A political play from Bolivia

Ravindra Tripathy’s



We, in India, are familiar with South American writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas llyosa and others. But we know very little about theatre of Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and other Latin- American countries. Fortunately, in 13th Bharat Rang Mahotsav there are some plays from these countries which show how lively the theatre scene is there. One can feel the `politics of theatre’ in these plays. But it is not only the political component which is important; there is also immense aesthetic depth in these plays. You can say that Latin-American theatre is as lively as its fiction and poetry.

`En un sol Amarillo’ (In a yellow sun: memories of an earthquake) is play in Spanish from Bolivia. Directed by Cesar Brie, an eminent Bolivian director, this play is about a natural tragedy that took place in this South-American country. On the night of 22nd may 1998, Bolivia was rocked by a massive earthquake, which devastated many cities and towns. A lot of people became homeless. Children died without proper care. The international community sent all type of aids but the government of Bolivia couldn’t distribute it properly and massive misuse of funds aggravated the plight of people. Corruption went rampant. The basic infrastructures were destroyed and remained inbuilt. Those who raised a voice were maimed, misappropriation of fund by the bureaucracy and political class knew no bounds and the victims were mistreated. People died and politicians laughed.

The play is based upon the research and information about this earthquake and subsequent suffering of the people. So there is a lot of reality here. But this is not only a docu-drama. Here you see reality as well as the imagination, prose as well as poetry and design as well as acting. There is physical theatre and comedy in it also. Interweaving of wit, humor, pathos makes this play a human tragedy. We can see here what is happening not only in Bolivia but all over the world. There are many stories of catastrophe also in India, which are full of administrative lapses, monetary mismanagement and political insensivities. The Indian audience will easily identify with this play.  The director of the play, Cesar Brie, had to flee Argentina in 1976 because of dictatorship in that country. He lived and worked in Denmark, Italy and Poland before settling in Bolivia.