A Spanish play with English subtitles
The Toothbrush
Marco Romero, director Marco Romero, director

 
The actors are currently rehearsing through Skype, while I am here in Melbourne rehearsing with Margarita
 

SAM writer, Paola Ghirelli chats to Chilean-born director Marco Romero and actress Margarita Leon – both working on Spanish play 'The Toothbrush'. Marco is also in the process of introducing his new company to Melbourne's theatre scene; an entity that will cater to the substantial Spanish contingent that forms part of the vibrant and culture-hungry Melbourne audience.

The Melbourne Spanish Theatre Company will soon showcase its inaugural production– a play by well-known Latin playwright Jorge Diaz called 'The Toothbrush'; a strong and entertaining portrayal of a truly modern relationship.

The play's plot features a couple that has become bitter and resentful, and here they are sitting at the breakfast table reading extracts to each other from self-help articles, lonely-hearts columns and tangos.

Writer for the New York Times D.J.R. Bruckner says the following about 'The Toothbrush' in a Times review:

"As the plot loops, turns and dips like the tango that seems to inspire the pair's every movement, the play looks like a murder mystery involving two people so alienated that each has a different style of furniture on opposite sides of the living room, and so ravenously adulterous that they use half their time searching for perfect partners away from home.

"Mr. Diaz is clever and shameless in his use of theatrical clichés - threats, disguises, poison, a body stashed in a conspicuous place, an interrogation turned game show, a moment of sexual ecstasy accompanied by the war cry of the Valkyries -- as he holds a lot of romantic nonsense about sex and death up to ridicule."

 

Marco Romero

-Tell me a bit about why you chose Jorge Diaz's absurdist comedy 'The Toothbrush' to direct? Where is Jorge from and is he a personal favourite of yours?
The 'Toothbrush' is a well-known Spanish play (although it has been represented in English). I chose it as the first play for the Spanish Theatre Company's as I wanted it to appeal to a wide audience. The playwright, Jorge Diaz was born in Argentina, but lived most of life in Chile, so he is considered a Chilean dramatist.

I grew up watching some of Jorge's plays for children; I believe he is indeed an important figure within the Latin American theatre.

- Can you tell a little about your independent Melbourne Spanish Theatre Company, how and why you set it up?
Last year I had the opportunity to direct for the Melbourne French Theatre, and I would say that is where I saw this opportunity to create a similar type of theatre company. An entity that would be able to stage quality shows in Spanish with English subtitles. At the moment we are working on another production with Margarita and other actors from Melbourne and abroad.

- What has been your experience working with the team on 'The Toothbrush'? How long has it taken to come together and was funding easy to come by?
It sure is an unconventional way to approach this play because one of the actors is currently overseas shooting a Chilean TV show. So the actors are currently rehearsing through Skype, while I am here in Melbourne rehearsing with Margarita. Eventually we'll have three weeks of intensive rehearsals in October and I am positive it will come together in the end because they're all very talented and experienced.

This project is completely self-funded, so hopefully we'll have amazing audience numbers, which will enable us to continue with the shows next year.

- Tell me about your personal style of directing?
I am also an actor, so I believe I have strength in directing actors. I'm very hands-on when I'm working with the actors. I'm also a film-maker, so I think you can see this in my work as well. Most of what I do, I would describe as eclectic, very visual with European and Latin American influences with some film aesthetics thrown in there.

- Tell me a bit about yourself, where you are from and when you started directing. Are you planning on staying in Melbourne?
I'm Chilean, but I lived in Melbourne for five years during the nineties and I came back only two years ago! I studied theatre performance in Chile and film-making in Spain. I have worked in TV, commercials, films, independent theatre...you name it.

I plan to study next year in Melbourne, so I think I will be staying at least for a couple more years, and after that... who knows?

The Melbourne Spanish Theatre Company proudly presents Jorge Diaz's 'The Toothbrush' at the Owl and the Pussycat on Swan Street, Richmond. The play will be produced entirely in Spanish with English subtitles.

'The Toothbrush' will run for ten shows from 23 October to 3 November 2013. You can now book tickets online here: www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=55441

 

By writer Paola Ghirelli

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