People say that in difficult times, the strongest are born and, in Venezuela, many workers are taking that as a philosophy of life. Within the deep crisis that Venezuelans are going through, there are doors of light opening towards new and better ways to recover the future of the country. Theater, for example. The theater in Venezuela is experiencing a new boom, and without even realizing it, it is growing to rescue Caracas’s culture from the black hole where it ended up after being considered among the main art capitals in the world.
“Micro” Theater in Venezuela
MicroTheater is a perfect example of the reflourishing trend. In several countries, it has enormous receptivity, in Miami, Mexico, Bogota, Madrid, and now Caracas. It is a type of theater, also called a-Quarter Theater, where the play itself lasts 15 minutes. It’s a challenge for the entire team, from production, direction, dramaturgy, lighting, music, scenery and actors, to bring together the complete plot of a play into a few minutes and keep the audience so entertained that they lose track of time, when in fact it’s only been a quarter of an hour.
In Caracas, the atmosphere is unique in the world, spectators can be part of a real theater party. The microtheater setting in Caracas gives a festival feel to it, this is probably the main reason why it is so successful.
Micro Theater in Venezuela is currently in its 14th season, which lasts a little more than a month and where 30 plays are presented simultaneously, all of them 15 minutes long so the audience has a whole menu to choose from. Drama, comedy, tragedy, stand-ups, absurd theater, surrealist theater, musicals and even blind theater. Behind all these plays, there is a team of approximately 200 artists, including actors, producers, playwrights, scenographers, costumers, etc., all advertising their event, talking directly to the audience, participating in interviews; all of this makes it a very festive environment.
Culture and Theater in Venezuela
Dairo Piñeres, one of the most recognized theater directors in the country and one of the directors of micro theater Venezuela, says that this movement is a small version of the greatest theater festivals, because it offers an opportunity for reunion between artists and the audience. It’s an excellent bridge between new actors, experienced actors, great personalities of the theater in Venezuela, journalists, etc. and therefore, the audience is involved in this wonderful meeting and theatrical festivity.
“Theater is the only space where we still have freedom.” –Dairo Piñeres
Another reason for the success of microtheater is that most of the plays deal with the difficult situation the country is going through. There are some works that face the topic in a funny way, other works focus on the tragedy of the events. All of them have different ways of sending a message to their audience and making them feel identified with the plots. Piñeres explains that the success of the theater at the moment, not only MicroTheater, is that it’s one of the few places in Venezuela where culture is free. It’s one of the few entertainment and art media that is not entirely censored by the government. Almost all of the plays, from the simplest comedy to the deepest drama, have something to do with the situation in Venezuela because it is impossible to escape of what’s happening in the country.
Theater in Venezuela: Last Bastion of Arts
In the middle of the chaos that Venezuela is going through, culture and art have been terribly damaged because the government and the people themselves have stopped investing in it. In a place where getting food or even water water is so difficult, people would rather eat than go to the theater. But still, most of the artists who work in Venezuelan theater continue to bet on the future of art, offering accessible and eye-catching shows for the public. And directors like Piñeres, for example, continue to bet on the young artists of Venezuela.
Theater in Venezuela has emerged in one way or another, conquering the media censorship crisis that is banning the country’s free speech. The Venezuelan government has restricted the production of television shows, actors have lost their jobs because soap operas are practically non-existent and the economic crisis has also damaged national cinema. The only media that is welcoming everyone to continue making art, to continue making culture and sending messages of struggle, hope, strength and resistance to Venezuelans is theater. It’s becoming a space of representation, of union, of brotherhood.
“Venezuelan officialdom is a matter of money. Money and power. That’s not what the theater’s about. It’s not about money. It’s about talent, humility, with honest men and the wonderful human being within the artist. And the ruling party simply doesn’t have that.” –Dairo Piñeres
With almost all the factors of production against it, Venezuelan theater has emerged like a phoenix from the ashes, taking the necessary strength and wisdom so that when Venezuela returns to be on the world stage as it was before, not only MicroTheater but the entire national theater will once again become a world reference and pride.