New York

Juan Darién, A Carnival Mass

St. Clements Church

Adapted from the story by the Uruguayan Horacio Quiroga, Julie Taymor’s and Elliot Goldenthal’s Juan Darién, A Carnival Mass, presented by the Music-Theater Group, demonstrates that theater provides an ideal means of expressing that duplicity between reality and magic that has come to seem characteristic of the literary production of Latin America.

As the action begins, we are in a fabulous jungle. Darkness envelops the stage at the center of which lie a jaguar and her cub in a tangle of liana. A hunter enters, disrupting the charged atmosphere of the scene, and slays the jaguar. The little one remains alone. As in fables or origin myths, the cub is saved by a woman who, with her milk and compassion, transforms the animal into a baby. So begins Juan Darién’s human apprenticeship. When his adopted mother eventually dies, Juan winds up in the hands of a brutal and blustering jaguar trainer.

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