveals some of the complexity surrounding Chile’s divisive history and explores how to revisit the past to create a better future.

 Photo by David Alarcon
Photo by David Alarcon

The show’s format is a unique way to present history. Arias introduces a dynamic mix of speaking directly to the audience, inter-character dialogue and creative representations, a combination that few use to discuss such heavy topics. As a result, these elements encourage a new view on an issue about which few are able to converse constructively. Making these divided histories interact in such a way represents the potential for communication that should avoid such strong divisions in the future.

El año en que nací
Writer & Directer: Lola Arias
Audiovisual Director: Nicole Senerman
Music: Ulises Conti
Scenery & Lights: Rocío Hernández
Produstion: Carolina Araya
Actors: Nicole Senerman, Ítalo Gallardo, Alejandro Gómez, Jorge Rivero, Fernanda González, Ana Laura Racz, Leopoldo Courbis, Pablo Díaz, Soledad Gaspar, Alexandra Benado y Viviana Hernández
Running Time: 2 horas

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