Get it on at the Santiago Off Theatre and Music Festival

This week (21st – 27th January) sees the second Santiago Off theatre and music festival taking place in the city, with a whole host of performances and events at numerous venues. The festival was founded in a collaboration of two local theatre companies, La Fulana Teatro and La Familia Teatro, as a means of fomenting and promoting the scenic and musical arts in Chile and it focuses particularly on emerging artists and organizations, playing an important role in the development of many of these groups.

Santiago Off runs from 21st - 27th January
Santiago Off runs from 21st - 27th January

In addition to the ticketed events, there are a number of free events designed to provide direct access to music and theatre for the Santiago public. One of the principal venues for the free performances is the Plaza de La Cultura in front of the Estación Mapocho cultural centre. The program is notable in its diversity: in addition to gigs from the likes of indy-folk singer Nano Stern, Pichilemu hip-hoppers Ocean Soldiers and an Amy Winehouse tribute concert, several plays will feature on an open-air stage. These include El Séptimo Urbano, which draws a parallel between religion and personal relationships, a look at some of the individual stories of the massive student protests that rocked Chile in 2011 in Somos Caleta, and the importance of organization in Clotario.

<em>Narciso</em> (photo courtesy of Santiago Off)
Narciso (photo courtesy of Santiago Off)

One of the main performances of the festival is Narciso, a multimedia medley of experimental theatre, dance and visual arts that seeks to absorb the audience into a highly-choreographed and interactive virtual world. On every day at 8.30pm at the Sala de Las Artes at Estación Mapocho ($5000 general entry), Narciso is staged by the Abundanza theatre company which has won numerous awards and toured extensively in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

<em>Space Dance in The Tube</em> (photo courtesy of Santiago Off)
Space Dance in The Tube (photo courtesy of Santiago Off)

Another fascinating exhibition is the English-titled Space Dance in The Tube, which doesn’t refer to a cosmic waltz on the London Underground, but is actually based in the Japanese dance of Butoh which emerged in the ruined post-Hiroshima Japan and has strong political connotations for its importance in the creative expression of the period and use in student protests. Spectators are invited to enter a suspended fabric tube in order to experience a new sense of body movement and spatial relation. As a free and physically participative event, this is recommended for children and adults alike, with free entry every day from midday until 5pm at the Estación Mapocho.

<em>Como Ovejas y Lobos</em> (photo courtesy of Santiago Off)
Como Ovejas y Lobos (photo courtesy of Santiago Off)

The Antonio Acevedo Hernández Theatre in Bellavista will be staging Como Ovejas y Lobos (Like Sheep and Wolves) which explores concepts of reality, imagination and symbolism (general entry is $2500). Near to Parque Bustamante, the Sala La Casa Rodante will also be used as a venue for some compelling and provocative theatre. Rojo Claro Sobre Rojo Oscuro (Clear Red Over Dark Red) is based on the police case of los hermanos rojos (the red brothers), a real-life event in which two young brothers were battered to death in their home, a crime for which their mother was convicted and sentenced to forty years in prison. Bestuario, meanwhile, is a celebration of, among other things, ambiguity, imprecision and contradiction. So make of that what you wil.

<em>El Rapto del Galán de Teleseries</em> (photo courtesy of Santiago Off)
El Rapto del Galán de Teleseries (photo courtesy of Santiago Off)

Also in Bellavista, the excellent Teatro Ladrón de Bicicletas (The Bicycle Thief Theatre) is
another that is staging a wide range of performances from independent theatre companies. El Rapto del Galón de Teleseries (loosely translated as The Abduction of the Teleseries' Leading Man) is a story of two old ladies who drastically overstep the mark of fandom ($6000 general entry), while Malabia (also $6000 general entry) tells the tale of the trial of Enrique Arancibia Clavel, a member of the Chilean secret police during the dictatorship who carried out the bombing that killed General Carlos Prats in 1974. A more light-hearted tone is to be found in Estereotipas, in which four young women consider their lives up to now and the directions in which they’re headed in a stand-up comedy show. General entry is $5000.

These are just some of the many performances that should make the upcoming week a very interesting time for theatre and music lovers in Santiago, and there will also be a number of workshops and forums related to the content of the festival and open to the general public. Full details of the program and all other events during Santiago Off can be found at the festival’s official website.

Festival Venues

Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho
Plaza de La Cultura, ex – Estación de Trenes
Metro Puente Cal y Canto (Line 3)
Tel. (56-2) 2 787 0000

Teatro Antonio Acevedo Hernández
Ernesto Pinto Lagarrigue 180, Bellavista
Metro Baquedano (Lines 1 & 5)
Tel. (56-2) 2 735 2430

Sala La Casa Rodante
Rancagua 0395, Providencia
Metro Parque Bustamante (Line 5)
Tel. (56-9) 8 233 8389

Teatro Ladrón de Bicicletas
Dardignac 0163, Bellavista
Metro Baquedano (Lines 1 & 5)
Tel. (56-2) 2 777 0536

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