November 1, 2014
A story that may sound familiar to everyone
For the Herald
Written and directed by Patricio Abadi, El estadio de arena follows the reunion of two distant brothers on a fresh and familiar adventure. After the death of their father, Marcos (played by Santiago Gobernori) and Federico (played by Pablo Seijo) set out to fulfil their father’s last wish by returning to the place they used to go on vacation as children: an old soccer field called the Estadio de arena (stadium of sand) located in a remote and small town in Uruguay.
The set design of the play — conceived by Ariel Vaccaro — is especially powerful. Our first glimpse of the beach where the old soccer field used to be is striking. This immediately demonstrates the importance this place will have throughout the story. The use of real sand on stage adds a feeling of authenticity and accuracy to the scenes and the careful changing of back lights helps to identify changes in the passage of time. Music is an important element of the play as well, not only working as filler in between scenes, but also creating an important sense of intimacy and simplicity, which is enhanced when Marco plays the guitar.
Abadi highlights the contrast between the two brothers in a myriad of ways, one of which is costume design, taken care of by Mercedes Arturo. At first sight we can tell these characters are opposites. Federico, the eldest brother, dresses tidily in black-and-white while Marco, the youngest brother, is clad in sloppy, more casual attire. From the moment the brothers set foot on stage their differences are clear, even though at first they are unspoken.
After dealing with their father’s suicide and returning to their old soccer field, where only sand remains, it is clear that the only thing tying these brothers together are their memories. Some of them include Jazmín (played by Marina Glezer), a girl who grew up in the small Uruguayan town and knows the brothers from their vacation years. Though Federico is married, and already having problems with his wife after past flirtations, feelings begin to develop between him and Jazmín. Glezer manages to bring warmth and serenity to scenes that are otherwise filled with constant sibling confrontations, and serves as the link between the brothers and the town itself, often bringing news about what is happening.
It is clear that Federico wants to rebuild a family connection and bring his brother Marcos back into his life. Seijo (Federico) does the job well, convincingly mixing nostalgia and attachment into interactions with his brother. Gobernori (Marcos) is the anti-hero of the family and adds a sense of humour and fresh air to the tense subject matter with his impeccable timing. Both actors manage a tacit complicity which holds the audience’s attention throughout the play. This accomplishment is due to the talent of the actors as well as Abadi’s dual role: as a writer and director of the play.
This award-winning theatre piece presents an enjoyable and amusing perspective on an initially dramatic situation. Full of contemporary and familial references, El estadio de arena converges into a play that everyone can feel identified with.
Where and when
El estadio de arena at Teatro Sarmiento (Av. Sarmiento 2715). Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 9pm and Sundays at 8 pm. Tickets: 80 pesos, 40 pesos on Thursdays.@caritonog