Country Chile

Discipline Theater

Audience Youth | Adults

Recomended for +14

Duration 90 minutes

Language Spanish

Dates January 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16, 21.30h

Pompeya, one of 2017’s best premieres, tackles issues such as migration, racism and discrimination

Qué Pasa Magazine

In an apartment in the center of Santiago, old transvestite Suzu prays to the Virgin of Pompeii for Kena, one of her protegees who has been missing for four days. Nobody knows if she was attacked by neo-Nazis or by one of her rivals. At night, the street corners turn into ganglands, areas fought over by Chilean and Colombian sex workers, where violence, racism and discrimination are rife. Accompanying her is Leila, who’s convinced it was the Colombians and is out for revenge; Beyoncé, who dreams of being the diva’s South American double and Lucho, who’s their pimp and wants to avoid any kind of tragedy. Pompeya sets itself up as a metaphor for today’s Chile, whose neoliberal society, just like that of the Roman city buried by Vesuvius, is governed by the survival of the fittest, by he who is wily enough to survive; a country that sometimes seems frozen in time with yesterday’s morals and forms of patriotism. This is a production based on testimonies and documentary material, bringing marginalization, migrants and discrimination to the fore in a country in which we’re all outcasts.

| Multimedia

Direction

Rodrigo Soto

(Chile)

Rodrigo Soto is an actor, director, theater teacher and member of the board of SIDARTE. He has worked in Chilean theater and on different productions for 20 years, with theater companies such as Teatro La María and directors such as Raúl Ruiz, Luis Barrales, Cristian Plana, Pablo Casals and Rodrigo Pérez. He has directed plays such as Mojo by Jez Butterworth; La epopeya de Lucho Chaveta by Luis Barrales; Dios es un lujo - which he wrote - and Las Criadas by Jean Genet. He has also specialized in audiovisual drama on television series like Secretos en el jardín and series like Los archivos del cardenal.

Dramaturgy

Gerardo Oettinger

(Chile)

Gerardo Oettinger is a playwright and director. He specialized in theater under Juan Radrigán, in the Royal Court Theater’s workshops in Chile organized by the Teatro a Mil Foundation and the British Council and at Panorama Sur, run by Alejandro Tantanián in Buenos Aires, among others. His plays Enero en París (2012), La pieza (2012), Testimonios de un linchamiento (2017), Castigo a Dios (2017) and the testimonial trilogy Mujeres pobladoras particularly stand out. He has written and directed three plays: Enero en París, La Victoria and Unidad Popular. In 2018, he took part in an artistic residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France.

Directed by Rodrigo Soto | Written by Gerardo Oettinger | Cast Guilherme Sepúlveda, Rodrigo Pérez, Gabriel Urzúa, Gastón Salgado | Sound designer Daniel Marabolí | Set, costume and lighting designer Gabriela Torrejón | Sound operator Magdalena Llanos | Producer Alessandra Massardo

  • Pompeya is a brutal look at the neoliberal society the dictatorship left us, governed by individuality, competition and fear of others – in this case, immigrants and those who don’t fit into traditional gender categories. “Transvestites give us an excuse to talk about a Chile that treats its people as immigrants in their own land. We ourselves are outcasts”, says Rodrigo Soto about the play. "There’s a parallel between the eighties and today and, in this respect, Suzuki’s character is important because it reveals a country that, at least in terms of gender and rights, has not evolved that much at all since the eighties”.

  • The play is based on past and present documental and testimonial material from transvestite, transsexual and transgender sex workers on the streets of Santiago. This makes the production a window onto an unknown world, a kind of reflection of a violent and cruel reality, with the Santiago nights as its stage. “The play is brutal in terms of its realism, of how it deals with violence on a daily basis. I always thought of it as a tragedy but, to my surprise, the audience actually laughs a lot at the functions”, says Soto.

  • Pompeya was performed successfully and to rave reviews both in Chile and Argentina. It was praised for its “high voltage dialogues” by the Página 12 newspaper and for its way of tackling marginalization and “bringing social conflict to the fore” by the Los Inrockuptibles magazine.

  • One of the things that critics praised the most were the actors’ performances. In fact, Gabriel Urzúa received the award for best actor in 2017 from the Art Critics’ Circle for his role. The team explains that “it’s overwhelming in terms of the acting. We take a gamble on the actor as theatrical ideology and there’s a constant danger, both for the actor and the spectator. This exercise creates many touching moments, forcing the spectator to become part of what is happening on stage”.
  • Elements of Donoso and Lemebel. In several of the reviews published about Pompeya after its premiere, the traces of the classic play by Teatro La Memoria called La Manzana de Adán (1990), as well as the hallmarks of Chilean writers Pedro Lemebel and José Donoso, were mentioned. "As the characters emerge, it’s impossible not to remember Manuela, the endearing transvestite who starred in El lugar sin límites. Written by José Donoso in 1966, this flamenco dancer from a forgotten town the south of Chile playfully and irreverently questions gender and family. And, of course, we can also recognize the transvestites from Pedro Lemebel’s stories. He wrote about the character of ‘the Queer’ risking her life – and body – in a town that both desired and rejected her”, wrote Andrea Jeftanovic in El Mercurio.

«It’s a pleasure to watch these highly talented actors on the stage, who make these outlandish roles their own with conviction and specific mannerisms, as well as being capable of improvising and questioning the audience»

El Mercurio

«A story with both meaning and human, social and political significance»

Biobio Radio

«A fast-paced and musical play»

Página 12, Argentina

Pompeya, one of 2017’s best premieres, tackles issues such as migration, racism and discrimination

Qué Pasa Magazine

«It’s a pleasure to watch these highly talented actors on the stage, who make these outlandish roles their own with conviction and specific mannerisms, as well as being capable of improvising and questioning the audience»

El Mercurio

«A story with both meaning and human, social and political significance»

Biobio Radio

«A fast-paced and musical play»

Página 12, Argentina