Apparently, Mexico City is “the next Berlin”. There are some loose similarities – they’re both hotbeds for creative expression and both cities have a bulging population of young people – but the depth of inequality in Mexico’s capital, the flagrant discrimination that is a feature of everyday life, and the fact that 28.5% of the city’s population lives in poverty, suggests that “the new Berlin”, it is not.
Perhaps the strongest link between the two cities has to do with housing, or its lack. Like Berlin, Mexico City is feeling the effects of a housing crisis, as local communities are forced out of neighborhoods and young people struggle to find a decent place to live.
Houses are few and expensive, and for young families, the challenge to get a foothold on the housing ladder is harder than ever before.
That’s the case that Julia and Oliver, the protagonists of in La Teatreria’s current billing, ‘Parásitos’, are facing.
An adaption of the British playwright Phillip Ridley’s ‘Radiant Vermin’, ‘Parasitos’ takes us into a darkly comic tale of material desire, murder, and keeping up with the Joneses.
Julia and Oliver brilliantly played by Regina Blandón and Daniel Tovar respectively, are a young couple living in a cramped apartment in a dangerous area. They long for a home to call their own, and the promise of a better life for their soon to be born son.
A golden opportunity appears to have arrived after they receive a government letter from the mysterious Miss Dee (hysterically portrayed by Mónica Dionne)informing them they have the chance to own their own property for free. Though initially highly suspicious, the couple eventually succumbs to Miss Dee’s charm and sign the contract for the huge property. The only downside is that the house is a shell only, and a lot of work needs to be done inside.
On the couple’s first night in their new home, Oliver accidentally kills a local homeless man in an act of self-defense before noticing that the kitchen has been magically remodeled. Thus an easy, but an evil way for them to renovate their entire home presents itself.
We watch, while the couple’s moral fibers are pulled apart in their mad desire to have always the best, latest, most expensive kitchens, cars, and bathrooms, regardless of the cost.
A frenetic 20-minute scene, at the neighborhood birthday part of the couple’s young son, sees Blandón and Tovar each act four separate characters in a hilarious but frightening process of disintegration.
Never putting a foot wrong, the entire cast fly seamlessly through a this sharply scripted play of almost two hours.
Parásitos, due to run every Thursday evening for the next five weeks, comes highly recommended.