Guillermo Cacace is definitely one of the most prolific playwrights of the Argentine independent theatrical scene. Cacace’s latest proposal goes hand in hand with the re – opening of Teatro San Martín as the play was chosen to inaugurate Casa Cubierta, after eighteen months of refurbishment.
“Parias” is a free adaptation of Anton Chekov’s first and least represented play, Platonov. The play disappeared for decades until it was found in 1922 inside a security box in a bank in Moscú. Faithful to the original, this version tells the story of Mijail Platonov, an unscrupulous and cruel man who lives together with his wife, three lovers and the resentment of all the ones who come close to him. Platonov has no idea whatsoever of the harm he provokes on the ones who love him blindly, neither does he stop to think about the consequences of his actions. This rural drunkard teacher generates real whirlwind everywhere he goes as he is absolutely incapable of understanding the nature of his acts.
Cacace’s twist to the play was to conceive it as something not yet finished, a show that needs the audience’s attention to fill in the blanks, a piece which will only trace its organic evolution in the process of its performance. The play’s central lines of conflict are what keep the plot moving for almost two hours: Platonov’s love affairs and the family’s property loss. However, what makes this such an inviting proposal is not specifically Chejov’s plot; instead, it is the incredible ability all actors, director, musicians and staff had to depict a truly decaying atmosphere in which at first sight all the spectator can feel is an absolute chaos. The stage resembles a mismatching patchwork in which the only guiding threat appears to be misery, agony and deterioration. The Zarist Pre- Revolutionary Russia is successfully portrayed by means of combining typical costumes together with an Adidas tracksuit. A live band and recorded audios make sure the Russian touch is never taken for granted. The scenography is composed by a few scattered chairs and sofas which are always ready to cushion each character; there downfall is just too vertiginous.
Russian passions are displayed magnificently in a committed proposal whose main intention is not only to shelter these parias (person who belongs to an inferior social class) from the cold, dark, wintry, Russian night, but also from their personal sheer agonies. Chejov’s texts are more alive than ever proving that universal theatre and literature can stand the test of time and the touch of avant – garde playwrights.