Midday Lunches or Petit Dejeuner du Midi
Midday Lunches or Petit Dejeuner du Midi premiered in Santiago, Chile in 1998 just as former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was placed under house arrest in London. The play is a memorial to the kind of political violence Chile has suffered periodically since it became an independent nation in the nineteenth century and, particularly, to the brutality of the military coup of 1973 and the legacy of the Pinochet regime. Chilean playwright and director, Ramon Griffero, memorializes his country’s history in his theatricalization of memory. In Midday Lunches Esteban, a prisoner depicted on the eve of his execution, writes a novel to leave behind as his legacy. In a series of scenes the novel is alternately about Socrates, the Chilean poet and Nobel Laureate Gabriela Mistral, a psychopathic killer, and a woman in a garden.
Well-known and respected in South America and Europe, Griffero is little-known to the English-speaking world. While at school in the early 1970s, he ran guns for the guerrilla group Movimiento Izquierda Revolucionario. In the mid-1980s, as an openly gay former revolutionary, he founded the theatre company Teatro del Fin de Siglo and ‘El Trolley’, a cultural space for resistance to the Pinochet dictatorship. By programming primarily performance art and ‘art actions’ that the regime did not comprehend, ‘El Trolley’ was able to avoid censorship and provided a vitally needed gathering space for those in opposition to the military dictatorship.
With the publication of Ramón Griffero: Your Desires in Fragments and Other Plays translated by Adam Versényi, Griffero’s plays are now available in English making his important contribution to theatrical innovation and the intersection of art and politics accessible to a much wider audience than before. Be a part of that wider audience by joining us for a performance of Midday Lunches in English, followed by postshow discussion with the play’s translator, Adam Versényi.
ADAM VERSÉNYI is Chair and Professor of Dramaturgy in the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina and Senior Dramaturg for PlayMakers Repertory Company. Recent publications include Theatre in Latin America: Religion, Politics, and Culture From Cortés to the 1980s; The Theatre of Sabina Berman: The Agony of Ecstasy and Other Plays; and Ramón Griffero: Your Desires in Fragments and Other Plays. He is the founder and editor of The Mercurian: A Theatrical Translation Review.
HEAD FOR HEIGHTS THEATRE COMPANY explore and produce work by significant playwrights, mainly from Latin America, whose work arises from diverse theatrical traditions, and to which UK audiences have had little exposure. Their focus is on discovering and developing the work of writers who examine the increasing number of peoples and communities worldwide whose lives are lived on the margins: economically, socially, and in terms of access to power and influence.