Amor al Aire Libre

de Carlos Pais (Argentina)

dirección Mario Marcel (Argentina)

Mayo 10 - Junio 2, 2007

en el Gunston Arts Center

Teatro 2

Traducción al inglés proyectada    -    Edades: 13+

Toda una vida encerrada entre cuatro paredes, desconociendo el sagrado sentimiento del amor y libertad. Un día se abre una puerta o ventana y todo cambia de color y el silencio se puebla de música.


Galería de Fotos

Críticas de Prensa

Crítica de Prensa

Bob Anthony, by Bob Anthony

DC Theatre Reviews, by Rosalind Lacy

Rich Massabny, by Rich Massabny

Sun Gazette, by Matt Reville (Staff Writer)

Washington Post, by Celia Wren

Bob Anthony
Drama and Dance

If Helen Hayes awards gave one for the funniest trio of the year, the three actors (Nucky Walder, Anabel Marcano and Peter Pereyra) of "Amor de aire libre" at Teatro de la Luna would win hands down. It is, by far, the funniest farce to come to theaters in years. It is the riotous story of a self-martyring mother, an incompletely nerdish son wishing to have adult and sexual freedom, and a new next-door girl neighbor who wants comfort time to effect a recommended analyst cure for her failure in male relationships. They all exist in a frustratingly noisy nine-story building and are always threatened by twins on the eighth floor who love to drop hammers on the heads of people passing on the street...the only missing joke is for one of the three main characters to return to the apartment holding a hammer which would have fallen on his head...particularly the bickering mother. Otherwise the plot is totally bizarre as the young man tries to invade the neighbor's apartment by stretching between the apartments' balustrades or slipping through a hole he has punched out through the wall. The funniest bit is, of course, his inability to get out of the hole due to sexual excitement which gives him girth!! Yes, you are correct, he could have simply walked into the hallway and knocked on the neighbor's door...that is the farcical ingredient...an easy solution to a dilemma. Peter Pereyra does an acrobatic gem as he straddles the two balcony rails in his first conquest attempt. Throughout the show, one enjoys the fine directorial comedic touches from a fine comedic actor/director Marcio Marcel. Mario Marcel also provides a fine, most believable, setting and sounds and the comedy is perfectly lighted by Ayun Fedorcha. This final 2006-2007 production by Teatro de la Luna is highly, highly recommended for the whole family. The surtitles are extremely well translated into English for the comfort of a non-hispanic audience. Go...go...go...and laugh your head off...like this critic. (To 6/2) (Reviewed by Bob Anthony)

DC Theatre Reviews

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Love in the Open Air

Comedy doesn’t flow easily from Latin American playwrights’ pens, according to Teatro de la Luna’s Artistic Director Mario Marcel, because of the past 25 years of political oppression,. But judging from the world premiere of Argentine playwright Carlos Pais’ satire Love in the Open Air (Amor al Aire Libre) now playing at Gunston Theatre Two, the Comic Muse is alive and functioning as a healing force.

GALA Hispanic Theatre gave us the 1960s warm-up in Griselda Gambaro’s The Walls (Las Paredes) last February. Now Carlos Pais in Love in the Open Air pokes fun at the past and casts a humorous eye on the next generation, the wives and sons of the generals.

A debut Argentine play deserves a superb director like Marcel, who came to this country in 1984. Only an Argentinean fully understands about the “disappeared ones,” the victims of kidnappings, torture and executions from the 1960s to the early 1980s during the Dirty War. This history will never be over for the descendants who, having lost their parents, struggle to understand themselves.

I’m taking off my gloves on this one because I love the play’s theatrical moments and the players’ larger-than-life acting style.  Playing her role to the hilt, Walder is simply brilliant as the demon-driven Asuncion, the tyrannical mother, who controls Nor’s every swallow of food, and monitors his comings and goings. She is a control freak who makes strafing attacks on her mousy son. He can do nothing right. “Read between the lines,” she barks when Nor reads the newspaper off-stage.

Walder makes her character, the wife of a deceased Argentine general, human. Here’s a performer who shares an intimacy with her audience that’s a joy to watch, from the moment she enters, humming to the beat of a military march. Everything that happens is a tragic moment for Asuncion. She takes serious lines that could fall dead, and makes them recognizable and funny. “You were a breach birth and you’re still difficult.” The humor gets earthy, to be sure.  ”Your father never saw me naked, only once when he walked into the bathroom without knocking.”

Meanwhile in the adjoining apartment 9-B, Julia (Anabel Marcano) suffering from a broken marriage and fallout from a bad relationship, talks to her empty bed. Nor (Peter Pereyra), the intimidated, beaten-down only son, is shy until he meets Julia, whom he calls Julia.  Making overtures from his balcony, we watch as the mouse becomes a man. Of course, smother mother forbids their contact “in the open air.”

All three actors succeed in making an absurd situation delightful. While the scene cuts and dialogue in Act I seem disjointed, Act II shifts into a fast forward pace with the balcony scenes that have to be a take-off on Romeo and Juliet.  Pereyra, who has the athletic prowess of an acrobat, imaginatively portrays the hilarious self-inflicted torture to which a love-struck, sheltered young man will submit. He stretches his body like a rope across the railings between two 9th floor balcony railings. You must see the rest of what he does. Remember Harold Lloyd’s slapstick humor, hanging from the hand of a clock?

When Nor disappears into Julia’s apartment, Asuncion goes ballistic; she imagines her son has been kidnapped by the anti-militarists. “They’ve kidnapped the son of a general,” she cries. (Here history helps: Since 1995, a new generation of activists, the children of the disappeared, have instigated an insurrection against the unpunished torturers of their revolutionary parents. Asuncion’s past guilt seems to be her demon torturer.)

But unlike Romeo and Juliet, misunderstandings are not tragic. Like a prisoner in a cell, Nor, imagining himself the romantic lover from The Count of Monte Cristo, courts Julia by tapping messages through their apartment walls. He eventually sledge hammers his way through, he’s so crazy in love. Julia is driven not just to the brink of the balcony but into believing she’s rented an apartment in an asylum. The only flaw with Marcano’s performance is the too rapid transition at the end to her falling in love with her suitor, her love-struck, mad torturer.

Impossible to forget is the stage image of two lovers seated on the general’s portrait that forms a bridge between their two balconies, between two generations, two worlds.   And Peter Pereyra’s memorable physical performance, legs stretched out like the capital A across two balconies.

Director Marcel, who doubles as set designer, shows us simultaneous action in a split-set, two-apartment design, a large one for the rich and a tiny one for the less fortunate.  Lighting designer Ayun Fedorcha creates subtle lighting shifts from soft blues to daylight, warm yellows. The cushy general’s apartment contrasts with the stark simplicity of a lower scale lifestyle.

 To ridicule the torturers, to derive humor from the decade of pain, denial and cover-up, are tributes to the power of Carlos Pais, who seems to draw from the Theater of the Grotesque tradition that has the courage to rise above injustice and rage and look with a sense of humor at the fallout from a shameful past.

Non-English speakers are advised to sit in the last two rows for a view of the drop-screen of English sur-titles.

Rich Massabny


“Arlington Weekly News TV” CHANNEL 69
Broadcast (2007): Thurs., 5/17, 6p.m.; Sat., 5/19, 10:30 a.m.;

Mon., 5/21, 8:30 p.m.

richmassabny@aol.com - www.richmassabny.com


"Love in the Open Air" ("Amor al Aire Libre")

Arlington’s own, Teatro De La Luna, has a not-to-be-missed delightful comedy by Argentean Carlos Pais called “Love in the Open Air.” The set is divided between two apartments. One has a loving, eccentric mother (Nucky Walder) and her timid, 30-something Mama’s boy, Nor (Peter Pereyra). On the other side is a pretty young woman, Julia (Anabel Marcano) who has just moved in and her apartment is a mess much, as we learn, as her life’s been. Both apartments—on the 9th floor—have adjacent balconies. Nor and Julia meet when she needs a hammer and nail. He’s  a virgin and a bit weird and quickly becomes smitten with Julia. What Nor does with some balcony gymnastics to reach his dream-come-true is priceless. Marcano (Julia) is very realistic as the girl-next-door trying to co-exist with the coming-out-of-his-shell Lothario. And enough cannot be said about Nucky Walder (Nor’s mother) in her convincing, wild imaginations and exaggerations. She’s wonderful---as they all are. Teatro’s artistic director, Mario Marcel, knows his actors and has a real talent for making odd situations believable. “Love in the Open Air” runs through June 2 at Gunston Arts Center—Theatre Two. Call 703-548-3092 or 202-882-6227 for information and tickets.

Sun Gazette

Look at Love Funny, and a Little Disquieting

by MATT REVILLE (Staff Writer)

“Cute” was the word used most often at intermission to describe Teatro de la Luna's production of the new comedy “Amor al aire libre” [“Love in the Open Air”].

And while the production turned just a wee bit creepy in the second act, before wrapping up in an all's-well-that-ends-well moment, there was an awful lot of fun in this three-character charmer that closes out the troupe's 2006-07 season.

Written by Argentinean Carlos Pais and directed by Teatro's artistic director Mario Marcel, the production showcases some exceptional physical comedy and the work of some talented performers.

In the show, young Nor is the son of a now-deceased South American army general, who imposed a military discipline on the family that apparently didn't allow for the youngster to fall in love. And now, with his father dead, his overprotective mother, Asunción, is using all her manipulative skills to keep her now twenty something son shut up in the womb/tomb that is their small apartment, when...

... a slightly-but-not-much-older woman moves in next door, looking for a little peace and quiet after a number of relationships gone bad. The last thing she wants is the neighbor boy's attentions to turn in her direction.

Shocker: Nor falls in love with Julia, and begins a series of more and more desperately clumsy attempts to curry her romantic favor.

We've all been there, but for most of us, this trial-and-mostly-error approach to wooing the opposite sex happens in our young teens. Having never had the opportunity then, Nor's efforts are doubly stumbling and, were this set in the United States, probably would have resulted in a series of restraining orders placed against him.

His attempts grow more ingeniously nuts: For much of the second act, poor Nor is hanging in between the ninth-floor balconies of the two apartments. Then, after he knocks a hole in the wall and tries to wriggle into Julia's abode (see what I mean about “restraining order”?), Nor gets stuck when his expansive, um, let's just say “personality,” eliminates any wiggle room in the opening.

The audience benefits from the strong performance of solid actors in each role.

Peter Pereyra is Nor, providing acrobatic skill to the role and successfully channeling a character best described as an innocent with some potentially psychotic tendencies (ah, the byproducts of our first crushes!).

Anabel Marcano is Julia; it's a forceful job, although the script never makes quite clear why she puts up with some of the silliness she endures from her wooer.

Nucky Walder is the domineering (in mostly a good way) mother, using her wiles to keep her son on the straight and narrow.

The work of Walder, who was quite good here, has long reminded me of that of actress Anne Meara (a younger and more Paraguayan Ann Meara, yes, but Meara nonetheless). If you don't know who Anne Meara is, it's worth looking up; among other things, she's Ben Stiller's mom.

The 50-minute first act serves mostly as the set-up for all the chaos that will ensue after intermission, but it's notable for a wild scene where Julia fights (and wins) against an uncooperative folding bed.

Pereyra gets the physical-comedy assignment in the second act, showcasing solid training.

Director Marcel covered all his bases in the fast-moving first act, while I thought the second wobbled just a bit in presentation. But this was opening weekend, so it likely will tighten up. The ending, which has twist that then twists back around again, is quite nice.

Sets, costumes, lighting all were fine. The show is presented in Spanish, with English surtitles that feature the work of translator Gae Schmitt.

It's been an especially good season for Teatro de la Luna, and it closes on a strong note.

Washington Post

Saturday, May 19, 2007; Page C08

By Celia Wren

In 'Amor,' Pratfalls From the Balcony

The muse of comedy must have smiled upon the invention of the balcony. This architectural structure permits incongruous but intimate juxtapositions of people -- humorous potential that is exploited zealously in Teatro de la Luna's world premiere of Argentine dramatist Carlos Pais's "Amor al Aire Libre (Love in the Open Air)."

This Spanish-language screwball escapade -- burnished to a handsome sheen by director Mario Marcel and his savvy cast -- depicts three characters, as eccentric and mismatched as can be, looking out over those adjoining balustrades.

Asunción (Nucky Walder) is a crotchety, overbearing widow who ruthlessly dominates her meek, dimwitted adult son, Nor (Peter Pereyra). He wants to get a job, but she protectively confines him to their ninth-floor apartment, once shared with her husband -- Nor's father -- a famous general. When a hapless young divorcee named Julia (Anabel Marcano) moves in next door, the result is a series of wacky predicaments suitably laced with sexual innuendo.

It's a story that needs a vivid visual grounding, and Marcel, doubling as set designer, has given it that: On the right side of the stage, a chaos of packing boxes represents Julia's newly occupied abode. On the left, a larger-than-life portrait of the general stares out at a room cluttered with Asunción's gloomy antique furniture. Wooden frames outline the apartments' walls and parapets.

The layout lets the actors go full-throttle on physical humor. Pereyra, in particular, has a field day with buffoonery that displays his knife-sharp comic timing. During the course of the show, Nor walks into a wooden screen; gets his finger stuck in a watering can; wields an ice-ax while humming the theme music from "Mission: Impossible"; and lodges himself almost irrecoverably in a hole in the wall. And that's not even counting the 20 minutes or so he spends suspended between the two apartments' balconies, mercurial expressions -- anxiety, sheepishness, machismo -- fleeting across his face.

Marcano, too, engages in some deft slapstick -- including one very funny sequence in which she gets trapped inside a folding mattress -- and she aptly invests Julia with flakiness and glamour.

Walder, a co-founder of Teatro de la Luna, cinches the fussy, ill-tempered mannerisms of Asunción, a harridan who bustles on stage in the play's first moments and proceeds to micromanage Nor's breakfast right down to his consumption of quince jelly.

Rounding out the distinctive characterizations are the carefully chosen costumes, by Walder and Rosita Becker. Only a coddled boob such as Nor, for instance, could wear that foppish maroon velvet smoking jacket in combination with that blue cravat.

Such shrewdly realized production values, together with the physicality of the humor, make "Amor al Aire Libre" a show that non-Spanish-speakers can appreciate (English surtitles are provided).

A caveat: Some balcony-related plot twists could raise the blood pressure of audience members with overactive imaginations and extreme sensitivity to vertigo. Most other theatergoers, though, will appreciate the high jinks.

Amor al Aire Libre (Love in the Open Air), by Carlos Pais. Direction and set and sound design by Mario Marcel; lighting, Ayun Fedorcha. In Spanish with English surtitles. About 2 hours 10 minutes. Through June 2 at the Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two, 2700 S. Lang St., Arlington.



Semana 1

Jueves  5/10 (8PM)
Viernes 5/11 (8PM)
Sábado 5/12 (3PM)
Sábado 5/12 (8PM)

“Noche de Luna”

Fundraising Night

Admisión General $40

Semana 2

Jueves  5/17 (8PM)
Viernes 5/18 (8PM)
Sábado 5/19 (3PM)
Sábado 5/19 (8PM)

Semana 3

Jueves  5/24 (8PM)

Viernes 5/25 (8PM)


Sábado 5/26 (3PM)

Sábado 5/26 (8PM)


Semana 4

Jueves  5/31 (8PM)


Viernes 6/1 (8PM)


Sábado 6/2 (3PM)


Sábado 6/2 (8PM)