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People with the devil in the body: “Diablo” reveals how temptations drag in the Ricardo Blume theater

Weeks after the death of his father, the young and educated Yevgeny Irténiev had to leave Saint Petersburg to immerse himself in the unproductive family farm, with the intention of recovering his production and covering the large debts that the patriarch left his heirs. In that wild environment, the refined Yevhueni, who has become the young boss, also feels the desire to meet a woman. In the absence of a companion of his social class, he agrees to share his bed with a seductive and mysterious peasant girl, whom his faithful guardian has sent for from the town. These encounters arouse an obsessive passion in the young man, but also a guilt that begins to eat away at him when his beautiful fiancée arrives at the farm.

In “The Devil”, a classic tale by the Russian master Leo Tolstoy, concerns very typical of 19th-century Russian literature are reflected: guilt, double standards, betrayal of oneself. But there is a particularly disturbing issue: who embodies the temptations that assail us? Who really is the devil? The directors Mateo Chiarella and Lucho Tuesta overwhelm us with these questions in their theatrical adaptation of this strange literary gem, a psychological thriller with hints of melodrama, played by a remarkable cast that combines generations: the young Sebastián Stimmnan, Andrea Luna and Valentina Saba, with the experienced Milena Alva, Lilian Nieto and Ricardo Velásquez.

Where is the devil? For Chiarella, responsible for the adaptation, anyone could be, even ourselves. “Each one carries his devil, his frustration, his rage,” he explains. And add to this the sexual temptation, the difficulty of restricting our desire to a cultural ideal, in the face of the seductive amount of stimuli and opportunities available. “Believe me, I feel absolutely identified with the character of Yevgeny Irténiev”, confesses the director. It is the permanent tension of experiencing sexuality in a conservative society, for which monogamy and heterosexuality are the supreme values. In this sense, although the work takes us to the pre-Bolshevik Russian rural world, it also confronts us with very local realities.

And the connection with our situation, for both theater men has to do with the way in which Tolstoy develops the prejudices of social classism. As Lucho Tuesta warns, this was a permanent reflection in the team, between directors and actors. “Let’s think about how the boss reifies and subjugates the peasant woman. Although he has sexual relations with her, he thinks that nothing serious will happen between them because he already has other plans, to marry a woman of her level. And that has to do with his education and with the world in which he develops. However, when the peasant woman manages to insert herself into her life, inside his house as an employee of his wife, she will assume a kind of claim. Tolstoy allows us to see the devil in her, but also in every character she interacts with. Faced with this woman, whom everyone sees as a freak, a creature without feelings, the worst in each one comes out.

"The young and educated Yevgueni Irténiev (Sebastián Stimmnan) and his deep debate: whether to surrender to the passion offered by the peasant girl played by Andrea Luna or commit himself, as his family expects, to someone from his own social class, like the character played by Valentina Saba (PHOTO: Anthony Niño de Guzmán)

For Tuesta, this dehumanized relationship is very current, and connects us with many ills that we still suffer as a society: “We talk about the difference between classes, the little value of life for some, and how easy it is to discard whoever crosses our path in our way. They are things that we live constantly ”, laments the director.

More information

Place: Ricardo Blume Theater: Jirón Huiracocha 2160, Jesús María.

Season: Friday, Saturday and Monday, 8 pm. Sundays, 7 p.m.

Tickets: 55 and 35 soles.

Source: Elcomercio

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