Breathtaking to watch. . . . Visually wonderful, but disturbing in the story it tells.
Based on the graphic novel of the same name by French writer Régis Jauffret, Historia de Amor addresses the hardly distinguishable boundary between reason and madness, love and domination. An English teacher abducts the young Sofia and turns her into his victim, concubine, and mother. He takes over her life in multiple ways, leaving her with no choice but to accept her situation and turn inward for solace. His sick, twisted love becomes Sofia’s only possibility for humaneness in a world where criminals act with impunity and witnesses remain silent. It is a repulsive story, and seeing it portrayed is extremely difficult.
The achievement of Teatrocinema is in choosing the graphic novel to explore the limits of story and the possibilities of emerging media. Comic-book-style artwork and acting, intertwined with 2D and 3D video footage and traditional staging, immerse audiences in the world that is being created. The poetics of images and the merged narrative techniques of drama and cinema in Historia de Amor tell a terrifying, true modern story. Fragmented lives are reflected in all of Teatrocinema’s work, and its creators speak openly about the fragmentation imposed on many Chileans’ lives by 17 years of dictatorship. Art director Laura Pizarro offers Historia de Amor as: “an allegory of abuse, mostly about abuse of women, so in that sense we could say the play has a feminist perspective. But it is broader than that. It is about a lack of rights, about fragmentation, about the devaluing of the human being.”
In Historia de Amor two projection screens are displayed in a unique stage setup, employing set design to distance the viewer emotionally and physically. The first screen, a translucent scrim, divides the stage and in order to facilitate the projection of animated images onto and around the actors, with which they can interact. Behind the stage, another screen projects background images and scenography. Through a deft combination of digital imaging, mirrors, and intricate staging and choreography, Teatrocinema achieves a seamless fusion of live art and cinema. This fusion, combined with the comic-book aesthetic and black-and-white palette of much of the animation, highlights the fragmented, solitary psyches of Sofia and her captor with more nuance than theater or film alone could.
Performed in Spanish with English supertitles
Recommended for mature audiences
Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes with no intermission
About the Artists
Teatrocinema was founded in 1987 by puppeteer Jaime Lorca, performer-designer Laura Pizarro, and writer-director Juan Carlos Zagal. They explain they chose their company’s original name “La Troppa” (The Troop) to suggest “a troop of artists marching across the demolished horizons of the cultural decay that our country had been pushed to.” The group toured extensively as La Troppa with El Santo Patrono (1987), Salmon-Voodoo (1988), Rap del Quijote (1989), Pinocchio (1991), Lobo (1992), Viaje al Centro de la Tierra (1995), Gemelos (1999), and Jesús Betz (2003). In 2005 it was renamed Teatrocinema to highlight the way its diverse artists unite theater and cinema. Historia de Amor is part of a trilogy that includes Sin Sangre (Without Blood, 2007) and El hombre que daba de beber a las mariposas (The Man Who Fed Butterflies, 2010), which toured to Lincoln Center Festival; Théâtre de la Ville and Odeón; Teatro San Martín, Buenos Aires; Piccolo Teatro, Milan; and festivals in Avignon, Bogotá, Berlin, Edinburgh, Guanajuato, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, and Vienna.
Juan Carlos Zagal and Laura Pizarro were both born in Santiago and trained at the Catholic University of Chile. Zagal is director, performer, writer, and composer for Teatrocinema. Pizarro was a performer, writer, and director for their work as La Troppa and is art director and designer for Teatrocinema.
Touring support is made possible in part by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile. Historia de Amor is a coproduction of Fundación Teatro a Mil, Santiago, Chile (FITAM).