Directed by Mariana Muñoz | A musical theater songbook based on the text by Juan Radrigán
Borrachos de luna is an audio adaptation of the text of the same name by Chilean playwright Juan Radrigán. In this case, it’s a musical theater songbook for radio theater that rethinks the crossover between theater and music. The listeners are treated to a repertoire that combines both the spoken word and singing on a single playlist.
Borrachos de luna takes place at night in an empty city whose silence is shattered by the sound of planes and helicopters crossing the sky over and over again, dropping leaflets announcing that it’s forbidden for people to meet up. As a result, clandestine meetings occur in confinement behind four walls, like that of José, a record player repair man and María, a woman who opens the doors of her small house every evening to make money from showing off her body. As a result of several attempts to get a broken device to work and play music from old records, these characters get to know each other and have a sad conversation about love. It’s an exchange of words and feelings that’s interrupted by the arrival of an out-of-towner bringing news. Drunk on the moonlight, these three souls pass their time singing, waiting for the start of a show that may never happen.
This piece converts Juan Radrigán’s work into an collection of boleros, tangos and other nostalgic tunes to be listened, danced, sung or cried to under the glittering moon behind closed doors.
Cast and crew
Adapted for theater and directed by: Mariana Muñoz | Cast: Claudia Cabezas, Mario Avillo and an as yet unnamed actor | Musical score: Mario Avillo and TBC | Recording and sound mixing: TBC. A Teatro a Mil Foundation coproduction.
Theater, songs and emotions
Mariana Muñoz is an actress, director and teacher. Her pieces are influenced by her work with masters like Andrés Pérez Araya, Andrés del Bosque and Juan Radrigán and her pieces as a director are characterized by her research on the crossover between theater, music, popular culture and comedy. One of her most notable pieces has been Amores de cantina by Juan Radrigán. This year, she directed the acclaimed play Preguntas frecuentes by Nona Fernández.
Plays with a social hallmark
Juan Radrigán (1937-2016) is one of the most renowned playwrights in Chilean theater history. During his career, he wrote more than 40 plays with strong social undertones, including Hechos consumados (1981), Balada de los condenados a soñar (1989) and Amores de cantina (2009). In 2011, he won the National Performing Arts award, an honor that joined others such as the awards from the Art Critics’ Circle in 1981 and 1982, the Municipal Literature award in 1983, the Altazor award in 2005, the Bicentenary Dramaturgy award in 2010 and the Seal of Excellence award in 2011 from the National Council for Culture and the Arts.
Why you should listen to Borrachos de luna
-Its novel format helps listeners recreate Juan Radrigán’s play not only through the actors’ voices, but also through the sound recording that instills a heady sense of psychological tension.
-Juan Radrigán was a playwright who identified with the kind of theater that exposed the suffering and needs of society’s underdogs. He also had an acute sensitivity when it came to portraying human relations, for example in Fantasmas borrachos and Amores de cantina, the latter a play Mariana Muñoz has also directed.
Find out more
Radio theater: This is an art form created through words, sound effects and music that together tell a story that the listener can recreate in detail in their mind. Its golden age globally was in the twenties, thirties and forties, at the height of radio, with its popularity continuing until the seventies in Chile. Worldwide, the most well-known radio theater piece is perhaps The War of the Worlds, written in 1938 by North American actor and director Orson Welles, which tells of an alien invasion’s impact on the world. It was so realistic that it caused widespread panic among its listeners, who thought the news was real, even though the story was based on the novel of the same name by H.G. Wells.
Radio theater in Chile: According to the Memoria Chilena site, the first radio theater piece in Chile was transmitted in 1932 on the now-defunct Universo station. It was called La enemiga and starred Maruja Cifuentes and Carlos Justiniano. Normally broadcast at midday, these stories were usually melodramatic and aimed at a female audience although, in the following decades and until 1970, radio theater was also fertile terrain for comedies and even suspense. Hogar dulce hogar, Residencial La Pichanga, La bandita de Firulete and the memorable Radiotanda with actress Ana González playing the part of ‘La Desideria’ were emblematic of their times. The most famous ones in the terror genre were El doctor Mortis and Lo que cuenta el viento.
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