Theater: Alexis Sebastián Méndez’s “Trastos viejos”

Playwright Alexis Sebastián Méndez opens the Festival of Puerto Rican Theater sponsored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) with his play “Trastos viejos”  [Old Junk], directed by Lynette Salas. The theater piece opens next Friday, March 19, 2010, at 8:30pm at the Francisco Arriví Theater (formerly the Matienzo Theater) in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Performances will continue on March 20 at 8:30pm and Sunday at 4:00pm.

Although spectators have highlighted the comedic scenes in his theatrical productions, he prefers to describe “Trastos viejos” as “drama with black humor.” The piece presents a group of elderly people in a nursing home, who led by one in particular, decide to kill the nurse that cares for them because they think that she wants to harm them. According to the author, the text moves away from his earlier work, such as “Suero, sexo y sangre” [Serum, sex and blood] and closer to his book of tragicomic stories “Alegres infelices” [Merry Unhappy People].

Méndez explains, “When writing irreverent comedies, even if there is social commentary, one is seeking laughter. But here (“Trastos viejos”), laughter is the condiment for the story. There is elder abuse, references to death, to solitude, and it is harder to do this within the genre of humor.” The authors says that to have laughter and tears within the same context, which mirrors life itself, is quite challenging. That is why he was delighted that leading Puerto Rican actress Gladys Rodríguez “accepted the lead role (Montserrat) because she dominates both drama and comedy.”

Asked about the future, the author says that a purely dramatic text without space for humor is not consistent with his creative nature. “Although serious drama usually gains more intellectual respect, this is not what I am trying to express. If to sweeten the pill, one must use humor, then so be it.”

For full article (in Spanish), see

For more information and tickets, call Ticket Center at (787) 792-5000.

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