You are on page 1of 37

l a cue c a

by andrea goldman

we te ll o u rselves stor ie s in or de r to l i v e .
-Joan Didion

TH E STORY

It is only after they uncover their past that they can truly discover one another. La Cueca is an original short play that examines the idea of memory and forgiveness. Taking place in Pinochet’s Chile, two actors find themselves buried alive at the beginning of the play. As they fight against the obvious obstacles of running out of air, they also struggle with one another, attempting to unbury themselves from the heavy guilt and pain accumulated during the fifteen years of their marriage. The dialogue oscillates between realism and surrealism, mirroring the poet’s sanctuary of expression under censorship. And reflecting how at times it is easiest to face the harshest reality, as though it were only a dream. Everything about La Cueca is non-traditional. The audience, in many ways, is buried alongside the actors, breathing the same air, living the same story. The performance actually begins the moment that you walk down the stairs, leaving the world you know and entering into the world of these two characters, Sonia and Howard.

l a c u ec a is more t h an a pl ay -- it is a love story of a m a n , a wom an and a count ry.

When our husband and wife reach a certain amount of closure in their discussion of their pained years together, it is rather a forced one. Forgiveness, we learn, is not always a simple choice, or even a choice at all. it is sometimes thrust upon us, whether we accept it or not.

t he e a s t h a m p t o n s ta r

Eventually, it struck Goldman that at a basic level, there really isn’t much difference between the machinations of lovers in turmoil and those of a political regime and its people.

th e s ag h ar bo r e x p r e ss

THE PRESS

The play owes a debt to playwrights including Beckett and Pinter, who frequently employed metaphor and ‘economy of language’…

t h e n e w yo r k t i m e s

E XPLOR I NG OPPRE SSION, I N C H I L E A N D IN LOVE
By Steven McElroy

ESPERANZA LEÓN is interested in blurring boundaries, so it is appropriate that Solar, the gallery she runs, is in the basement of her East Hampton home. With “La Cueca,” a two-character play to be presented at Solar this month, Ms. León and the playwright Andrea Goldman will blur another boundary as well. “Theater people don’t necessarily go to art exhibitions, and art people, visual artists, don’t necessarily partake too much in theater activities,” Ms. León said. “It’s a way of kind of bringing everybody together.” Solar, which specializes in the work of Latin American artists, is in its 10th year, but “La Cueca,” set in Chile, will be the first performance there. The play seems like a good fit for a subterranean venue. The piece is about a couple that is trapped in an underground bunker during the dictatorship of Pinochet, who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, Ms. Goldman said. “So I wanted to create that kind of oppression and suffocation for the audience as well. I wanted it to be really intimate, and I didn’t want to feel any constriction with a traditional theater.” Audience members, after descending into the basement, may feel like they are buried alongside the actors (Ms. Goldman and Abraham De Funes). At least, that is the sensation Ms. Goldman is after. A notice on the show’s Web site reads, “Warning: Performance experience may be intense and visceral for some.” Asked about the slightly scary message, Ms. Goldman replied,

“ hopefully t he audience will really feel like the y are a part of t his e xperience, r ather t h an just watching somet hing fr om t he outside.”
The play, directed by Ben Sargent, owes a debt to playwrights including Beckett and Pinter, who frequently employed metaphor and “economy of language,” Ms. Goldman said. “I guess it works on two levels,” she explained. One is about Chile during the Pinochet regime, “but the other is this notion of being in a relationship for a very long time and sort of getting buried,” Ms. Goldman said, pointing out that relationships can also feel oppressive at times. The play, she said, explores the question, “Can you ever really get back to what made you fall in love with someone to begin with?” “La Cueca” will be performed Feb. 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. at Solar in East Hampton. Reservations are strongly recommended: (631) 907-8422. Tickets: $20, or $18 for seniors. Information: lacueca.com.

th e n e w yo rk ti me s

TH E DA NC E OF SEDU CT ION
By Brandi Buchman

La Cueca, the national folk dance of Chile, was once a courting dance of subtle seduction; women and men would stand across from one another, intermingling feverish footsteps with one hand raised above their head and in that same hand, as if in surrender to one another, a cloth would swing round and round. But as Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship ravaged the South American country and atrocities piled up, men were often called away for military duty or kidnapped. As a result, the dance of couples became the dance of one: women in mourning for their missing partners. On Friday, February 18, at Art Solar in East Hampton, a performance space which also doubles as gallery containing a collection of works by Latin American artists, actress and playwright Andrea Goldman’s original 45-minute play “La Cueca” will debut and tell the story of a dance of a different kind: the performance husbands and wives often present to each other after years of marriage and the resulting highs, lows and everything in-between.

ins tantly pu l ling t he a udie nc e in to t he e x pe r ie nc e , g u e sts w il l de s c e nd in to t he de pt hs of its m ain c h a r a ct e rs’ st rife a nd f ind t he m se lv e s imme rse d in t he ir w or l d
as it rapidly closes in—the play begins with its characters buried alive.

“It is metaphorical,” said Ms. Goldman. “It’s about a couple buried under all of the things that happened to them ... It asks you to consider, how can you move forward or unbury yourself from the weight of life and time?” The play, which is directed by Ben Sergeant and also stars Abraham de Funes, was described by Ms. Goldman and Art Solar owner Esperanza Leon as one that runs parallel to the circumstances of the country its characters hail from. “It’s interesting to consider how people choose to remember the past; even years after Pinochet was out of power, there were many people whose memories were selective or skewed,” said Ms. Goldman. “That is similar to the dynamic of romantic relationships that way.” The play “La Cueca” began as a poem Ms.Goldman wrote a little over a year ago. She said the poem’s progression into a play was an organic development. Ultimately, Ms.Leon met Ms. Goldman through a friend in Manhattan, though initially, talk of the play was somewhat fleeting. “Then late last year, I’m in the city at another show and ran into Andrea again; shethought [Art Solar] would be an ideal space for the production,” said Ms. Leon. “We talked more about it and that was that; I didn’t read the script word for word because honestly, I wanted to be a part of the initial experience, I wanted to see it the way the audience will.” Ms. Goldman described the character of Sonia, who she will portray, as a woman who is passionate in every sense of the word. “Sonia is similar to me in some ways, but maybe more emotional than I; she is expressive, she is an artist and a dancer and a woman who has been through a lot but remains optimistic,” she explained. Conflict arises when Sonia’s fiery passion meets head on

with her husband, Howard. Though Howard’s sensibilities match hers, according to Ms. Goldman, his inner fire is more of a controlled burn.“He is a professor and writertype, a political science type. He applies more reasoning to everything,” she said. One example of Howard’s calculating passion, is when at one point, he says to Sonia, “I didn’t have to tell you I loved you because I married you.” “Clearly, he is more rationalminded. If Howard is the straight sturdy pole, than Sonia is the tether which flails wildly off of it,” she noted. Howard will be portrayed by Mr. de Funes, a Manhattanbased actor. And though Ms. Goldman and Ms. Leon said they did not want to undergo a lengthy casting process, it was many months before he was finally cast. “I saw him in a production in New York City, but I had met him at acting classes before,” Ms. Goldman said. “He has much to bring to the role; he’s very much like Howard. He’s logical yet still has intense passion.” Of the play’s director, Mr. Sergeant, Ms. Goldman noted that he developed a more hands-on approach.“Sometimes we would spend three hours working on a single section of dialogue. He really brings a strong sensitivity to everything he does,” she said. For the audience, Ms. Leon said she hopes “La Cueca” will be a unique experience. Indeed, this is the first time a play will be staged at Art Solar. “Beneath the rubble where these characters are trapped, you are pulled in visually and emotionally and you are forced to be close with them, the space here really lends to that forced sense of intimacy,” she said. The space itself carries much significance to Ms. Leon. Though born in Venezuela, she grew up in East Hampton, and as the years passed, she began to notice what she con-

sidered a palpable void of representation of Latin American artists on the East End. “It’s been immensely gratifying to work with so many Latin American artists and we’ve gotten great feedback from our patrons,” Ms. Leon said. “Art is universal, it’s not only about geography, but for me, I can’t explain exactly what sets apart Latin American works. I find there’s a real sense of identity that isn’t rigid at all. Being pulled in is unavoidable.” In contrast to the intense fulfillment Ms. Goldman said she hopes her play will generate for audience, she said to understand the meaning of the work, there is one fact in particular patrons should keep in the forefront of their mind. “You can only dance the La Cueca when you have experienced the heavy reality of loss,” she said. La Cueca debuts Friday, February 18, at 7 p.m. at Art Solar in East Hampton. Additional performances will be held at the same time on Saturday, February 19, and Friday and Saturday, February 25 and 26. Tickets are $20, or $18 for seniors. For additional information, visit artsolar.com.

t h e sout h a m p t o n p r e s s

I T IS ONLY A FTER TH E Y T HAT T HE Y CA N TRU LY

UNCOVE R T HE IR PA ST DI S COVE R ONE A NOTH ER

LOVE A N D R E VOLUTION
By Annette Hinkle

History would indicate that during times of oppression, poets, writers and other artists go underground. But that doesn’t mean they go away. The most creative members of restrictive societies have been known to alter their messages in troubled times, finding new ways of expression that are, in actuality, veiled criticism of the social order. Love songs, paintings, poems, even puppets can become analogies for brutal regimes with hidden meaning that only the wise can decipher. In her new two character play, “La Cueca” New York City based writer and actress Andrea Goldman explores the notion of metaphor and oppression through one of the most common and seemingly innocuous forms of the human relationship — marriage. But the subtext of “La Cueca” makes it clear that the play could just as easily be about the relationship between a citizen and a country. In fact, the play is based on the brutal regime of dictator Augusto Pinochet who ruled Chile with an iron fist from 1974 to 1990. The name of the play is taken from the national dance of Chile. A courting dance, la cueca is performed by a man and a woman. But under Pinochet’s rule, so many men “disappeared” at the hands of the government, the women began dancing la cueca alone as a subtle form of protest. This weekend, “La Cueca” will have its premiere at Solar, an East Hampton gallery now celebrating its 10th anniversay that focuses on Latin American art. Set in the stifling setting of an underground bunker where they are imprisoned, during the course of the 45-minute play, Sonia (Goldman) and Howard (Abraham De Funes) tread on the difficult territory of their 15 year marriage — including betrayal, the loss of a child, and the uncertainty of the other’s love.

“ the y both were put in this bunker because of what the y did,” e xpl ains goldm an. “The sins of their own m arriage could’ ve been enough to get them there — and the y ’re running out of air.”

“These are things that bury a couple,” she adds. “The question is, can you get back to where you were and do it all afresh?” Goldman point out that the same could be asked of a country and its people in the aftermath of a brutal regime. “The play does hit surrealism and metaphor, but it’s grounded,” she explains. “We never say ‘Pinochet’ in the play, but you hear his voice on the radio. There are different elements in the performance experience that give the essence of oppression.” Goldman chose to premiere “La Cueca” in East Hampton because of Solar’s gallery space, which she feels will enhance the play’s effects. She explains that part of the experience is to make audience members feel as if they are in the bunker with the couple. Lighting and other elements in Solar’s downstairs gallery area will be designed to enhance the feeling of isolation, making the play more of a performance piece than it would be in a traditional theater. “This play wouldn’t work in a huge auditorium,” says Goldman. “It’s about the suffocation and claustrophobia — I want people to feel they’re living through it and not watching from the outside.” “I want the audience to feel like they’re being buried alive.” The inspiration for “La Cueca” can be traced to 2003 when Goldman spent a year studying literature at the Uni-

versity of Santiago in Chile. There, she came into contact with many creative people who had strongly opposed Pinochet. “I was working with a lot of poets, professors, novelists or those who had been in exile and had come back,” recalls Goldman. “One woman was telling me that she had lived in the same building as the man who had tortured her and she saw him all the time in the elevator.” “I was interested in what happened to the writers and artists during the Pinochet period and how language and art changes under regimes,” says Goldman. “I was fascinated by the period.” While Goldman came to Chile with a bit of knowledge about the Pinochet years, the reality of how people were coping on a day to day basis in Chile in the aftermath of the regime shed new light on the subject. “I lived with a family who was pro-Pinochet,” says Goldman. “They felt life under [Salvador] Allende was horrible, they couldn’t get basic food, like bread or eggs.” “So I lived with this family that supported him, and for me that was so strange,” she adds. “At the university I worked with writers — most of whom were exiled and were against Pinochet.” Goldman quickly came to realize that for many people, there was a sense, not only of justification, but of denial about Pinochet’s regime as well. The woman of the house where she lived, for example, didn’t believe any of the stories Goldman brought home from the university. “She thought they were making them up,” recalls Goldman. “Even when they found current evidence, like bones, she would say it was media propaganda, and ‘our economy is so much better now.’ She still believed in what Pinochet did and felt he did the right thing for the country.” “I’m neutral so I listened to both sides,” adds Goldman.

“To live with them was interesting.” Eventually, it struck Goldman that at a basic level, there really isn’t much difference between the machinations of lovers in turmoil and those of a political regime and its people. “After I had been in a number of relationships, it occurred to me that lies and the pressure of a government can be like a relationship,” she says. “So I decided to look at relationships like that.” For audiences, experiencing “La Cueca” at this point in time may evoke thoughts of other regimes — including the one overthrown last week by the Egyptian people and those now under scrutiny in several more Arab countries where citizens have, for too long, felt the weight of their own governments pressing down on their human rights. “I think there’s always periods of time where we find these oppressive regimes,” says Goldman. “Any time countries resort to murder or torture for control, it’s another kind of betrayal … which is what this play’s about.” “The heart of it is a relationship representing this oppression. These two people trying to talk to each other and unbury themselves — if they want to,” she adds. “It is only after they uncover their past that they can truly discover one another.” “La Cueca” is presented by The Box Productions and directed by Ben Sargent. It will be performed at Solar (44 David’s Lane, East Hampton) on Friday and Saturday, February 18 and 19 at 7 p.m., and again next weekend on February 25 and 26, also at 7 p.m. Admission is $20 ($18 for senior citizens). The show will be followed by a wine and pisco reception with the cast and director

t h e sag ha r b o r e x p r e s s

S E E STR E N A E N NUE VA YOR K OBR A DE TEATR O QUE TR A NSC UR R E E N CHIL E
UNA ESTADOUNIDENSE QUE ESTUDIÓ EN SANTIAGO ES LA RESPONSABLE DE “LA CUECA”, OBRA QUE DESTACÓ EL NE W YORK TIMES.

Juan Ignacio Silva
El New York Times tiene sus ojos puestos en Chile. El influyente diario no sólo recomendó hace unas semanas elpaís como el destino más atractivo para visitar en 2011, sino que además acaba de destacar en sus páginas a “La cueca”,una obra de teatro que transcurre en Santiago y que seestrena el viernes 18 en Nueva York. Pero aunque el argumento gira en torno a una pareja que vive en un búnker subterráneo bajo el régimen de Pinochet, no hay ningún chileno involucrado en el montaje. Todo se explica porque la estadounidense Andrea Goldman, escritora y coprotagonista de “La cueca”, vivió en Chile en 2003 mientras estudiaba Literatura en la Universidad Católica: “La llamé así porque la cueca es la danza tradicional chilena. Y estaba muy interesada por la idea de ‘la cueca sola’ que surgió durante el régimen de Pinochet”. Al teléfono desde Nueva York, Goldman dice que el marco político sirve como trasfondo para el tema central: “Mi idea es hablar sobre el deterioro de una relación amorosa de quince años, y cómo se puede recomponer el amor de una pareja que ha pasado por mentiras, traiciones y toda clase de problemas”. Según la autora, lo que más llamó la atención del diario estadounidense fue el lugar de estreno de la obra: el sótano de la Galería de Arte Solar, ubicada en el barrio de East Hampton en Nueva York. “Quiero integrar al público al ambiente opresivo que respira la obra, y la mejor forma de hacerlo era que descendiera bajo la tierra. También quería lograr una atmósfera íntima: no caben más de 40 personas por función”, agrega Goldman. Los 33 mineros La obra se presenta en un subterráneo. “Y las personas aquí han hecho una analogía con los mineros. Ha atraído gente a ver mi obra”, dice la autora.

El Mercurio

4/10/11 6:37 PM

el mercurio

http://www.mer.cl/modulos/catalogo/print_page.asp?printPage=/modulos/catalogo/Paginas/1260/2011/02/15/MERSTES011CC1502.swf

Page 1 of 1

WARNING: PERFORM ANCE E XPERIENCE M AY BE INTENS E AND VISCER AL F OR SOME.

th e e ast h amp to n star

S U RR EA L IMPR I SON M E N T
By Matthew Taylor

(Feb. 24, 2011) Descending the narrow staircase at Solar, the contemporary art and performance space on David’s Lane in East Hampton on Friday, one could not help but feel a chill down the spine, the eerie lighting and confused fellow theatergoers combining to create a menacing vibe. A metal door blocked entrance to the stage area itself, so 20-some people loomed outside it, wondering whether they had come to the right place. The evening brought the premiere of “La Cueca,” a short experiential performance piece based on a poem by its co-star and writer, Andrea Goldman. The sentiments it seeks to convey — the pain of memory, the problems of forgiveness, and the guilt and sorrow of a flawed marriage — were palpable even before the dialogue began, when a gruff-looking soldier, his garb harking back to the military dictatorship that was Pinochet’s Chile, grabbed people one or two at a time and pushed them into the main performance space, not letting them choose their seats but rather dictating the arrangement himself. Audience members were prisoners almost as soon as they entered. As the story — one of a husband and wife literally trapped underground — unfolded, the physical barriers served only to emphasize the stale pain of imperfect human relationships, the difficulty of true connection. Groans and wheezing dominate the first few minutes of the piece, their cyclical cacophony coming from the two characters as the seats filled up. When the house was full, the show began, and the ceaseless sounds of pained breathing overwhelmed us. The stage itself is unconventional — a cavelike space and quite filthy, with soil strewn across it. The two characters have been there for months or even years, and yet their pain seemed fresh and infinite. The profound themes did not prevent Ms. Goldman from adding some bits of dark humor to the situation, producing more than a few laughs from the entranced audience.
recalling the surrealism and par anoia of the rel ationship s conve yed in the work s of the danish filmm aker l ars von trier, the piece also e vokes richard yates and

his the me of middle-cl a ss ennui — a m arriage tr oubled by infidelit y and pl agued by infertilit y but perhap s more important, an unnerving sense of entr apment.

When our husband and wife reach a certain amount of closure in their discussion of their pained years together, it is rather a forced one. Forgiveness, we learn, is not always a simple choice, or even a choice at all. It is sometimes thrust upon us, whether we accept it or not. The piece closes with La Cueca itself, the national dance of Chile, bursting with eroticism and a sense of simultaneous physical control and emotional liberation. The dance is profound not just for its romantic and sexual implications but because it served as a symbol of defiance to Pinochet’s rule: traditionally danced in front of men as a sort of mating ritual, the dance was kept alive by women and their friends, a protest for their missing lovers, perhaps political prisoners of the dictator.
ms. goldm an dominates, with her dancing capping a gripping perform ance a s the tortured wife, the pl ay and the poem fr om which it is derived inspired by her time a s a student in santiago. her closeness to the m aterial is apparent in her aggressive, focused acting.

At under an hour, the piece itself is relatively short, and benefits from the steady direction of Ben Sargent, a graduate of the conservatory at the Moscow Art Theater School. Rounding out the cast are Abraham de Funes as the husband and Brian Wicker as the menacing soldier. “La Cueca” will be performed again tomorrow and Saturday at 7 p.m.

THE PIECE CLOS ES WI TH L A CUECA ITSELF, THE NATIONAL DANCE OF CHILE, BURSTING WITH ER OTICISM AND A SENSE OF SIM ULTANEOUS PHYSICAL CONTR OL AND EMOTIONAL LIBER ATION.
th e e ast h amp to n star

L A CU EC A
By Rocio Fidalgo

East Hampton received the debut of “La Cueca,” an experimental theater play that was presented through two weekends in February at the Solar art gallery. The piece, written and starred by Andrea Goldman, tells the story of a couple living trapped in a bunker during the dictatorship of the late president of Chile Augusto Pinochet. While both try to survive the time enclosed and running out of air, they also try to survive from their 15 year marriage, presenting an analogy between the political situation and the marital one. The play was successfully shown in Solar’s basement, simulating the feeling of being buried and inviting the audience to share the experience. The production called La Cueca makes reference to the national dance of Chile because, as Goldman explains, she was interested in the idea of the “cueca sola” that emerged during Pinochet’s regime, where women would dance in demonstration of protest and pain. According to the author, who lived in Chile in 2003 while she was studying literature, her personal experience and the country’s political history inspired her to create the play. “That period was really fascinating for me, what happened to people, to language and to poetry. How it evolved metaphorically, how writers had to use metaphor because of the censorship of what was going on. Something in that whole idea spoke to me,” Goldman explains, becoming evident of its use in La Cueca. Although the play was advertised under the warning of how intense it could be, the audience response was positive and all scheduled shows were completely sold out. “It seems like people have really been moved by the play in different ways. I think a lot of people have come with open minds because they don’t know what to expect, they know it’s going to be different, but they don’t know exactly what it’s going to be. They came open and that was wonderful. It’s evident that they have been touched by it,” Goldman said, something that her co-star Abraham De Fundes also thinks “we felt people’s impressions and I think that in some way we have touched them,” he explains. For Esperanza Leon, owner of the gallery Solar, the play commemorates the 10th anniversary of Solar in East Hampton. “I think this play was the perfect start to commemorating our 10

years. A short piece of intimate experience and by no means conventional. I liked the idea of breaking the mold and making something new.”

the pl ay, t h at called t he at t ent ion of im portant local and int ernat ional media, finished wit h success, fulfilling t he e x pectat ions of t he audience and t he pr oduct ion t ea m, t h at work ed mont h s on goldm an’s concep t, “ it meant so m u ch to me t h at people supp ort ed it.”

l a vo z l ati na

ART A N D T H E ATRE : L A CU EC A AT SOL A R G A L L E RY
Marion W. Weiss
if thi s cr i t ic didn ’ t know bet ter, l a st we e k ’s pl ay ( l a c u e c a ) at sol a r g a llery se e me d mor e like a jou rne y ba c k to the 196 0 s , whe r e “h a ppe nings” a nd off- off br oadway ( l ike ne w yor k’s l a m a m a e x pe r i me n ta l t he at r e ) first de veloped a nd thri v e d . in a n u tshe ll, it didn ’ t m at ter if pl aygoe rs “l ike d ” l a c u ec a or not: it ’s what the y “ e xper ie nc e d ” t h at m at tered m ost.
And what they experienced was pretty similar to the play’s characters themselves: isolation, anxiety, frustration and claustrophobia. Thus, the audience became part of the emotional dynamics. Yet, there was no physical action, per se, only a stream of consciousness and memories coming from the female and male protagonists (played by Andrea Goldman and Abraham De Funes). There were also no references initially to time and place. Confusing? You bet, but also mesmerizing. The audience got a clue of what was in store for them, however, when they first entered the small, dark space leading to what was usually the gallery venue. A sinister man wearing army fatigues guided (or rather pushed) playgoers into chairs overlooking the floor/stage. Everyone was forbidden to talk; individuals who had come together were separated. A man lay on a wooden platform, moaning and breathing heavily. A woman leaned against the wall, occasionally crying out softly. The transformation of the normal gallery space, with its white walls and brightly colored art pieces, was outstanding. Instead of a squeaky clean room, the environment was dark, dank and definitely dirty. Ashes enveloped the floor, black streaks covered one wall. Two planks of wood, each with a single large hole, dominated the same grey wall. A few concrete blocks were scattered around the space. Such a minimalist setting was effective in establishing a “no-man’s land” ambience, which was the playwright’s purpose. Was this a jail, a house? What country was this? What year? The aural effects (which were heard but not seen) were more specific, but no less artistic, ranging from sounds of bombs going off to music-box melodies. These sounds did much to create a sense of what was happening in the outside world or in the characters’ minds. (It’s curious that unrelated sounds from a TV or radio were also heard, but this critic attributed them coming from the living quarters above the gallery space.) Lighting effects added to the play’s overall aesthetic and thematic qualities as well. A single light bulb hanging in the middle of the room would flicker from time to time, reminding us that “reality” was fleeting. When it went out completely, the woman lit a candle: the scene evoked a more fantasy-like, sensual and somehow hopeful mood as the couple made love. What’s especially noteworthy, however, was the setting’s total sensual emersion. Lights from the private home where the Solar Gallery is located were dim; so, also, was the pathway illumination leading to the gallery entrance. This illumination was placed inside concrete blocks, the same blocks that graced the play’s setting. La Cueca didn’t start with the utterance of the first words by the actors. Rather, it began with the audience walking up to the Solar Gallery. La Cueca will be performed this Friday and Saturday, February 25 and 26, at 7 p.m. at the Solar Gallery in East Hampton. Call 631-907-8422 for tickets. Reservations are necessary.

dan ’s pap e rs

SOL AR CELE BR AT E S 1 0 Y EAR A N NIV ERSA RY WI T H PER F OR M ANC E PI E CE SET I N PI NO CHET ’S C H I L E
a n origin a l t he at e r pie ce looking at a tum u ltu ou s t ime in chile w il l de but in t w o w e e kends of perform a nc es.

By Pat Rogers

Through the gallery’s emphasis on exhibiting artists of Latin American descent, SOLAR Contemporary Art & Design will premiere a short play that channels the experience of Chileans during Pinochet’s reign, while also marking its 10th anniversary. “La Cueca,”written by Andrea Goldman and presented by The Box Productions, depicts the emotional struggles of a long-time married couple as they battleforair while buried alive. The play explores memory, forgiveness and the process of rediscovering what was good after years of pain and guilt changed things, said Goldman. “La Cueca” was inspired by time Goldman spent in Chile in 2003. She recounted her experience of hearing people deny abuses that occurred during Pinochet’s regime, she said. The play is set in Chile under his rule. “I found it fascinating the support some people had for this gory regime even as there were mass graves unearthed in the ‘90s,” said Goldman, who performs in the experimental theatre piece with Abraham De Funes. “There were people who believed media propaganda that it wasn’t true and nothing had happened and Pinochet was a good man. It was amazing to me.This is a small country that had been through so much and had to live in the same spaces that now were changed. There’s a combustible element living with a tumultuous past in the present.”

Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte claimed power in a military takeover in 1973. Pinochet ran Chile through 1990 and was described as a “brutal dictator who repressed and reshaped Chile for nearly two decades and became a notorious symbol of human rights abuse and corruption,” in Pinochet’s obituary published by The New York Times on Dec. 11, 2006 and written by Jonathan Kandell. Goldman channels the experience of Chileans through the experience of a married couple. Finding themselves buried alive and facing death, they each attempt to “unbury themselves” to try to rediscover the qualities that first attracted them to each other,” Goldman said. “Everyone can relate to the concept of a relationship,” Goldman said. “What should be so simple is so complex.” Ben Sargent directs. This is the first time SOLAR is hosting a performance. SOLAR owner and director Esperanza Leon felt holding a performance would shake things up a bit. The gallery’s lower location will connect audiences with the actor’s underground struggle, Leon said. The gallery will be emptied of all art to enhance the experience, she said. The play’s Chilean setting marries well with the gallery’s emphasis of exhibiting artists of Latin American descent. Leon was born in Venezuela, raised in East Hampton and attended college in Canada.

After graduating, she spent five years in Venezuela, then moved back to East Hampton in 2000. She’s always had an affinity for art made by Latin American artists, Leon said. She kept true to her passion when she opened SOLAR in 2001 in East Hampton Village, she said. After a few years, SOLAR moved into the Davis Lane location. “I love what I do and it’s almost never occurred to me to stop doing it,” she said about her gallery’s longevity.” SOLAR also holds exhibitions in other spaces including in a New York City gallery and at DevlinMcNiff, where the exhibition, “Aurelio Torres: East End” is currently on view. Other plans are in the works to mark the gallery’s milestone. They include a Cuban art show featuring the private collection of an international art collector, which is still in development. SOLAR Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary with Performance Piece Set in Pinochet’s Chile - East Hampton, NY Patch “La Cueca” will be performed on Feb. 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. Space is limited and reservations are required.

e ast h amp to n patc h

The true beginning of this piece happened several years ago with a small gift of inspiration while I was living in Santiago. Chile is a country that I came to know and love. The story of La Cueca was inspired by the people, the history and the cultural memory of an incredible place, but also from my own experiences with love and loss. I came to question this idea of oppression within relationships and if indeed it is possible to begin again. For La Cueca, this is the beginning. It is a piece that will continue to evolve in ways that I can’t even yet imagine. We hope that you will continue to be a part of the artistic growth of this piece. Thank you for braving this journey and sharing this story with us. Andrea