To celebrate its 20th anniversary this month, New York’s Teatro Circulo is presenting the World Premiere of LA CAIDA DE RAFAEL TRUJILLO by playwright Carmen Rivera. The play is a study of the fall from power of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, despotic leader of the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961.

Playwright Carmen Rivera

Playwright Carmen Rivera

Playwright Carmen Rivera is best known in New York theater circles for her Obie-winning play La Gringa, which opened in the 1995-6 season and is still running at Repertorio Español.

LA CAIDA DE RAFAEL TRUJILLO is an intensely political play that not only deals with a specific historical event, but also suggests broader parallels with other, current socio-political situations throughout the world.

Recently Rivera discussed her influence for the Trujillo play in an interview with Diana Diaz. You can read the entire interview here. “I’ve always been drawn to violence, control and issues of subjugation,” Rivera told Diaz. “I found that in times of overwhelming oppression, a metaphoric language evolves as a survival mechanism to communicate truth. When the opportunity to write about Trujillo came my way, I jumped at it. It was an opportunity to apply my passion and all of my studies into one artistic experience…

“Because I worked on the play over the course of several years, I was able to see the connections between current events and the events I included in my play. This is especially true concerning Imperialist interference/conflicts in the geo-political landscape. I’m thinking of places like Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela, and the Sudan. Then, of course, there is Occupy Wall Street. When there are forces that impose oppression, there will always be forces that reject the subjugation and fight for liberation.”

Performances begin October 17, 2014. For tickets and information about LA CAIDA DE RAFAEL TRUJILLO, click here.


The Incredible Instance of Marlon Brando Being the Wrong Guy for the Role

A vortex of charisma. A supernova of hyper-realistic emotion. Marlon Brando was a Great Actor and a Gorgeous Creature. Of that there is no doubt.

Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire

Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire

But sometimes, it seems, there is such a thing as too much charisma. I discovered that when I went to see a theater-on-film showing of A Streetcar Named Desire from the Young Vic in London.

I was a stage-Streetcar virgin, having only seen the work in the famed Elia Kazan movie with Vivien Leigh and Brando. Directed by Benedict Andrews, the Young Vic production was a revelation to me because of its casting.

In the complex and sympathetic portrayal by Gillian Anderson, Blanche becomes the center of the story, as she should be. On the other side of the conflict, Stanley (Brando’s character in the movie) is an ordinary, small-minded guy as played by Ben Foster. It’s not his story. He just happens to be stuck in Blanche’s orbit for a while, and in for a very bumpy ride.

With these casting choices, the balance of the work shifted, making it into something the film could not attain because of Brando’s magnetism. And surely this particular brand of domestic mess was closer to the mess Tennessee Williams intended.