Alternative Theatre Experiences in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is famous for its grandiose Teatro Colon and the bustling theatre district along Avenida Corrientes, the city’s answer to Broadway. But delve a bit deeper and the city is also home to a flourishing alternative theatre scene that takes a more experimental approach to the stage. From dining in the dark to interactive, theatrical journeys and clowns interpreting Shakespeare, I guide you to the best alternative theatre on the scene.

Hearing is Believing

A Ciegas Gourmet invites you to dine, drink and be merry… in total darkness. Just close your eyes and allow yourself to be led and let your other senses do the work. Actually it doesn’t matter whether you close your eyes or not as you won’t be able to see anything anyway. You’ll be seated at tables and served plates of food and wine by members of the theatre troupe. Luckily you don’t have to battle with the added challenge of cutlery as it’s all finger food and table manners don’t apply in the dark. As you rise to the challenge, an enchanting performance will sound out around you with singing, dialogue and other sensations.

A Ciegas Gourmet at Teatro Ciego
A Ciegas Gourmet; photo courtesy of Teatro Ciego.

A Ciegas Gourmet is one of a number of shows by Teatro Ciego (or the Blind Theatre) a theatre group of both blind and seeing artists that perform all their shows without light. This particular show has had a successful run since 2008 and is still going strong. Although the play is mainly in Spanish, you don’t need to understand everything that’s being said to understand what’s going on. As general director of Teatro Ciego Martin Bondone says, “It’s difficult to explain the show with words. You just have to experience it!”

Shows take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 9pm. AR$250

Play your part

Are you ready to be a protagonist? That’s the tagline of Usted Está Aquí, a show that’s better described as a theatrical experience. It’s a journey that takes you beyond the auditorium to explore the boundaries between theatre and reality and question. Anyone who goes to see the show is sworn to secrecy so all we can say is expect the unexpected and leave your inhibitions at home. You can choose your experience but you’re invited to play around and venture beyond your comfort zone.

Usted Esta Aqui at Ciudad Cultural Konex
Photo courtesy of Usted Está Aquí.

The show is the brain child of Argentine directors Nati Chami and Romina Bulacio Sak, both of whom have studied and travelled extensively in Europe. The show was first conceived and performed in an old house in San Telmo last year but has this year taken over the space in the Konex, the giant warehouse space best known by tourists for hosting the Monday night drumming show La Bomba del Tiempo. Explains director Nati Chami, “Nowadays people feel the need to be part of something. The show invites you to get involved physically and emotionally and play a role and that is what makes it fun and inspiring. People leave feeling everything is possible.” You never know, you may end up being the star of the show.

Usted Está Aquí will run until the end of October 2013 with performances on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8pm, 830pm, 9pm, 930pm and 10pm at the Ciudad Central Konex, Sarmiento 3131. The show will re-open again in 2014.

The Devil’s Cabaret

If you like a bit of cabaret, Jamón del Diablo is a singing, dancing cabaret style extravaganza that moves from the comedic to the absurd to the downright dark and slightly disturbing. As you sit and sip wine around small tables in the centre of the auditorium, the show plays out around you from all corners of the room pushing the boundaries between audience and spectator. It was inspired by the play 300 Millones by Argentine Roberto Arlt and adapted by director and founder of the theatre Timbre 4, Claudio Tolcachir, one of the most important figures on the city’s independent theatre scene. Timbre 4, named after the buzzer number of Tolcachir’s apartment where he started the theatre, also runs its own theatre school.

Jamón del Diablo at Teatro Timbre 4
Jamón del Diablo; photo courtesy of Teatro Timbre 4.

And for those of you who don’t speak a word of Spanish, Timbre 4 have recently started adding English subtitles to their shows. They rotate between shows and do it around once a week. Check their website for the next subtitled performance.

Timbre 4, Mexico 3554

For more timid types who prefer not to become part of the show, Un Poyo Rojo is another spectacular piece of theatre that focuses more on the physical than dialogue in which dancers improvise to the radio music (currently also being performed at the Konex).

And there’s also a modern day interpretation of Shakespeare’s Othello at La Carpintería Teatro. Othelo (with one ‘l’) is an adaptation by Gabriel Chame Buendia and tells the whole story using the original texts but in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way using clown elements and gags. It also relies heavily on the physical aspect of theatre so you don’t need to worry about following all the lingo.

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Sophie Lloyd
UK-born Sophie Lloyd first moved to Buenos Aires at the beginning of 2010 out of a desire to learn Spanish and live the Latino lifestyle, having spent the previous five years working as a fashion editor, writer and stylist in Shanghai, China. She quickly adapted to the late nights and copious amounts of Malbec. She works as a freelance writer and copywriter and currently contributes to the Buenos Aires edition of Global Blue's Shop magazine as well as running her own personal shopping and private shopping tour business Shop Hop BA delivering a stress-free, customised shopping experience to visitors to the city.

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