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Shelter Theater’s Kiss of the Spider Woman Celebrates Latin American Culture

Rodrigo Demian and Christian Baumgartner

By Alan Jordan

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

The intensely compelling novel was written in 1979, and then came the groundbreaking dramatic play, the award-winning film, and then the Broadway musical. The rarely performed play about two very different Latino men in an Argentine prison in the 1970s is being brought back by popular demand after its sold-out run at Shelter Theater in February. It’s a harrowing tale of intrigue, love, betrayal, and survival. This San Miguel de Allende production also is a celebration of Latin American culture. Christian Baumgartner from Venezuela and Rodrigo Demian from México play the lead roles.

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 30s and 40s animated and empowered Puig’s entire literary career. In his novels, he repeatedly fused details of ordinary lives with vivid images from films, both actual and imagined. 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.

In an interview in 1985, 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 provide 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.”

For tickets and more information on this production of Kiss of the Spider Woman, go to



Kiss of the Spider Woman

Starring Rodrigo Demian and Christian Baumgartner

November 29–December 9

Shelter Theater, Vicente Guerrero 4

Tickets: Reserved Seating: 250–300 pesos


Doors open 1/2 hour early for refreshments in our café



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