Clotario Blest: A Puppet Revives National Romanticism

Many of us forget what Chile was like prior to the '70s, but Clotario Blest sheds some light on those dark and difficult times when the working class craved freedom and hoped that Chile could become synonymous with liberty. With a few puppets and a stage, the Equilibrio Precario theatre company shares the story of Old Clotario's life, with all its fights, joys and sorrows, from this hidden part of history.

Santiago Chile Clotario Blest
Photo by Carla Pasten

The story traces Blest's life, emphasizing his fight against the ruling classes at an early age and weaving through different presidential eras, beginning with José Manuel Balmaceda in the 1890s. Concerned with the issues of the working class from a young age,
Santiago Chile Clotario Blest
Photo by Carla Pasten

Blest, a social activist, became strongly involved in searching out workers' protection rights in the 1920s, such as founding the Central Workers Union (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores), which still represents Chilean workers today.

Director Arturo Rossel has constructed a solid, fluent and well-paced story with many remarkable moments, like a very colorful impersonation of former president Patricio Aylwin and several completely carnivalesque celebrations with challa.

However, several drawbacks make the experience less enjoyable, such as unequalized sounds (overbearing music and sound effects at the same time result in plain noise) or the difficulty of recognizing actors' voices at times.

Santiago Chile Clotario Blest
Photo by Carla Pasten

You might also want to have a sweater handy, as the venue gets a bit cold on the outskirts of Santiago.

Even as a simple puppet show, the stage successfully recreates a “prehistory” of Chile full of mystery. Deep within the politically biased storyline (there is indeed strong political content) is a wonderful, melancholic story of a man who fought with the help of his mind and his quill, for people he considered his sons. Clotario Blest is a provoking tale of camaraderie with an underlying, heartwarming message that surpasses social boundaries.

Clotario Blest

Closes March 29, 2009

Thursday to Sunday, 9 pm

Free

Teatro Matucana 100, Espacio Plazoleta

Matucana 100, Santiago Centro

Metro: Quinta Normal

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