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Kiss of The Spider Woman is a Celebration of Latin American Culture


By Alan Jordan

On this 40th anniversary of the award-winning novel, El beso de la mujer araña by the renowned Argentinean writer Manuel Puig, Caja Negra has the honor of presenting his original play, Kiss of The Spider Woman, in English.

The intensely compelling novel was written in 1979. The groundbreaking dramatic play, the award-winning film, and the Broadway musical followed.

The current production now playing at Shelter Theater in San Miguel de Allende takes us back to the original play in celebration of this unique tale of two very different Latino men in an Argentine prison in the 1970s. It’s a harrowing tale of intrigue, love, betrayal, and survival.

Manuel Puig was an experimental realist who searched for what he called “a new form of popular literature.”

He liked to recount the ordinary melodramas of everyday life in novel ways. And he would often let his characters tell their own stories without comment, in a cinematic style.

The Hollywood films of the 1930s and 40s animated and empowered Mr. Puig’s entire literary career. In his novels, he repeatedly fused details of ordinary lives with vivid images from films, both actual and imagined.

In an interview in 1985 with the New York Times, Mr. Puig recalled how movies had a liberating influence on his life. He observed that “not everybody is born in a big country with access to other forms of culture, education.”

“There are many people who live in the sticks and have no means,” he said. “They are soaking in machismo, in a hostile environment. The movies provided them, as they did me, an alternative. They help you to not go crazy. You see another way of life. It doesn’t matter that the way of life shown by Hollywood was phony. It helped you hope.”

Puig’s mother was a confirmed moviegoer and introduced Manuel to this pastime when he was three years old. The first film he remembered was The Bride of Frankenstein, which he said he expected to haunt him as long as he lived.

When Juan Perón returned to power in Argentina, Mr. Puig went into self-imposed exile, with stays in Mexico, Brazil, and the United States.

The current production at the Shelter Theater also celebrates Latin American actors—Christian Baumgartner from Venezuela and Rodrigo Demian from Mexico.

Kiss of The Spider Woman is performed in English, and there are just four remaining performances.



Kiss of The Spider Woman

Directed by Alan Jordan

Fri and Sat, Mar 2–3, 7pm

Matinees: Sat and Sun, Mar 3–4, 3pm

Shelter Theater, Vicente Guerrero 4

Reserved Seating 250 Pesos

Tesoros Boutique at Biblioteca




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