New Play Explores a Latin American Dictatorship

Madres Plaza de Mayo

By Marcela Brondo

Armed with a megaphone, Hebe Pastor de Bonafini stood before a frenziedly cheering crowd in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

It was the late 1970s, and Bonafini was the founder of the Association of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, whose children had disappeared during the country’s “Dirty War.” The twentieth century bore witness to few human rights resistance movements as courageous as the one staged by Las Madres.

The Cold War divided the world into two antagonistic camps. In Argentina, the so-called Doctrine of National Security took hold to stop the dreaded advance of Communism, a fear that intensified in the wake of the Cuban revolution of the 1950s. Trade unionists, workers, teachers, students, militants, and partisans of the left—not to mention the civilian population in general, including pregnant women, children, the elderly, and the disabled—were victims of the National Reorganization Process implemented by the armed forces after the military coup of 1976 that brought Lieutenant General Jorge R Videla to power.

Under the pretext of rooting out subversives and imposing a neoliberal economic model, the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone, aided by the CIA-backed “Operation Condor,” unleashed one of the bloodiest episodes in the continent’s contemporary history. In Argentina alone, an estimated 30,000 suspected dissidents were kidnapped. Many were killed; some were thrown alive into the sea from airplanes; others were shot and buried in unmarked graves. Still others were forced to work as slave laborers in one of the 500 clandestine detention centers scattered about the country, where torture was common. In a 1995 interview, former Argentine naval officer Adolfo Scilingo equated the atrocities of the military regime he served with those of Nazi Germany.

The American playwright Stephanie Alison Walker, whose stepmother is Argentinean, has childhood memories of the dictatorship. La Troupe, San Miguel’s first-ever bilingual theater company, pays tribute to the brave “Mothers of the Disappeared” by presenting Walker’s new play, The Madres, which received its world premiere this past April in Los Angeles and will have its first performances outside the United States at the San Miguel Playhouse (Avenida Independencia 82) in Spanish with English supertitles. The play will run for eight performances, Thursdays through Sundays, opening Thursday, August 23, and closing Sunday, September 2. The playwright will be present for the first two performances. Reserved seat tickets are 300, 200, and 100 pesos, available at Boleto City, second floor of Mercado Sano (Ancha de San Antonio 123), and online at www.latroupemexico.com.

Walker’s powerful play dramatizes the women who risked everything by marching in the open, challenging state terrorism aimed at silencing opposition. These women began to march every Thursday starting in 1977 and continue marching to this day. This theatrical tribute is for all the fallen and resilient Latin American brothers and sisters, those who remain in the struggle for a more just world. Because “¡El Otro Soy Yo!”

 

Theater

Las Madres

By Stephanie Alison Walker

Aug 23–Sep 2

Thu, Fri, and Sat, 7pm

Sun, 3pm

Spanish with English supertitles

San Miguel Playhouse, Av Independencia 82

Reserved seat tickets:

300, 200, and 100 pesos

Box Office: Boleto City, on the second floor of Mercado Sano (Ancha de San Antonio 123)

Online sales: latroupemexico.com

 

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