Theater review: 'La Razon Blindada' at 24th Street Theatre
Forced into exile during that period, writer-director Aristídes Vargas writes from the deeply personal perspective of one who has suffered under a system gone mad. “Razón” was inspired by his brother, imprisoned and tortured during Argentina’s “Dirty War.” Languishing in isolation, he was allotted an hour each Sunday to interact with his fellow prisoners – time spent acting out stories, their hedge against despair.
Vargas’ harrowing, surprisingly funny piece centers around two political prisoners who escape into the world of Cervantes’ “Don Quixote.” Jesús Castaños-Chima plays De La Mancha, a cerebral individual on the verge of madness. Arturo Díaz de Sandy is Panza, a comical character desperately trying to keep his friend sane – for his own sake as much as anything else. The actors are faultless, fully fleshing out the contours of Vargas’ economical staging.
Echoes of Kakfa and Beckett resound throughout in effusive, elliptical interchanges that are often nonsensical, sometimes didactic. The sheer spate of verbiage makes the supertitles a bit daunting for non-Spanish-speakers, but despite that barrier, the effect is hallucinatory, trance-inducing and surreal, an absurdist construct that hammers home man’s gross capacity for inhumanity -- and his transcendent ability to endure.
“La Razón Blindada.” 24th Street Theatre, 1117 W. 24th St., Los Angeles. 8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Ends Oct. 30. $24. (213) 745-6516. 24thstreet.secure.force.com/ticket. Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.
-- F. Kathleen Foley
Photo: Jesús Castaños-Chima and Arturo Díaz de Sandy. Credit: Jay McAdams