Is it possible for love to blossom and endure inside the walls of a psychiatric institution?
With that question in mind, director Luis Guenel Soto and the actors of Teatro Niño Proletario visited several Chilean ‘loony bins’. They had already gained an initial impression of such places after studying the impressive book El infarto del Alma (‘Heart Attack of the Soul’) by photographer Paz Errazuriz: distressing images of a dismal existence in cold, cheerless surroundings and inhumane conditions.
In El otro (‘The Other’), a varied company of seven actors – young, old, tall, short, heavyset, thin – presents a theatrical version of that life, full of seemingly uncontrolled impulses, but actually according to very tight stage directions.
Distorted postures, groaning, nervous squirming, resigned lethargy, feverish, incomprehensible actions, vacant or downright possessed expressions, and sometimes, likea bright light in the darkness, the consolation of love.Guenel, who is considered to be one of the greatest talents of Chilean theatre, thus seems to be a soulmate of the Fleming Alain Platel.