Pérez: Dark, Dysfunctional Family Humor

Well-known theater, film and television actors united at Teatro del Puente, from August to October, to present Pérez: a play filled with dark humor and the complexities of familial relationships. The play is written and directed by Elisa Zulueta, an actress known for her appearances in the Canal 13 television series Lola and Claudio Polgatti’s film, Tanto Tiempo.

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy Teatro del Puente

The play begins with Pérez, 46, and his 28-year-old girlfriend, Marion, arriving at Pérez’s cabin in the south of Chile and preparing to receive Roma, his young 20-something daughter whom he barely knows. Upon her arrival, comical chaos unfolds as the three try to foster a family bond where none exists.

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy Teatro del Puente

Eccentric Roma, played by Antonia Santa María, is there for answers about her father’s absence, and is confused by Marion’s presence and relationship with her father. Luis Gnecco plays Pérez; a man trying to figure out how to be fatherly while maintaining his somewhat immature, relaxed nature. Marion, portrayed by Natalia Grez, tries to be welcoming only to be driven crazy by Roma’s hurtful humor.

The stage encompassed the cabin’s living-dining area and the omnipresent nature looming outside. Audiovisual effects, such as overhead sprinklers and illumination, brought the stage to life both within and outside the cabin without drawing attention away from the compelling contact between characters.

All three actors performed their roles in a very believable and relatable manner, including some physical comedy by Luis Gnecco and Antonia Santa María. The trio’s interaction realistically depicted the boundaries and bonds between individuals, when challenged by group dynamics.

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy Teatro del Puente

However, while the characters were well expressed, Roma’s role did not seem to be that of the young twenty-something in the play’s description, but rather an eccentric sixteen-year-old. The majority of the time her actions were excessively juvenile, which made it hard to believe that she was even an immature 21-year-old.

The performance delivered many laughs while portraying the intricate details that build and damage relationships. The three characters grew while trying to come to terms with the decisions they made (and/or were not allowed to have made), and the subsequent consequences of those decisions. Aside from the confusing age depiction of Roma, Zulueta’s work is entertaining in its everyday commonality and shows lots of promise for her future work.

21 August to 4 October 2009
Teatro del Puente
Parque Forestal between Pío Nono y Purísima Bridges

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