Friday
September 19, 2014

The one woman show La maestra serial opens tonight in BA for another season

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The redoubtable school teacher returns

Lucila Gandolfo in a scene of La Maestra Serial.
By Alfredo Cernadas
For The Herald
Gonzalo Demaría is a versatile, busy man of the theatre (playwright, actor, director, composer) who had three plays on stage last year: El diario del Peludo, Conurbano I and La maestra serial. The latter is a very original, entertaining and amusing monologue in which he flaunts his ability to use the intricacy of the Spanish language to create unexpected situations. Indeed, to begin with, the action takes place in a room full of desks, which could be a conference hall, a schoolroom or — due to what is going to happen — a police station.

The play — directed by Martín Blanco — begins with an elegant middle class woman dressed in a discreet but smart trench coat. She indignantly addresses an invisible police officer who asks her questions, after she has been arrested for a misdemeanour the kind of which is guessed by the audience thanks to what the irate lady says. She happens to be a school teacher who has been dismissed from her job. Which she finds doubly offensive for she, a fourth generation teacher, is the great granddaughter of Mrs. Miller, one of the North American school teachers President Sarmiento hired to teach in Argentina. And she happened to arrive on September 11, 1888, on the very date of his death, in what eventually became Schoolteacher’s Day.

The present teacher is angrily frustrated because her project has failed and she describes a dark present for today’s education. Moreover, she intends to inform the officer how right she is and why she committed her alleged misconduct, discharging a barrage of reasons and projects to the hapless policeman, telling him how she singlehandedly plans to educate the brutes on the streets. She also describes two rather unexpected meetings with a couple of them and she rambles along speaking her mind about education’s problems.

Demaría has an admirable command of the language that he uses with incomparable wit, avoiding the pitfalls into boredom that this subject could have driven him into. He is critical and speaks his share of truth but in a very amusing manner, much to the audience’s glee. The staging (Gonzalo Córdoba) has been brilliantly conceived and the use of space and light most intelligently achieved, with truly theatrical results. I knew Lucila Gandofo as an outstanding singer and was very pleasantly surprised at her masterful, imposing portrait of the amusing, irate teacher, of which director Martín Blanco doubtlessly has a lot of credit to take.

When and where: Sundays at 8pm at El camarín de las musas (Mario Bravo 960). Tickets from 70 pesos (for students and pensioners) and 100 pesos general admission.

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