Tango Turco

Turkish Tango

by Rafael Bruza (Argentina)

directed by Mario Marcel (Argentina)

April 24 - May 18, 2014

at Gunston Arts Center  -  Theatre 2
2700 South Lang St., Arlington, VA 22206

In Spanish with English Surtitles

Comedy   -   US Première   -   Ages: 15+

A starting point for taking a look at the blindness that is brought on by passion and perhaps for reflecting on what love really is... In this amusing comedy, far from Buenos Aires, in the Turkish desert... What will this odd trio come upon? ...A place where guilt will no longer haunt them?


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DC Metro Theater Arts, by Diane Jackson Schnoor
DC Theatre Scene, by Rosalind Lacy
VOA Voz de América, by Mitzi Macias
Washington Post, by Celia Wren

DC Metro Theater Arts

‘Tango Turco (Turkish Tango)’

Tango Turco (Turkish Tango) is a fascinating play, veering from soapy and melodramatic to thoughtful and philosophical. Argentinian playwright Del Autor’s strange but oddly likeable play is being brought vividly to life at Teatro de la Luna by Director Mario Marcel and his team of three talented actors (Alfredo Sánchez, Marcela Ferlito, and Jerry Daniel).

Tango Turco begins with a crime and explores how the guilt of committing that crime engulfs the pair of lovers on the run. Rudolfo (Alfredo Sánchez) and Amelia (Marcela Ferlito) flee their native Argentina and attempt to escape their past on a comic flight through Spain, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco. Along the way, the pick up a “Turkish” guitar player named Yassuf (Jerry Daniel), a native of Lebanon fleeing from his own past. Without giving plot points away, suffice it to say that the presence of the non-Spanish speaking Yassuf adds layers of comedy and complication to the plight of the couple on the run from the international police.

All three actors deliver over-the-top, energetic, and acutely-timed performances of mostly one-note characters. Marcela Ferlito manages to imbue the sometimes unlikeable Amelia with warmth and passion through her cheeky line delivery and highly animated facial expressions. She is a force of nature. Alfredo Sánchez gives a solid performance as Rodolfo, veering from well-executed over-the-top slapstick comedy to thoughtful delivery of some of the most sensitive monologues of the evening. Jerry Daniel steals the show as the non-Spanish speaking Yassuf, most hilariously in a scene without words when he discovers the Argentinian lovers in flagrante.

Although the show is performed entirely in Spanish, the overhead subtitles combined with strong body language makes this modern comedy accessible and easy to enjoy for Spanish and English speakers alike. Teatro de la Luna recommends the show for mature audiences (ages 15 and older) due to risqué humor, adult themes, profanity and strong sexual innuendo.

Director Marcel’s set design is spare but, with the help of projections, effectively conveys the trio’s flight from country to country. The lighting and sound design by Brian Allard and Mario Marcel respectively effectively serve the actors and the plot. Rosita Bécker and Nucky Walder deserve great credit for creating costumes and props that creatively suggested each country and absurd situation without going over the top.

Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes, with one intermission.


DC Theatre Scene

Washington’s Liveliest Theatre Website
"LaTango Turco (Turkish Tango)"

There’s an old adage, “What goes around comes around,” that’s apt for Argentine playwright Rafael Bruza’s play. But you have to give yourself up and really believe in what you are seeing enacted before you.

As directed by Mario Marcel, Tango Turco makes sense to a point. Two cabaret tango singers, Amelia, (Marcela Ferlito), and Rodolfo, (Alfredo Sanchez), sing passionately about passion in Argentine nightclubs. They want their sexual liaison out in the open. The way Amelia tells it, the performers dreamt of what life would be like together if she wasn’t married. So while Amelia files her nails, Rodolfo shoots and kills her husband in the garage. We hear it happen off-stage in the opening scene. It’s like a pop gun going off, nothing shattering. Cool, calm and collected, Rodolfo describes it as if it’s an impersonal, drive-by shooting. Then Amelia and Rodolfo talk quietly about dismembering, bagging and burying the body, to eradicate any trace of evidence. Will they get away with murder?

Bravo and brava to Teatro de la Luna for taking the risk to bring us this avant garde comedy of Latin American theatre. Rafael Bruza is the same playwright who gave us the madcap comedy Gentlemen’s Club (Club de Caballeros) last season. Bruza writes in a signature style that can be defined as Theatre of the Grotesque– reality pushed to extremes, to the point of comic absurdity. But here, in Tango Turco, Bruza goes further and combines real life romance and horror, to get us to think about the difference between love and passion.

Tango Turco is a challenging, deeply philosophical play, based on the “milonguita,” that is a typical tango dance, that represents pure blind passion. Because of the murder and the fact that the lovers left the dismembered body dripping with blood in bags on a public sidewalk, Amelia and Rodolfo have to run for their lives. To flee the country, the two tango singers go on a performing tour of Europe that sidetracks into the Middle East, Northern Africa and Egypt. Along the way, they pick up an accompanist, Yussef, a Lebanese. The trio develop a symbiotic relationship.

Read more

VOA Voz de América

‘Tango Turco: Sin baile, pero con pasión’

El Teatro de La Luna lleva a las tablas una comedia de

humor negro donde sus personajes se funden por la pasión.

Tres personajes en escena, todos diferentes entre sí, pero que finalmente se funden en un torrente de sentimientos liderados por la pasión y las culpas que remuerden las conciencias más inocentes.

De esta manera podemos sintetizar lo que representa “Tango turco”, la comedia de humor negro que el Teatro de La Luna presenta sobre las tablas.

“Tango turco” es una historia de amor, pasión, destierros y persecuciones que más que físicas se convierten en presiones y temores internos que pueden llevar a transformarte en presa de la paranoia.

Gracias al texto del dramaturgo argentino Rafael Bruza, el director Mario Marcel logra desenmarañar la complejidad del conflicto interno que trabaja el dramaturgo en “Tango turco” bajo el apellido de comedia de humor negro.

Amelia, interpretado por Marcela Ferlito, es la imagen encarnizada de la mujer apasionada, pero al mismo tiempo egoísta, decidida a hacer lo que tenga que hacer para lograr sus propósitos.

"Bruza desarrolla muchos temas sicológicos con gran humor como es la pasión, la infidelidad, la huída, la persecusión, el egoismo humano, entre otros", dijo a la Voz de América, Marcela Ferlito.

Bajo ese carácter logra someter a su amante, Rodolfo, Alfredo Sánchez, que finalmente arrastrado por el amor de una mujer, es capaz de entregar su tranquilidad mental para convertirse en un asesino que busca justificar sus acciones bajo el título de amante incondicional, pero ocultando también intereses y codicias personales.

El alma de “Tango turco” recae en la representación del “Turco” Yassuf, interpretado por Jerry Daniel. A sus expensas, la comedia fluye por la sencillez con la que construye el personaje de un turco que por su pasión a la música se logra unir a la pareja conformada por Amelia y Rodolfo para presentar un espectáculo de Tango, donde el baile está ausente, pero la música y la pasión que representa este género se mantiene de principio a fin.

“Turco vende barato” dentro de la obra pone de manifiesto la existencia de clichés en una sociedad donde como te ven te tratan y sin quererlo te clasifican dentro de un grupo al que muchas veces no perteneces. Esta pieza de humor negro capaz de arrancarle más de una carcajada y al mismo tiempo reflexionar sobre la intensidad de algunas pasiones en el ser humano estará en cartelera en el área metropolitana de Washington hasta el 18 de mayo.


Washington Post

‘Tango Turco (Turkish Tango)’

at Gunston Arts Center chronicles a couple’s travels

How many globe-trotting romances are as painful as Amelia and Rodolfo’s? After an unfortunate incident in their native Argentina, the two lovers flee first to Europe, then to the Middle East, seeking to make their living as tango performers. But they can’t help squabbling, and Rodolfo believes Interpol is on their heels. It’s enough to make sights like the Sphinx and Eiffel Tower a gloomy proposition.

Unfortunately, the play that chronicles the couple’s travels — “Tango Turco (Turkish Tango)” by Argentinian playwright Rafael Bruza — isn’t a lot of fun either. The current Teatro de la Luna production features Marcela Ferlito, an actress who was bracingly funny in the company’s recent comedy “La Vida Que Me Das ... y no me alcanza” (“Such a Life You’ve Given Me ... and it’s not enough”). But Ferlito can’t rescue this low-energy “Tango Turco,” which is staged by Teatro artistic and executive director Mario Marcel and billed as a U.S. premiere. (It is performed in Spanish with English surtitles.)

Part of the problem may be the script’s episodic nature: Short scenes relay glimpses of Amelia (Ferlito) and Rodolfo (Alfredo Sanchez) in different countries, as the pair quarrel, worry, and get to know Yassuf (Jerry Daniel), the guitarist they hired in Seville to be their accompanist. (They had sought a player of the bandoneon, the accordion-like instrument that is a staple of tango music, but bandoneonists were in short supply in Spain.) The frequent scene breaks prevent the production from working up much momentum. With photographic slides of international sites and attractions (the Sphinx, etc.) projected onto a screen at the back of the set (the scenery is otherwise dominated by chairs and tables), it’s almost as if the play were communicating by postcard.

The scene breaks, and the gaps in narrative time between the scenes, also contrive to distance us from the characters. The most interesting of these is Amelia, who can be animated and funny — when she’s bickering with or coolly snubbing Rodolfo, for instance — but who displays some soulfulness in a long monologue about love. (Amelia’s outfits, including a little black dress and auburn shrug, seem the right choices for this capable femme-fatale character.

Sanchez exudes some excitability, paranoia and moroseness as Rodolfo — a none-too-pleasant fellow who enjoys making fun of Yassuf for not knowing Spanish and not being of European heritage. (Yassuf hails from Lebanon, but Rodolfo insists on calling him a “Turk”; hence the play’s title.) As Yassuf, Daniel looks a little more awkward onstage than seems necessary for purposes of characterization.

Would that Yassuf would really break out into some fluent guitar music now and then! He doesn’t. Such a detail might make this “Tango Turco” a little more melodious.

By Rafael Bruza. Direction and set and sound design by Mario Marcel; lighting design, Brian S. Allard; assistant director, Paolo Gonzalez. About 1 hour and 45 minutes. In Spanish with English surtitles (English translation, David Bradley, and Rei Berroa’s students at George Mason University). Tickets: $15-$35. Through May 18 at Gunston Arts Center, Theater Two, 2700 S. Lang St., Arlington, Va. Call 703-548-3092 or visit www.teatrodelaluna.org

© 2014 The Washington Post Company










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