Sunday, January 22, 2012

Santiago a Mil: Titanic

Last night (Saturday, Jan 21 2012), I attended a showing of Titanic, as part of Santiago a Mil. Santiago a Mil is an international theater festival that takes place in January and primarily in the city of Santiago. Plenty of performances are given, some free some not, but I was busy and didn't get to it until the last weekend. Still, the show I saw was fantastic.

Titanic was produced by the German group Theater Titanick and tells the story of the famous voyage across the Atlantic. You can see some information here, but the be warned that the website is in Spanish. The event was held at the Plaza de la Constitucion, which is where La Moneda, the presidential palace, is located. It started at 9PM, but I got there about half an hour earlier and picked a great spot to see the show. I believe it was recorded and passed on to local TV as well, but nothing beats the experience of seeing it live. I took some pictures and some videos and I'll include them below as I describe what went on.

Here we go, the show hasn't started, but people are gathering at the Plaza for the Santiago a Mil festival.

My view of the stage:
I latter stood up to see better (as everyone was doing), but you can tell I had a good spot. The stage is not built yet, as the first part of the show deals with the construction of the Titanic.

Here is my video on (part of) the Titanic's construction (Remember that you can see these videos larger or full-screen at YouTube):
This is less of a play and more of a show. There were plenty of pyrotechnics (see below), music, and lots of action with very little dialog. However, you can still tell what's going on.
Here we're seeing some of the engineers goofing around as they move the wheel into position. Despite the serious nature of the event, there were plenty of light, humorous moments like these.

The Titanic is fully built and sailing across the Atlantic. Notice the streams of water near the bottom (the bow); this ship is going fast. Unfortunately, I cut off the video right before they hit the iceberg (you can hear the music start to change).

Here is a picture, moments after the hit the iceberg:
You can see the engineer at the bow of the ship working to stop the water coming in.

Here's video #3:
The nobles among the ship are feasting and dinning, oblivious to what's going below decks. The engineer is still working hard (and alone) to stop the ship from sinking.
While this scene was lighthearted, I still felt sad. Instead of focusing on the problem, the rich and powerful just ignore it and hope it goes away, while the poor suffer through it.

Eventually, even the folks topside realize things aren't going well:
Signal fires are lit and flares (fireworks!) are set off. Let's hope some nearby ships stop these and don't think we are just partying. Like I said: plenty of pyrotechnics going on in this show.

One last call for help:
This are looking really bad on the Titanic. The crew takes these signal fires to try to call for help, but, as we know, this does not help them.
The fire-net they raise near the bow is over exposed in the video, here's what it actually looked like:
I assume this was just another way to signal the ships, though it could represented the fires going on below decks as things have gotten out of control.

And finally, after just over an hour, the Titanic sinks:
The stage is dismantled before our eyes (with lots of fire and water effects). The wheel crushes the engineer (alas, not depicted in the video), and the smoke stack catches fire. Everyone dies.

Here's the ruins of the set, at the end of the show:

Overall Impression
This was a fantastic show. Practically no dialog, everything is told by the characters interactions on set. The set itself was amazing: it gets constructed and dismantled on-show as part of telling the story. The show touches on the blind faith in technology and briefly on the disparity between the social classes. Lots of special effects (fire, water, music) make this a memorable experience. I would highly recommend any Santiagians catch the final show Sunday Jan 22.

Update: the following day I went to see El Encanto del Rio Amarillo. You can read my summary/review here.

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