At Aguijón, the music is the spectacle

World premiere of “La Gran Tirana (Descarga dramática)” is Jeff Recommended 

Seventeen months after Aguijón Theater closed its doors on the last day of Sergio Blanco’s “Kiev,” “La Gran Tirana (Descarga Dramática)” opened Aguijón’s 33rd season, welcoming a live audience on October 14, as part of the 4th edition of the Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, Destinos. 

A newly cheapest brand levitra black facade greets us before we enter a renovated space with brand new red carpet and reupholstered seats. We had heard there was live music and singing, and that La Lupe was the guest star in this Jeff Recommended play. 

“La Gran Tirana” had started two years earlier during a summer project sponsored by a DCASE grant. Sándor Menéndez came up with the idea of developing a play that touched the life of the famous Queen of Latin Soul, Cuban singer Lupe Yolí Raymond, and proposed it to novelist and playwright Rey Andújar. But La Lupe, as a theme, had been used and misused. Andújar decided to try something different, and with the voice and presence of Ana Santos completed the lead team. 

Of course live music was another purchase generic cialis important part of the equation: piano, bass, and congas. The Caribbean was at the center of the space. 

2019 offered an iteration of La gran Tirana, successfully presented in Millennium Park as a street play. But now we are about to witness the entire version, developed during the pandemic. The lights go off and the “Café Rémora” neon sign turns on. 

What comes right after is a trip that witnesses Yoruba deities, exacerbated and melancholic rituals, frantic dance, and soulful invocations, all in search of an unfolding character that may be that woman, that voice, that rugged life filled with remembrances, outbursts, losses and falls. 

It is music, an array of melodies from the 50s and 60s that connect the eventful journey. “My life is the obstacle, not the spectacle,” says Ana Morgana, one side of the La Lupe coin, interpreted by the ease and voice of Ana Santos. The other side, Rémora Rotunda, in the body and command of Sándor Menéndez, mocks her, taunts her, provokes her to descend into the abyss of a tormented life that had, certainly, touched the rugged peak of success. And the party continues with a tension marked by irony, laughter, and tears of pain and joy. 

The immigrant story between two islands, Cuba and Manhattan, is a one-way ticket trip. “Forget Buenos Aires, Berlin or Tokyo, because that Havana, that Havana had everything, ahhh…” No matter what smells Havana brings back to Ana Morgana, she is another immigrant torn from her land, her people, and her spirit, and within that uprooting, music is the only bridge that keeps her going. 

“La Gran Tirana (Descarga dramática)” is a show within a show. Ana is Ana; Rémora is Sándor, and the musicians are Adrián, Gustavo, and Marcel. And all of them take us on this frantic and melodic voyage of pain and bliss, proving that in life it’s better to risk and breathe than to remain still. 

2019 offered an iteration of La gran Tirana, successfully presented in Millennium Park as a street play. But now we are about to witness the entire version, developed during the pandemic.
The lights go off and the “Café Rémora” neon sign turns on.

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“La Gran Tirana (Descarga Dramática) by Rey Andújar, conceived and directed by Sándor Menéndez. 

October 14-Nov. 21. Fridays and Saturdays, 8 pm. Sundays, 3 pm. 

Aguijón Theater, 2707 North Laramie Ave. Chicago, IL 60639 

Tickets at aguijon.ticketleap.com/tirana21/

Fotos: Courtesy of Elio Leturia

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