Theater

EL HÚSAR DE LA MUERTE

By La Patogallina

Chile

  • Español
  • 75 minutes
  • +10 años

Twenty years after its premiere, La Patogallina’s most acclaimed and internationally successful play is back on the stage. This production changed the way theater was made in Chile.


After its premiere in 2001 and as a result of its success with critics and public alike - as well as its radically original premise and historical and cultural contribution - El húsar de la muerte became one of the most significant Chilean theater plays of its time. Inspired by the film of the same name by Pedro Sienna, this production is a tribute to both Manuel Rodríguez and to silent films. The audience are taken into a room set in the twenties and sit facing a screen-stage, waiting for a character to arrive on a motorbike with a roll of film. Like the movie, the play recounts the exploits of guerilla Manuel Rodríguez during the struggle to gain independence from the Spanish Crown. Reflecting the importance of gestures in both its style and esthetic - together with a live band playing contemporary melodies instead of the pianist that usually sets silent films to music - La Patogallina goes black and white to bring a four dimensional ‘film’ to life.

Directed by: Martín Erazo | Cast: Cael Orrego, Sandra Figueroa, Rodrigo Rojas, Gloria Salgado, Victoria González, Pilar Salinas, Eduardo Moya | Musicians: Alejandra Muñoz, Emilio Miranda, Jaime Molina, Pablo Contreras | Stage technician: Juan Ferino | Sound engineer: Pablo Riveros | Producer: Lorena Ojeda Sepúlveda.

“One of this year’s outstanding shows”.

—El País, Spain, 2001.

—La Patogallina is a legendary company on the Chilean theater scene and El húsar de la muerte brought a new way of making theater to Chile, mixing disciplines and fusing elements of tragicomedy, street theater, popular theater, live music, cinematography and the use of unconventional spaces.

—It’s one of the key pieces of Chilean theater over the last few decades and is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its premiere. In 2001, it was chosen to open the VIII International Santiago a Mil Festival at the La Moneda Palace, an event inaugurated by then-President Ricardo Lagos and attended by the most important names in Chilean theater. It marked the return of La Moneda to being “a public, social and cultural place, both accessible to and welcoming the public”, according to academic Fernanda Carvajal from the University of Buenos Aires.

—The play’s original and novel visuals and music fascinated critics and audiences alike, both in Chile and abroad. El húsar de la muerte uses the esthetic of Pedro Sienna’s film in a production that is completely black and white, with gestures that mimic those of silent films. Like in the 1920s, the dialogue and text appear on boards and the pianist who used to set the projections to music is replaced by a band playing rock, boleros, funk and other popular types of music.

El húsar de la muerte: Set in 1925 and declared a historical piece of Chilean theater in 1998, this film is one of the most important films in the nation’s archives. Directed by Pedro Sienna, who also stars in the film, it tells of the adventures of Manuel Rodríguez. It was a resounding success with both critics and audiences alike. After its premiere, El Mercurio called it “the first great Chilean historical film”. It’s one of the few silent Chilean films to have survived.

—Physical theater: This is a kind of theater based on the body’s expressive and communicational abilities, in performances whose aim is to tell a story using corporality. Its roots are in Japanese nō theater, Italian commedia dell’arte, circus acts, certain types of Asian theater and mime. Its modern-day version is usually said to date from the first half of the twentieth century.

Trailer of El húsar de la muerte on YouTube

—Watch El húsar de la muerte, a film by Pedro Sienna, at the University of Chile’s Virtual Film Archives.

El húsar de la muerte on social media:

On Instagram, @lapatogallina

On Twitter, @La_PatoGallina

On Facebook, colectivo.lapatogallina

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