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LLT provides powerful glimpse into oppression

The Lakeside Little Theatre production of “The Madres” by Stephanie Alison Walker gives the audience a personal and painful look into Argentina’s “Dirty War.”

pg21This military dictatorship took place from 1976 to 1983, a time when thousands became desaparecidos, people who disappeared. Given its tension and emotional complexity, it is no surprise that “The Madres” was awarded the 2019 American Theatre Critics Association Francesca Primus prize.

In the play, Josefina (Marsha Heaton) and her daughter Carolina (Liz O’Neill) fear that Carolina’s missing pregnant daughter, Belén (Angelica Guerra), is being imprisoned by the military. Heaton and O’Neill do an excellent job of portraying the anguish, fear, denial and anger inherent in this intolerable situation. The two actors also give us a glimpse into the long-standing and often petty dynamics common in any mother-daughter relationship.

The set of the play is Josefina and Carolina’s apartment, which is homey and comfortable. The use of housekeeping tasks, Argentinian music on the phonograph and the preparation of  mate (the national drink of Argentina) provide texture and interest. The music also gives us insight into oppression, as we learn about the imprisonment of some artists and the risks of listening to their music.

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