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Boleros for the Disenchanted at the A.C.T. Theater

June 1, 2009


This was the second of our series of three plays that we bought as a package at the A.C.T. Theater in downtown San Francisco. I’m not a connoisseur of theater by any means, but we like to go a couple times a year, usually because I recognize the play’s author.

Boleros for the Disenchanted was written by Jose Rivera, who penned the screenplay for The Motorcycle Diaries. Boleros is based on his parents’ relationship. The story takes place in two acts. In Act I, we see how the young couple, Flora and Eusebio, meet and fall in love in Puerto Rico in the early 1950s. Act II then skips ahead to Alabama in the 90s and we see their lives after 40 years of marriage. The play is about love idealized, the fantasy version, and love in reality–the long term, sickness with the health, bad with the good kind of love.

Overall, it was pretty good. The acting was strong, and actors played different roles in Act I and Act II, adding another level of complexity and symbolism (for example, the actor who played the young Eusebio in Act I appears as a priest in Act II to read old Eusebio his last rites). The parallel structure of the two acts worked well, but seemed a little heavy-handed with the theme. Still, there’s very little else I could criticize in the play.

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