Revolution Feb 10, 2012

by Lyall

Pablo receives a large shoebox in the mail that contains a severed hand. He puts it in the freezer, and for ten years mulls over its various possible meanings (and periodically freaks out). Vicky sorts old photographs and discovers that her father has a secret, second family. She begins to spy on him and, as time passes, enters a kind of secret life of her own. Mario is a fledgling songwriter, plays in a band with a girl drummer, dreams of being a filmmaker. Dana takes up acting, eventually landing a big part in a play called “Holy Land.”

Laura has moved to Paris, where she falls in love with Lora, who is, in the one scene where we meet her, just coming out of bed with a man.

Pablo falls in love, after many years, with a one-armed woman.

Vicky moves to Paris, then back to Buenos Aires, living off and on, with Mario, who, against all odds, makes a hit film. 

Scenes show up and disappear on a revolving stage, every few minutes, and in two hours they accumulate: 1999 becomes 2000, which becomes 2001, up to 2010. Each character returns in an often spellbound trajectory. And as his or her moment on the stage ticks past, he or she picks up a microphone, steps around the stage divider, and narrates the next story fragment. 

The evening is a clot of fragments, and there's so much narration: the voiceovers are relentless, and all are translated on small screens flanking the stage -- which means that for two hours someone without much Spanish might find himself doing a lot of reading. (At one point I was focusing so hard on connecting one dot with the last, via the reading, that I thought I'd forgotten lives and plots that had revolved for the past hour.)  

The writer and director, Mariano Pensotti, seems to be saying, in staging this post-modern rondelle to end all rondelles, that it's all shatter and sever: his piece speeds up these few lives and slows them down, over-examining minor details, magnifying others, and providing first-draft commentary about episodes that might not warrant it. Bodies more or less tumble over each other (the four main actors play many other characters, in addition to their own), and as their lives turn you might feel the virtuoso skill of the ensemble, the despair cresting in these unfinished lives, and that little merry-go-round thing in your stomach after the second dozen revolutions.