Álvaro H is a 50-year-old journalist who after being rejected for one of his notes he loses his job. The theatre play follows the Álvaro’s journey, his friends and a migrant. Teatro Ictus presents this drama where the unemployment and bad jobs are important actors inside the journalist’s drama.
“Doing the cleaning in a place as messy that it seemed Gaspar Noé would enter any time to record one of his scenes withous censorship”
In the newspaper where Álvaro works, Karim does the cleaning. When he is fired, she is the only person who asks him honestly how he is. She tries to lift his spirits but the language barrier is powerful. She speaks Creole and he speaks Spanish. Finally she gives him a note and he leaves his phone number in case she needs help with something. She will return with the pains of a migrant woman, but the journalist will not pay attention to her again..
After trying in several media, Álvaro decides to ask his childhood friends for help, so that they can get him a job even in jobs other than journalism. This is how he arrives at a job in a call center, and then to another job, doing the cleaning in a place as messy that it seemed Gaspar Noé would enter any time to record one of his scenes withous censorship. Two attempts to pass the rag and Álvaro begins to invent an accident to excuse himself from working.
At the beginning, in the newspaper, there are three lesser characters who in a flattering way praise Alvaro so that he continues to help them with their work, although they knew a long time ago about the possibility of dismissing the journalist. They, of accelerated and almost maniacal gestures, had already discussed the weak points of the journalist, but they were not warned. And then, in the call center, the same actors present the same characters in a different job, being an archetype of workers who have superficial relationships with their office partners based on an interested cynicism. The contrast between these office relationships and the friends of a lifetime is one of the elements that must be rescued throughout the play, since in none of the works do they establish such human and true relationships as with those friends of his youth.
The routine of the media is one of the elements that are very well represented in the dramatic play, the bustle, the hierarchy, the urgency for the scoop, the issues that are discarded because there is another news that demands immediacy. The same goes for the friend who is a cashier in a super market, or the friend who works in the call center, where everyone works inside cubicles so small that there is no room for a fourth day to go to the bathroom. The realistic – and at the same time ironic – way in which these works are shown finds its high point in the representation of the Thais who work in the restorán of the upstart friend, ready to follow every movement of their boss from the ground. They are fruits of the collective creation of the work, testimonies of the graduation of the Academy of Christian Humanism that together gave form to this theatre play.
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Álvaro’s group of friends get together at a bar to have a good time. They have a conversation, they laugh. The upstart friend begins to insinuate itself to one of the friends of Alvaro, while the discussion continues. Then she begins to raise her hand up her leg until another of the friends intervenes and then Álvaro says “do not exaggerate”. But no, she exaggerates as much as she considers necessary. She is tired of guys like the upstart friend feeling the right to step over their lives, of all aspects of her life, so she says, “The space is being reduced to people like you, people like you are going to end up.”
The upstart friend, who left the town, who has a Thai food restaurant, also offers Álvaro a job. A stand in the restaurant where now Karim, the Haitian migrant teacher, is a waitress. Álvaro tries to greet her in an affectionate way, but she rejects him and even offended she pulls him away. Then the friend sits quietly to give a speech about the effort it took to get to the position in which he is, partner of a restaurant where migrant workers live crowded and do sexual favors to keep their jobs. Can Álvaro work there? Can you go back to work?
At the end of the work is the same Álvaro who will answer these questions, after releasing a meaningful speech about working conditions in Chile. There is a question that is worth to highlight. “If we were not born in a poor country why there is so much poverty on this side of the corner?”.
Álvaro H, directed by Paula Zuñiga, has performances until June 15 at 8.00p.m. at sala la Comedia in Teatro Ictus.