Theater

CARTAS DE JENNY. LA INTRASCENDENTE EPOPEYA DE JENNY MASTERSON

By Teatro Imagen Written and directed by Gustavo Meza

Chile

  • Spanish
  • 60 minutes
  • +14

Advertencia +14

Actors and directors Elsa Poblete and Gustavo Meza, paid tribute to at the 2020 version of Santiago a Mil, are back with one of Teatro Imagen’s most emblematic plays.


Thirty years after its premiere in 1989, Cartas de Jenny. La intrascendente epopeya de Jenny Masterson is back on stage with the story of Jenny Masterson, an Irishwoman who settled in Chile in the thirties. It’s based on the letters she sent to her sister in Dublin over two decades, which were published in a psychology book edited by psychiatrist Gordon Williams. In them, Jenny - a woman who was widowed very young and forced to work a long way from her home country - reveals her overprotectiveness of her only child and the conflict that arises when he decides to marry a woman with very different opinions and convictions to her own. After its premiere in Asunción, Paraguay, the play - one of the most successful by Teatro Imagen - was performed in countries like Colombia, Spain, the United States, Venezuela and Mexico, winning awards like the Ollantay-Celtit Award (Spain) and the Gorostiza Award (Mexico).

Written and directed by: Gustavo Meza | Cast: Elsa Poblete, Gonzalo Meza, Luciano Morales, María Rodríguez | Sound and lighting: Beleña Meza | Tango preparation: Casandra Day.

“With a handful of actual letters from this Irishwoman settled in Chile, Cartas de Jenny takes a look at a disturbing fantasy in which the eternal and infernal mother/son/daughter-in-law trio - in a simple and common story - involve us in the raw intimacy of the mirror that is theater …”.

Liberation, Paris

“Even today, this small chamber piece is extremely attractive, fresh and innovative”.

—El Mercurio

—It’s a valuable exercise in theater based on conflict, emotions, dreams and the reality of what it meant to be a woman in Chile in the thirties, as well as being a complete psychological profile of a mother faced with the challenge of having to raise a child alone. Gustavo Meza’s adaptation is an intimate yet common and touching text.

—It’s an opportunity to see Elsa Poblete, one of the key actresses in Chilean theater history, on stage again. She’s renowned for her roles in plays like La viuda de Apablaza.

—It’s a novel theater format with the performers - two women and one man - not only playing their roles but also, as actors on the stage, showing what they themselves believe their characters think and feel.

Women in theater: As writer Mercedes Halfon recalls in a review of Petróleo published in the Página 12 newspaper, women can neither write nor act in Greek and Shakespearean theater. “Feminine roles were played by young boys with high-pitched voices or just by men. Women couldn’t act in Greek theater either, because they were considered almost on a par with slaves socially. (…) Slowly, this practice was discontinued and women have been key figures on the stage for a long time now”.

The role of Teatro Imagen during the dictatorship: After the closure of the University of Chile’s Theater School during the military dictatorship, an important number of its actors went into exile. However, leaving the country wasn’t an option for Gustavo Meza, so he decided to set up Teatro Imagen with actors Tennyson Ferrada and Jael Unger in 1974, under the premise that ‘Chilean theater can’t exist if Chilean writers don’t exist’. Producing theater wasn’t easy though. Given the censorship imposed by the military government, artists had to play with the subtleties of language to get their messages across in their work and not be censored. In this scenario, Teatro Imagen was key to the development of Chilean playwrights at the time.

–“Theater’s always been made out of love” — interview with Elsa Poblete and Gustavo Meza, who are paid tribute to at Santiago a Mil 2020.

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