Machote Futbolero: The Emotion Behind the Spiniak Crimes

Every generation has its moment of regret. “Machote Futbolero,” a lustrous account of incestuous affairs, tells of a penitent cloud in Chile’s history. Directed by Pierre Sauré Costa, the play tells the story of a burgeoning man’s encounter with a putrid situation.

Santiago Chile
Photo by Carla Pastén

The plot centers on the infamous Spiniak case of 2003 in which a wealthy Chilean businessman, Claudio Spiniak, was charged with using a luxury gym for sadomasochistic orgies with children. He was also accused of producing and distributing child pornography and thus opened the eyes of Chile to the oft-ignored problem of child prostitution.

Santiago Chile
Photo by Carla Pastén

The landmark case included allegations of priests, businessmen and politicians involved in the ring, sending ripples through the conservative state and causing political unrest and a heated debate about current cultural norms.

The play is staged with the intent of telling a story that needs to be told: the one of the victim. The producers, mindful of the heavy theme, did a marvelous job of not flooding the play with a simplistic and extreme display of obscenity. Instead, political opinions and zealous anger is left at the door as “Machote Futbolero” displays the emotion behind the crime.

The show started with a somber song performed by Claudia Garcia. The mood pervaded as the lights beamed on to reveal a minimalist blue set. The stage was an elevated white platform providing an almost ethereal atmosphere. The simple dress gave a wonderful backdrop to the dramatic peculiarities of the plotline.

The story begins as an account of youthful stresses like the pursuit of a first crush with protagonist Diego Ruiz leading the audience through a 1st person narrative. He details the youthful aspirations of a group of friends to be football stars when they grow up. It is this dream that eventually leads to a shattered innocence.

Santiago Chile
Photo by Carla Pastén

The betrayal of innocence is at the heart of the plotline throughout the play. It does a magnificent job in portraying intense sentiment without becoming melodramatic.

During the climax, flamboyance is manipulated carefully and magnificently to portray the mental breakdown of the victim. This leads the audience to truly see the person behind the victim in the case. Friendships and relationships surrounding the abused boy are set up in such a way that the moral issue behind the crime is felt more than the political repercussion of the trial.

“Machote Futbolero” is a story about Chilean perseverance. While highlighting close-knit friendship, the dramaturges present an intense story about a dark period in the country’s cultural development. Audiences see not only a story about social hypocrisy but also a reassurance that a friend’s love is strong enough to endure the worst of hardships.

“Machote Futbolero” is produced by Teatro Sub, the brainchild of Claudia García, Daniela Riveros and Pierre Sauré. The three actors quickly gained a reputation for leading the renaissance of Chilean theatre with their first play “Conmigo Tu” back in 2006. Saure has been lauded for his dramaturgy and Garcia for her voice and performance.

Teatro Lastarria hosted the last showing of “Machote Futbolero” on Sunday August 9. The end of the first run comes after unexpected record audiences made the play one of the most successful of the 9th Annual Theatre Director’s Festival. Due to this success the company has announced a second tour, dates to be determined.

Machote Futbolero
Directed by Pierre Sauré Costa
Teatro Lastarria 90
July 15-August 9 Season 1
Season 2 Dates TBA

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