The expectations regarding the artwork were in relation to the Oscar winner of 2017, Moonlight (2016), where Chiron, poor, black and homosexual, experiences heavy situations with regard to theses three realities. In the first minutes of I want to be a white heterosexual man as well we see, likewise, the main character of the piece suffers these three ways of discriminations: she is poor, black and lesbian, in addition she is woman. This is the support of the piece, that will be threatened when the stage vanes start rotating and the tragedy tone becomes a dark comedy, separating it from the Oscar winner film at introducing the tragicomedy.
“She is por, black and lesbian, in addition she is a woman”
The protagonist’s conflict does not only happen because of the desire not to be discriminated against because of her love for women, she also wants the privileges with which white people are born. It is not enough for one or the other, he wants both. And this journey, this transit, is discovered little by little by the audience, deciphering clues that show us who is the protagonist after the new turn of the stage. And his happiness to be a man, or white, or heterosexual, is put to the test by a reality that does not stop showing its origin.
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This happens in the Patricio Bunster room of Matucana 100, where a large mechanism turns the stage, at times the action is on the first floor; Then he moves to the living room of a house, on the second floor. The engine turns and the scene changes, now we see an alley, now the home of a larger couple. The mechanical start-up activates time and fantasy, allowing the journey of the protagonist. The decontextualization, the parallel reality in which the young Haitian lesbian can be like Michael Jackson and reborn in the white race, the change to the humorous tone in the voice of the characters, are possible elements thanks to the rotation of this dramatic engine designed by Manuel Morgado, who is also the director, along with Germán Martínez for the work of Carla Zuñiga. The trocar reality is effective when raised from the young protagonist but is even more effective in the public when the role of the grandmother of the family is altered.
The grandma is a porn actor
To avoid spoilers, the situation would be this:
- Dad: (to child) I’m not your dad, your mom is not your mom, and your grandma is not your grandma.
- Child: My grandma is not my grandma?
- Dad: No, she is an actor that I hired.
- Child: But how is that, you wanted to say actress.
- Dad: No, he is an actor, a porn actor!
“The discussion become poignancy and laughters rise up”
And the audience laughs. And this is one of the great things about the theater, the play and Chile: the audience laughs and on stage the life of the son falls apart more and more. The next sentence adds more laughter, more decadence. The distortion of the spaces -the family dining room with its patriarchal roles- is a constant in the work, reinforced by this humor that is enjoyed from the seat, but in real life it is unimaginable. It is tragicomic. Dialogues plunge the finger into pathos and react with laughter. The public constantly receives what is not waiting, and likes it. It is enjoyed that the grandmother is a middle-aged actor who got used to being an old woman and does not want to leave the role even if the farce has ended. The father asks him to stop acting and the grandmother does not want to stop being a grandmother: she has affection for the grandson, she has dissolved the limits between her performance and her life. It poses a problem of the theater when the stage is blurred, which in turn is about the tables as the right space to address the meta drama, this theater that looks at itself: an unemployed actor is a mercenary that will be leased to interpreting roles whether there is a scenario that makes fiction explicit.
The life of the son is immersed in a great plot orchestrated to fake a normal life in a family that functional has little more than the current contract between people aware of the farce, is an atmosphere similar to the Truman Show (1998). And, like Truman, he seeks to get out of the egg in which he is locked up.
They cooked a dog and I stayed to eat
The vision of poverty is given by the protagonist, briefly, and by the naïve child of good that goes to the population to socialize and causes a bad time to his pregnant mother (“Mom, I tried the base paste”), Mother with her blond hair prepares dinner while the volume goes up to pop music. About the dinner, the son adds that in his visits to the population the poor family had nothing to eat. So, they cooked the dog … and stayed to eat. In this painting-this scenographic turn-there is no young Haitian, no settlers, no sexualities at the limit. She is a good mother, talking with her child of good, about topics that do not need “we who have raised you without any need”.
“But reality outpaces the intentions of this mother of status quo”
In a way, the seven actors that the Teatro del Antagonista company reflects in their performances the readings that Chilean society uses to distance themselves from realities like those of the protagonist, be like men who do not want to abandon their traditional domination roles, either as women they want to prolong their well-off situation, or as ignorant adolescents who appreciate being shown reality without veils, without moral obligations. The stage turns, the actress or actor who plays the protagonist as well.
What does not change with these turns is poverty. When the father decides to tell the son that the family is a lie, it is because he is affected by seeing the suicide of a Haitian girl who did not bear the reality of poverty. Seeing the exposed guts of the young woman turned him inside, guiding him to reveal this secret. The mother, in response, rushes to try to run the thick veil of José Donoso on these issues. But the reality overflows the intentions of this mother of the status quo. The son, now aware, now that he assumes that the population escapes to prove life without the permission of his parents, is the one who must decide between the realities of his parents.
I want to be a heterosexual white man as well provoking from the title onwards. It is an invitation to take charge of the difficulties of the migrants, of the needs of the minorities within those groups, of the way in which the country systematically generates the desire to be a man. They are changes that in fiction happen at the speed of the engine, but in reality take years. This theater helps make the transition to another Chile more bearable, by questioning heterosexual white men as the main, if not only, issuers of the nation story that should be constructed from diversity.