• Theater


By Tryo Teatro Banda


  • Spanish
  • 50 minutes
  • +10 años

A minstrel show by Tryo Teatro Banda that tells the story of the Foster Observatory, located on the San Cristóbal hill in Santiago.

In 1903, inspired by the need to study the stars visible in the southern hemisphere, a group of North American astronomers wanted to set up a telescope in Chile, whose crystal-clear skies were already world-famous. After a whole host of difficulties and tragicomic but incredible adventures, the observatory is finally finished and transferred from San Francisco in the United States to the San Cristóbal hill in Santiago. It has a specific scientific mission: to calculate the speed that the sun and other stars travel at, using the spectrograph technique and the Doppler effect.

After making some big advances in science, the Foster fell into disuse after several years, given the rapid advance of technology in the field of astronomy and only recently was it renovated as a heritage site. All its amazing achievements, as well as the concepts of astrophysics, are told by three musicians-actors and their instruments (bassoon, violin, accordion, percussion and voices) in a minstrel style that helps the audience go on a journey, find out more and imagine.

This play is part of the program that was the result of the alliance between Santiago a Mil and La Rebelión de los Muñecos.

Cast and crew

Violin: Daniella Rivera | Accordion: Martín Feuracke | Bassoon: Miguel Cortés | Written and directed by: Francisco Sánchez | Astronomer and scientific adviser: Leonardo Vanzi.

Francisco Sánchez

Writer and director

Master minstrel

This actor, musician, researcher, playwright, teacher and director founded Tryo Teatro Banda with Carolina González. He studied acting, the trombone, piano and composing in Chile and opera directing, musical dramaturgy and opera librettos in Italy. Together with this company, he’s developed a theatrical style of ‘contemporary troubadours’, reviving the old minstrel art in a style that combines theater, music and literature with a nomadic air. Their shows tell the story of different episodes in Chile’s history in and they’ve toured the country, Latin America and Europe.

Tryo Teatro Banda

Tryo Teatro Banda

Contemporary minstrels

Tryo Teatro Banda is an independent and nomadic theater company that was formed in 2000 with three main aims: to put on productions either by Chilean authors or about topics related to the country, to visit places not usually featured on artistic circuits and to combine the art of acting with literature and original live music. They aim to work with founding episodes from Chile and America’s history, researching and using the origins of Chile’s mixed-race identity, as seen in the plays La expulsión de los Jesuitas, ¡Parlamento!, Afrochileno, La Tirana, Pedro de Valdivia: la gesta inconclusa, Cautiverio Felis (sic), La Araucana, Jemmy Button, O´Higgins, un hombre en pedazos, Tragicomedia del Ande and Foster, el observatorio del cerro Tupahue.

“A didactic piece in which narrative, theater and poetry all go hand in hand”.

El Mercurio

— It’s Tryo Teatro Banda, one of the most important companies of the century to still be working. It’s a romantic – and titanic - project aimed at making popular and nomadic theater. “We want to do Chilean theater, travel and try to live this art”, said Francisco Sánchez - director and founder of the company along with Eliseo Miranda and Carolina González - to La Panera on its twentieth anniversary.

—The company always get outside help when working on their stories, which are based on historical events. In this play, they study the phenomena of astronomy to tell the story of previously unknown scientific feats in Chile.

—The company’s music uses instruments that also turn into performers themselves. Music is a fundamental part of the production, just like it is for minstrels.

The Manuel Foster Astronomical Observatory: Hidden in nature on the Metropolitan Park’s second-highest point, this astronomical observatory (currently called Manuel Foster) is twinned with the Link Observatory in California. At its peak, it was the biggest in the southern hemisphere and the tenth largest in the world. This installation currently belongs to the Pontific Catholic University of Chile, which takes care of its upkeep even though it’s no longer used for scientific purposes due to light contamination from the city. It was declared a National Monument in 2010.

Minstrels: During the Middle Ages, these street artists took part in shows to entertain and spread information about wars using songs with gestures or lyrical compositions. They sang and recited their pieces in town squares, villages and castles using musical instruments such as the lute, vihuela and psaltery, entertaining audiences with dances and circus acts (for example, juggling, acrobatics, tumbling and taming animals). The money they earned from performing was their way of making a living.

—Take a look at a conversation about the play involving Daniella Rivera, Francisco Sánchez and astronomer Leonardo Vanzi, organized by the Ministry of Science.

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