Two dead bodies, a leather and anger cord ties the in-love drowned of the black lake, and with him, the two couples, friends and enemies, who bear the same pain, without finding answers in the guilt among each other. Am Schwarzen See doesn’t tell just a sad history, it shows the discomfort, it tells despair and strongly exhibits in the stage the torment of a unsatisfied and silenced life.
The work of Dea Loher, a German playwright, is characterised by the analysis and impact that political decisions generate in people’s private spheres. Under this premise, it is not surprising that the collective has selected her play Am Schwarzen See, translated as By the Black Lake, to present, for the second time, an intense, poetic and yet delicate social political problem. The first staging done by the same team was Prefiero que me coman los perros, and among its members we find Jesús Urqueta as director, Nona Fernández, Monserrat Estévez, Cristián Keim and Moisés Angulo as cast and Belén Abarza in Scenography and Lighting Design.
Red colours the stage from the very beginning, from a few shades of colour in the dressing room, to bathing the walls in an intense scarlet through a play of lights. And the fact is that they wear more than just clothes, the colour symbolises the grief, the condemnation, the uncertainty and the pain of their loss, feelings that are not seen during the first minutes, in which, on the contrary, the discomfort and the suspicion of knowing what is hidden behind that forced dialogue increases.
A reunion, thus initiating the conversation between the characters, remembering their first meeting 4 years ago: a boat, a lake, alcohol, burnt food and laughter. Repetitive, because there are words that do not want to be said, they prevent their tongues from reaching the place from which their minds have not been able to escape in the last 4 years. Silence is one of the most overwhelming spaces, where people think about the last word said, often “fear”; Or a space of intimacy and complicity is created between the audience and the cast, how not? if everything stops so that the 4 on stage remain firmly watching the seat. What does the audience have to do with it?
Everything goes dark and the lake emerges on four screens behind the cast. With him the catharsis. Do they still have Fritz’ room? This question, which many probably ask after a loss, opens up a discussion that only intensifies with the passing of the minutes, with the stories of the characters and their reactions. Each one carries the weight of his or her own choices. Monserrat Estévez as Else, a woman with heart problems who is constantly short of breath when she feels nervous or overwhelmed, so her partner John, Moses Angulo, takes care of her. Tied to his wife’s condition, he constantly seeks freedom and adventure through job transfers. He is more sincere and she more speculative, for the sake of her own mind. Parents of a young woman who at age 16 decided to end her own life at the hands of her partner, Fritz, Cleo’s son, personalized by Nona Fernandez, a woman in charge of business who regrets not having abandoned her husband, Eddie, Cristian Keim, who is not very good with numbers and rather spends his time giving away his belongings, money and responsibilities.
“Love is dead, death is love”, that was the conviction that led young people in love to sink in the same boat where their parents would have created such good memories. And sleeping pills. After being able to talk about death both marriages question each other and why. Amidst the guilt the riddle is not solved, probably because there is only one answer. “This place, here, is no longer beautiful,” said the letter written by the deceased. Then they question the place, and since they do not understand what they mean by “beautiful” they question having never talked to their children, they accuse each other of not having known them, going back and forth between the loss and their personal and couple problems. In spite of the different possibilities that would have caused the suicide, disrupting money, work and the cooling off of relationships, the characters drown in their own lake during an audiovisual presentation in which loud noises, long silences and desperate faces close the discussion without ever reaching the necessary debate: their own lives.
Two women and two men, one who takes on all the hard work and asks the bank for every last possible loan to keep her husband’s bar standing. He is not very interested, he likes drinking and good conversation more than running the household economy, simple, he believes that life is not for accumulation, she calls him a dreamer. The other is obedient, settles for a boring job so as not to rush her heart, follows in her husband’s footsteps wherever he goes, even though she dreams of belonging to a place and he waits at night for the exact minute when his heart stops beating to be free at last, because her illness is also his. Who is guilty, if not the owner of her life, of not deciding to do something different from her? Then we understand why novice love died… and of that we are all accomplices.
At the end of the show, the applause resounded as the phrase “No + State Violence” monopolized the screens that at some point showed the faces of the drowned characters.