Club de Caballeros

[Rotos de Amor]

Gentlemen's Club

[Love Torn]

by Rafael Bruza (Argentina)

directed by Mario Marcel (Argentina)

May 2 - 25, 2013

at Gunston Arts Center  -  Theatre 2

2700 South Lang St., Arlington, VA 22206

In Spanish with English Surtitles

Comedy   -   US Première   -   Ages: 15+

In this hilarious comedy -bordering on the grotesque- four men who "suffer for love and have broken hearts" carry us into their hopes as they seek to recover what they have lost. They put us at the front of the eternal battle: the search for love.

Noche de Luna / Luna Night - Fundraising Night:

The first Saturday performance of each production

 will be followed by a reception. General admission is $40.


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Press Reviews

Press Reviews

DC Metro Theater Arts, Andrew L. Baughman
DC Theatre Scene, by Rosalind Lacy
MD Theatre Guide, by Caitlin Hamon
The Examiner, by Barbara Mackay (Special to The Examiner)
Voz de América, by Mitzi Macias
Washington Post, by Celia Wren

DC Metro Theater Arts

‘Club de Caballeros (Rotos de Amor)’ at Teatro de la Luna

“There is nothing more ridiculous than a man in love.” That is the basic premise of Argentine playwright Rafael Bruza’s alternately absurd and poignant Club de Caballeros (Rotos de Amor) at Teatro de la Luna. Like most subjects in comedy, it’s funny because it’s true.

It’s also funny because the production boasts an ensemble of four master clowns: Alex López-Montañez is “Rodríguez,” a cuckolded public official; Jerry Daniel’s “Berlanguita” has carried on a ten-year love affair with a woman from a distance; Alex Alburqueque’s “Artemio” is the victim of unrequited love; and Juan Bianchi’s Harpo Marx-ish “El Mudo” has difficulty letting go of the memory (and cremated remains) of his long-deceased wife.

Together, the actors possess such chemistry, physical comedy prowess, and timing that it is impossible to highlight a stand-out. Each also builds a distinctly memorable character with an element of pathos. This is also a testament to the able craft of Director Mario Marcel, who keeps the action crisp with clear intent, but never mechanical.

In this “Gentlemen’s Club,” the jilted caballeros don’t drown their sorrows in sangria at the local strip club, but rather turn to the hair and manicure salon for solace. Bruza’s beautiful text muses poetically on the folly and pain of love, while providing plenty of fodder for genuinely uproarious comedy: a Garden of Remembrance ceremony gone horribly wrong; an ill-fated self-medication experimentation session; and the most atonal love song in the history of balcony serenades. The English translation by David Bradley and Christine Stoddard (projected as surtitle) is sufficient but practically irrelevant because Marcel’s cast performs with a specificity that transcends any language barrier.

Desigers Rosita Becker, Nucky Walder, and Juanita Real coordinate costumes, props and wigs into absurdist uniformity. The color-themed “baggage” carried by the gentlemen becomes its own element in the story, perhaps representing the object of each man’s star-crossed affection. Marcel’s sound design hearkens back to classic Latino Cinema, and his simple scenic design helps to magnify the power and legitimacy of an actor-driven masterpiece.


DC Theatre Scene

Washington’s Liveliest Theatre Website

Gentlemen’s Club (Love Torn)

On a dimly lit stage, a sensually twisted, abstract sculpture is anchored to a pedestal and spotlighted in red. From overhead speakers comes a voice: “Can you hear me?” The question sounds out-of-place and odd, and remains unanswered until repeated, like a refrain, at the end of this theatre-of-the-grotesque satire, that, at various high points, is hysterically funny.

Argentinean playwright Rafael Bruza wants so badly to make us think, he’s willing to make us squirm. In Gentlemen’s Club (Love Torn) / Club De Caballeros (Rotos de Amor), Bruza takes sad events and exaggerates them outrageously and makes us laugh. He shows us how love drives men silly. The Gentlemen’s Club becomes a halfway house for curing heartbroken men. Healing remedies for lovesickness range from philosophy to drugs and hair color changes at the beauty parlor; but every treatment fails. And that’s where the fun begins.

Read more

MD Theatre Guide

Theatre Review: ‘Club De Caballeros Rotos De Amor/
Gentleman’s Club (Love Torn)’ at Teatro de da Luna

In Club de Caballeros (Rotos de amor), or The Gentleman’s Club (Love Torn), we are able to see the truly desperate lengths that men will go to in order to achieve love. This hysterical comedy by Argentinean Playwright Rafael Bruza demonstrates this through four men who attempt to heal their broken hearts by rather ridiculous means. They ultimately triumph, their success hidden in their failures. Their search for love and a cure for their broken hearts does indeed, as the director, Mario Marcel, states “border on the grotesque,” not only because of the outrageous behavior, ranging from changing their hair color to self-medication with drugs, but also the determination to win love they so desire.

The intimate setting ... enables a relaxed and interactive atmosphere for the audience, adding to an overall enjoyable performance.

We first meet Rodriguez, a clever and smooth character, who we learn is a high-level government official that has been humiliated by his wife; she has taken up with the tango instructor and thrown him out. His three friends come to visit and offer their support, remarking on how far he has fallen, for not only is he being cuckolded by his wife, but he is forced to live in the small shed in the backyard and the house is guarded by the ferocious dog, Delilah. Played by Alex Lopez-Montañez, Rodriguez handles his situation with sarcasm and a cool attitude, often mixing innuendos about the dog and his wife, much to the audience’s amusement. Though he claims his reason for wanting to get her back is to reclaim his honor, he cannot hide from his friends that he does indeed love his wife. Despite his and his companion’s extreme actions throughout the play, as well as the caricatures of the other characters, Lopéz-Montañez distinguishes himself in playing the witty Rodriguez in a subtle way that well balances out the rest.

In the next scene, we are introduced to Berlanguita’s dilemma. He sits in front of the audience with a sad bouquet of flowers sighing with a slightly dopey grin on his face when his friends enter. They discover that he has been in love with a woman for fifteen years but has never once spoken with her out of fear of ruining the relationship. He continues to love her, despite her being married with children, and continues to sit across the street and watch her each week: a borderline stalker, his companions note, much to the audience’s amusement. Though he is encouraged to speak with her, he explains to his friends that his love for her is purely platonic, and he is afraid to sully that love. Jerry Daniel gives an excellent portrayal of the dual role of Berlanguita, for he also provides the voice of El Mudo, the Silent One of the group, translating the grunts and gestures of the character for the rest of the group. He is a jolly and almost clown-like character, yet heartfelt in his love and devotion.

Artemio opens the third scene outside his wife’s window and in one of the most hilarious scenes attempts to regain her affections by a rowdy musical balcony serenade, pleading with her to accept his apologies for his faults and take him back. The “fault,” of course, is itself just as ridiculous: he snores. The attempt is a miserable failure and the voice of his wife shouts rudely calling them “barrachos” (drunken fools) as well as hurling other profanities. Poor Artemio proceeds to enumerate the various ways in which he has tried to please his wife: reciting poetry, rubbing her feet, catering to her every whim, yet she has still kicked him out. The scene is an amusing farce of the traditional troubadour wooing his lover, for rather than a smooth Latin lover seducing his lady, we have a desperate and somewhat pathetic man who’s wife is tired of his adoration of her. Played by a talented Alex Alburqueque, Artemio adds his own brand of humor to the group with his often-truthful observations.

Juan Biachi, playing the Silent One, El Mudo, is clownish and eccentric character who moans and grunts to communicate with the other character and is interpreted somehow mysteriously by Berlanguita. Biachi plays El Mudo in a way somewhat reminiscent of Harpo Marx; despite his inability to speak, his expressions and actions speak for him for the most part, adding a light-hearted silliness to the group. He suffers his own loss, however, of his wife who has been dead for fifteen years and in all that time he has not spoken. Though his silence adds show-stealing humor for the audience, we realize that it hides the greater pain of his grief.

The first four scenes set the stage for a club of heartbroken men and the audience watches their bizarre yet comical attempts to heal and find love. Director Marcel does an excellent job of not letting the personal stories distract from the play’s premise, but rather balances them out with the characters interaction in their attempts to remedy their problems. Their individual personalities and brands of humor blend into a harmonious quartet in which each man’s problems is fused as one, along with their failures or successes.

It is quickly apparent the overall lesson which Rafael Bruza wishes to convey: “Is there anything more ridiculous than a man in love?” Their desperation throughout the play borders on the absurd, yet their love-sickness does not leave the audience heavy-hearted, but instead able to recognize the humor in matters of love. The intimate setting of Teatro de la Luna enables a relaxed and interactive atmosphere for the audience, adding to an overall enjoyable performance.


The Examiner

Teatro de la Luna's 'Gentlemen's Club: Love Torn'
at Gunston Arts Center

Many of the finest productions that Teatro de la Luna has produced over the years have existed in a realm best described as unconventional and tending toward the absurd. So it is with its latest sprightly creation, "Club de Caballeros: Rotos de Amer" ("Gentlemen's Club: Love Torn") by Argentinian playwright Rafael Bruza.

The narrative, neatly directed by Mario Marcel, is divided into 10 scenes. It tells the story of four salesmen, differentiated only by their body types, the colors of their shirts, ties and the suitcases they carry. Everything else about them is the same, from their hair to the fact that they are unhappy in love. They search for it and can't find it. They have it and lose it. They see it clearly but can't go after it. Their lives are cases of frustration, suffering and broken hearts.

And yet the tone of "Club de Caballeros" is light, at times verging on hilarious. The men are clowns in a huge, universal circus where they are not allowed to see a happy ending to a story. In fact, the play starts out by announcing that every story has a sad aspect.

One man, Rodriguez (Alex Lopez-Montanez), can't get into his house because his wife's dog blocks his way. Eventually the dog is accompanied by Rodriguez's wife's tango teacher. Another man, Berlanguita (Jerry Daniel), courts the woman he loves silently for eight years, bringing her flowers even as she marries another man. For him, the "unblemished illusion" of love is more precious than a real marriage because it lasts forever.

For Artemio (Alex Alburquerque), serenading his beloved with poems written on perfumed paper and bringing her flowers is a way of celebrating his love for a woman who has long ago rejected him. For the Silent One (Juan Bianchi), silence is how he honors his dead wife.

The spare set, designed by Marcel, emphasizes the emotional wasteland the characters inhabit. Rosita Becker's and Nucky Walder's costumes (dark gray suits, that rainbow of shirts and ties) offer an intriguing comment on how alike the men are. The play would not be possible without the colorful contribution of hairdresser Juanita Real.

"Club de Caballeros" is the sort of play in which the playwright will offer no way out of his characters' private hell. As the clowns try various fixes to alleviate their unhappiness, everything from visiting a beauty shop to experimenting with medicines, they come closer and closer to the conclusion that they are simply victims of love, that no one has control over their emotions, that there is no cure for love-sickness, and that the search for love will drive men on forever.


Voz de América

Teatro de La Luna estrena "Club de caballeros"

¿Quién no ha sufrido por amor?, es la pregunta que más que hallar respuestas busca encontrar soluciones a través de la nueva producción del Teatro de La Luna, “Club de Caballeros: Rotos der amor”.

De esta manera el Teatro de La Luna trae a sus tablas una creación del argentino Rafael Bruza, uno de los dramaturgos contemporáneos más reconocidos por su peculiar estilo e imaginación.

Bajo la dirección de Mario Marcel “Club de caballeros: Rotos de amor” presenta cuatro diferentes historias de amor ligadas entre sí por el sufrimiento que produce el desamor o simplemente la ausencia del más sublime de los sentimientos.

Cuatro caballeros de nombres: Rodríguez, Berlanguita, Artemio y El mudo dan vida a cuatro hombres con vidas y temperamentos distintos, pero que comparten el oficio de visitadores médicos  y sus malas experiencias de amor.

Con un gran trabajo actoral los cuatro personajes son capaces de dar vida las diversas penas de amor que sufre el ser humano a lo largo de su vida, pero al mismo tiempo te invita a reflexionar sobre el valor de ese sentimiento que con tan solo cuatro letras es capaz de cambiarte la vida y muchas veces hasta replantear tu existencia.

Así tenemos el caso del que sufrió una infidelidad, del hombre cuya mujer le perdió el interés o lo dejó de amar, del perfecto casado que tuvo que enterrar a su amada y del soñador, quien vive por un amor platónico.

Con un buen uso de la comedia los cuatro personajes transportan al público por un camino en busca del amor y del antídoto del desamor para juntos llegar a la conclusión, entre risas y reflexión, que más vale sufrir por amor que no haber vivido porque en vivir se encuentra el misterio de nuestra existencia y la razón de nuestro paso por este mundo.

La obra completamente en español, con traducciones simultáneas en inglés cuenta con un elenco de actores latinoamericanos de Perú, Argentina y Puerto Rico, y se puede disfrutar en el Teatro de La Luna hasta el 25 de mayo.


Washington Post

‘Club de Caballeros’ is a witty meditation

on love and friendship

You have to hand it to the characters in “Club de Caballeros (Rotos de Amor)/Gentlemen’s Club (Love Torn)”: Their romantic lives may be in free fall, but they don’t sit around moping. Instead, the four hapless men strive to remedy their plight — at one point going so far as to take experimental drugs that may, or may not, cure amorousness entirely.

The human-guinea-pig scene — the love-curing drugs turn out to be available in ingestible, injectable and suppository form — is just one of the zany sequences in Argentine playwright Rafael Bruza’s witty comedy, now receiving its U.S. premiere from Teatro de la Luna. Director Mario Marcel’s amiable 90-minute production, performed in Spanish, with English surtitles, showcases four actors whose ability to suggest impetuousness, amicability and goofy seriousness, by turns, complements Bruza’s stylized, screwball-flavored plot.

Told in a series of vignettes — a format that creates a pleasantly snappy narrative flow — “Club de Caballeros” is a tale of friendship, as well as a meditation on the absurdity of love. After Rodriguez (Alex Lopez-Montanez) separates from his wife and alienates his dog, he turns for comfort to three close pals, each of whom has his own tangled personal life. Artemio (Alex Alburqueque) has been sleeping on the couch because his spouse is fed up with his snoring. Berlanguita (Jerry Daniel) is in love with a married woman, to whom he has never spoken. Their mute friend, the Silent One (Juan Bianchi), is a pining widower.

The four men get together periodically to strategize and console one another. At one point, they form a band, but their attempt to serenade Artemio’s wife produces a ghastly din. Later, they decide to improve their romantic prospects by dying their hair blond: But first they have to agree which shade to use — golden blond, ash-pearl blond, ivory blond or “savage blond.”

Dapper figures in matching suits, with contrasting colored shirts, the four actors clown and deadpan affably on the spare set, which is anchored by a modernist statue of a tangoing couple. Lopez-Montanez makes an appealing straight man; and Alburqueque’s Artemio is droll in the experimental-drugs scene, nervously fidgeting with a medicine dropper before downing the entirety of a vial in one swig. Adopting infuriated, scolding and blissfully clueless expressions as needed, Bianchi aces his silent comedy.

And Daniel is effective enough as Berlanguita, who delivers some of the script’s most pointed lines. Justifying his habit of worshiping women from afar, the character asserts, “An unblemished illusion lasts for centuries. . . . There’s no greater destruction of love than the one that becomes real.”

Wren is a freelance writer.

Club de Caballeros (Rotos de Amor)/Gentlemen’s Club (Love Torn)

by Rafael Bruza. Direction, set and sound design by Mario Marcel; assistant director, Silvana Fierro; lighting, Gary Hauptman; costumes and props, Rosita Becker and Nucky Walder. In Spanish with English surtitles (English translation by David Bradley and Christine Stoddard). 90 minutes. Through May 25 at Gunston Arts Center, Theater Two, 2700 S. Lang St., Arlington. Call 703-548-3092 or visit www.teatrodelaluna.org.

© 2013 The Washington Post Company






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Thursday 5/2 (8PM)

Friday 5/3 (8PM)

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Fundraising Night

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