Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mariela in the Desert

Mariela in the Desert is a wonderful play.

Jose Salvatierre is dying. He has diabetes, and the doctors have given him only a few weeks to live. His wife, Mariela has sent a telegram to their daughter, Blanca, to try to get the young women to return home before he is dead.

Jose and Mariela were Mexican painters. They were friends of the other famous painters of the Mexican Renaissance: Kahlo, Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros, and Tamayo. They worked and partied with these people. Jose wanted to start an artist commune in the desert; he moved his family to the desert, but the others had not followed. Mariela gave up her painting to take care of the family. While Blanca was bright and talented, her brother, Carlos, was developmentally disable; he frequently had emotional episodes that required all of Mariela's time and attention.

Blanca returns home with Alan, who is older than her. He is a art history professor, who is doing a book about the painters. He wants to do a chapter about Jose.

Jose career has had one high point; one of his pictures had been chosen the bast painting in a exhibition of the painters. The problem was the painting that won the prize was not his painting. When he had failed in producing the required number of paintings for the contest, Mariela painted the last one, and it was the winner. When he returned to the desert, he was depressed, and expressed his mood by burning down his studio. However, Carlos had been hiding in the studio, and was killed in the fire.

This is the situation Alan discovers. The prized painting is in the house shrouded by a heavy dark cloth. Jose in his decline has defaced it, but it is still a presents.

Yetta Gottesman is a strong presents as Mariela. She does not over do the part. Vivia Fant as Blanca is spunky presents, showing the strength of Mariela, while rejecting the situation that has entrapped her.

Again it is wonderful play.

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