Country Chile

Discipline Theater

Audience Youth | Adults

Recomended for +12

Duration 90 minutes

Language Spanish

Dates January 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19, 20.00h

'La iguana de Alessandra' is an outlandish and funny piece of entertainment

El Mercurio

La iguana de Alessandra is the first comedy written and directed by Ramón Griffero, one of the people to have both renewed and become an emblematic figure in the Chilean performing arts. In this stunning musical production, he takes us on a journey through time and space to important moments in twentieth century history. Alessandra, played by Paulina Urrutia, is the wife of a famous astronomer who embarks on a voyage to different times in history and different corners of the world. The journey starts in Venice during the Second World War, where she rescues an iguana called Jazmín who helps her connect with her innermost feelings. On this trip, Alessandra takes us to Mao’s China, Chile under the Popular Front and the Syria of ISIS where she works as a nurse. Using music, songs and choreography, a carefully constructed set and a cast of 10 actors, Griffero brings a comedy that has captivated the public this 2018 to Santiago a Mil to remind us that, in a world full of tragedy, there’s still a place for happiness and laughter.

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Direction and dramaturgy

Ramón Griffero

(Chile, 1954)

Ramón Griffero is one of the most important Chilean directors and playwrights, an outstanding artistic reference on the Latin American scene and one of the people who has helped renew contemporary theater with his dramatic theory called ‘The Dramaturgy of Space’. After his exile, he founded Teatro Fin de Siglo in the eighties at the legendary El Trolley, a center for creation and artistic resistance against the dictatorship. There, he premiered productions such as the trilogy Historias de un galpón abandonado, Cinema, Utoppia and 99 La Morgue. He has written fourteen plays, including Río Abajo (1995),Tus deseos en fragmentos and Prometeo el Origen (2014), which have been performed at multiple venues in America and Europe and published in several different languages. Among the numerous awards he has won is the Loth Award in Egypt for his contribution to the development of contemporary world theater. He is currently artistic director of the Chilean National Theater.

Written and directed by Ramón Griffero | Cast Paulina Urrutia, Pablo Schwarz, Omar Morán, April Gregory, Taira Court, Felipe Zepeda, Alejandra Oviedo, Juan Pablo Peragallo, Italo Spotorno, Gonzalo Beltrán | Assistant director Ricardo Balic | Music Alejandro Miranda | Choreography Gonzalo Beltrán | Set and costumes Daniela Vargas | Lighting Guillermo Ganga

  • Ramón Griffero is one of the main theatrical creators on the Chilean scene and a key name in recent theater history. In the eighties, he introduced post-modernity into local theater at a time when his productions were an important part of cultural and political resistance to the military dictatorship. His plays are profound reflections on contemporary society and he has made his mark with his dramatic theory called ‘The Dramaturgy of Space’, which he defines as “a study of the union between the poetic nature of the script and the poetic nature of space”.

  • La iguana de Alessandra is Ramón Griffero’s first comedy. “I think this change is connected to the new period we’re in. During the twentieth century, our driving force was to find causes to die for. We thought it was okay to die for religion or for utopia. That seems absurd to us now. The question now is what to live for. And that means more happiness, more comedy”, the director and playwright has said.

  • The play’s renowned cast, headed up by Paulina Urrutia and Pablo Schwartz — and joined by new talent — was one of the aspects that was most stood out to both critics and audiences alike. La iguana de Alessandra is, in fact, dedicated to Urrutia.

  • In times of darkness and pessimism, Griffero suggests looking at reality from a different perspective. “With the passing of time, we see how the great social endeavors of the twentieth century that seemed to be tragedies today look like important scenes from a human comedy. To paraphrase Karl Marx, the story is played out first as a tragedy and then as a comedy. This is the standpoint the production adopts”, he explains

  • One of the main aspects of this production is the outstanding music by Alejandro Miranda, one of theater’s most important composers who has participated in more than 50 productions. Tunes, ranchera music, the paso doble, Islamic songs and Chinese opera form the backbone of this play, in which sound gives the performance rhythm.
  • The Dramaturgy of Space. This is a theory created by Ramón Griffero that involves a theatrical esthetic in which the stage is an aid to the visual narrative. According to the site Memoria Chilena, “framing and plans are significant parts of a style in which the set, the lighting and the music converge”. Griffero himself says, "I’m interested in how man always uses rectangles to represent his visual memory”, referring to photographs, film, paintings, television and the internet. “I’m interested in how gestures are created on the rectangle that is the stage, a space that does not have either a model or an ideology”, he adds.

  • Griffero and theater as resistance. In the eighties, the arts were a fundamental way of resisting the dictatorship and Griffero was part of this political and anti-cultural force. “When I arrived in Chile (after returning from Belgium), I founded El Trolley, a legendary place that brought together artists from different disciplines (…) We created a place where censorship was non-existent and we managed to renew the country’s artistic style”, he said in the La Tercera newspaper not long ago. Today, he says that "theater is also a place to resist a mass-market culture. We keep on defending art as the search for knowledge, going against a culture that is dominated by show business and the market”.

  • The Chilean National Theater. Formerly called the University of Chile’s Teatro Experimental (TEUCH), this theater was founded in 1941 by legendary actor, director and playwright Pedro de la Barra. Actors such as the brothers Héctor and Santiago del Campo, María Maluenda and Bélgica Castro performed with it but it was disbanded after the military coup and some of its members went into exile. In 1975, it changed its name to the Chilean National Theater and, although still part of the University of Chile’s Faculty of Arts, it fell into a long period of decline. In 2017, after advertising publicly for someone to fill the position, Ramón Griffero was chosen as its director and La iguana de Alessandra is one of the first productions of the theater’s new phase. In this respect, critic Pedro Labra said that "the National Theater chose well when making Ramón Griffero its new director. Watching La iguana de Alessandra, you get the impression that the ensemble from the University of Chile has got back some of its ability to draw a crowd, as well as some of the artistic exuberance of the original company that, when it started, was the basis for the capital’s theatrical productions”.

«You can’t help but admire how daring Griffero’s imagination is (…) A piece whose great sense of showmanship is seductive»

El Mercurio

«As well as entertaining us with the story, (the audience) also gets to see an anthology of a cast on stage, led by Paulina Urrutia and Pablo Schwarz»

La Tercera

«Theatrically, the production is spectacular (…) Griffero uses intelligence and exquisite taste to bolster it up»

El Mostrador

'La iguana de Alessandra' is an outlandish and funny piece of entertainment

El Mercurio

«You can’t help but admire how daring Griffero’s imagination is (…) A piece whose great sense of showmanship is seductive»

El Mercurio

«As well as entertaining us with the story, (the audience) also gets to see an anthology of a cast on stage, led by Paulina Urrutia and Pablo Schwarz»

La Tercera

«Theatrically, the production is spectacular (…) Griffero uses intelligence and exquisite taste to bolster it up»

El Mostrador

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