June 21, 2021

Chaplin without Charlot | Babelia

Chaplin without Charlot | Babelia

In what style should this comedy be represented? Inspired by the kidnapping of the body of Charles Chaplin, which occurred nine weeks after his burial in Corsier-sur-Vevey (Switzerland), the author establishes a certain parallelism between the profanadores, two immigrant mechanics from Poland and Bulgaria, and Charlot, the man without economic attributes.

At the beginning of An exquisite corpse Roman Joseph Wardas and Gandscho Ganev drag the artist's coffin with syncopated movements of stale celluloid, but when both cacoks begin to speak, their interpreters adopt a more natural gesture. In Les shipwrecks du Fol Espoir, Ariane Mnouchkine opted for the filming of the silent film within the theater that occupies half of the unforgettable show of the Théâtre du Soleil, to be represented with the expressive amplitude, the acceleration and the image jumps characteristic of the silent film. Its interpreters moved their lips, but the text was projected.


Author: Manuel Benito. Performers: Jacobo Muñoz, Guillermo G. López, Cristina Palomo, Felipe Andrés. Light: Sergio Balsera. Costumes and atmosphere: Teresa Valentín-Gamazo Stage and direction: Juan Pastor. Madrid. Espacio Guindalera, until January 27.

Manuel Benito has composed a demanding work, with extensive text that should be accompanied by profuse and precise action, measured with a metronome. In the interior of the telephone booths from which Gandscho (Jacobo Muñoz) and Wardas (Guillermo G. López) successively call Oona O'Neill asking for a goose paste without success, both interpreters should behave with the elaborate awkwardness that Laurel and Hardy deploy with swing in the car bed scene Night of goblins. They are motivated and lack resolution.

It is not easy to resolve the contradiction between the grotesque events that the author recreates in the thread of what happened and the realism of his writing. During the scene of the Alpine railway station, wearing hats with fungus, Wardas and Gandscho are Vladimir and Tarragon waiting for Papa Godot to appear with the promised fortune. Conceived intuitively as a number of varieties, such a scene demands from both comedians an imitation of a trustworthy and creative Charlot, like the one that Óskar Redondo exhibits in Chaplin XXL.

Felipe Andrés, a well-known category actor, this time is solemn in the role of Commissioner Melville. For such a well-written character to work, the more authoritarian he wants to move, the more labile, sticky and lacking in character his interpreter must represent him, what happens in The Pink Panther with Inspector Clouseau incarnated by Peter Sellers. Rather than clothe Melville with corseted severity, Andres would present him as a weak intolerant of character, someone who when trying to move with ease becomes ridiculous (just as when he wants to be insightful he seems short of scope). In order to break one of laughter it is enough to imagine how awkwardly Sellers would put the Commissioner's weapon within reach of Oona and the failed acts he would commit one after the other when she took it with her little hands.

The Madrid-born author converts Chaplin's wife, stoically incarnated by Cristina Palomo, into a spokesperson for the thesis of his work (and of convictions that presuppose him). The temper with which she pronounces herself, her attitude over good and evil, the seamless determination transmitted by the words that Benito puts on her lips, make her character univocal and unconvincing.

In spite of the opportune thing and of the effort of this production of the Company Guindalera, commanded by Juan Pastor, his direction stays this time between two waters.


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