'Valdivia: La Gesta Inconclusa': Who said history was dull?

Combining literature, live music and acting, Tryo Teatro Banda challenges the myth of history being one of the most boring subjects. “Valdivia: La Gesta Inconclusa,” is a mind-blowing spectacle based on Pedro de Valdivia’s letters to the Spanish King Carlos V during the Chilean colonization (1536-1553 specifically).

Santiago Chile
Photo by Iván Núñez

In the play, Pedro de Valdivia gives an account of his actions, narrating his ups and downs and asking for help from the Spanish government for the harsh conditions the colonization conflict presents. What makes the struggle so difficult is the indigenous Mapuches’ stubbornness and bravery resisting Pedro de Valdivia’s conquering efforts. As a result, the Mapuche community ended up killing Valdivia, which is also a part of the play, and kept fighting the Spanish for three hundred years.

Santiago Chile
Photo by Iván Núñez

As tough a subject as this is, Tryo Teatro Banda shows the battle with great passion as the three actors perform the play on a set filled with little more than musical instruments. The performers’ energy and talent unfurls during the 75-minute performance (see photos) through these musical instruments (a large accordion, clarinet, trombone, electric bass, Chilean guitar, percussion and singing). The audience is left speechless by the performers’ juggling as they exchange all the musical instruments among themselves during the whole play.

The way that live music is attached to the dramatic performance, adds a skillful and dramatic hue with perfect synchronization. The performers never stop acting while they are playing either, and this extends throughout the play.

The use of these creative objects shows Valdivia in a humourous manner, though also as a hero who fears and doubts bringing the play’s narration to life and captivating the audience. The play is witty, fast, dynamic and energetic, and addresses relevant themes within the historical context, like the injustices that the native inhabitants suffered, the adversity of the environment and the tiresome character of the Spanish conquest.

“Valdivia: La Gesta Inconclusa”
Sala de Teatro Finis Terrae
Pedro de Valdivia 1509, Providencia
From June 4 to July 5
Thursday to Saturday at 9pm, Sunday at 7pm
General Tickets CP$5,000
Students and Elderly CP$3,000
Thursdays – CP$3,000

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