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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Erotic Comedy Showcases Talent

FOUR adaptations from Bocaccio’sDecameron, “Se infiel sin mirar con quien”(Be unfaithful regardless of with whom)bills itself as a conservation of the lewd andcritical spirit of the original stories.The playbill waxes philosophic on thesecrass and funny skits, saying “600 yearsafter his death Bocaccio continues surprisingus perhaps because he shows the humanbeing as it is: a person with virtues anddefects, shames and joys…”At first glance, however, the collectionof skits looks like three actors finding successivelyimprobable ways to have sex withanyone but their spouses.The dialogue in Spanish and actors’flourishes draw from Costa Rican culture (alo Tico), most notably in the final skit, whichis performed in rural accents, straw hats andan exposed gut.THE set is sparse, limited to woodenboxes, a table and a minimum of props, andthe theater is intimate, the front row of seatsmere inches from the wandering paths ofthe actors. All of that is par for the coursefor these independent productions, and thelack of complexity showcases the talents ofthe actors.The plots of each skit are ridiculous, butall three of the actors compensate, nevermissing an opportunity to squeeze out onemore laugh with a facial expression, a tone,or a gesture.The first skit opens with two men,(actors Eloy Mora and José Luis Solano)preaching against the abundance of sexualimages in the media, a conversation thatculminates in the denouncement of amechanical woman (played by MercedesUmaña) below a billboard advertisementfor “milch.”One of them (Mora) goes to sleep andwhen he wakes the woman has come to life.She tells, him, among other things, that sheis a virgin and that God tells her he wasMarilyn Monroe in a past life. She also saysshe has a command from God to lose hervirginity to him, which he resists. It ends ina not unforeseeable twist, as do the otherthree.THE second portrays a woman whosays her husband does not give her enoughsexual attention. She tries to seduce a visitor(Mora) who seems more than mildlyretarded and at first is not aware of herintentions. She finally succeeds when herhusband (Solano) comes home and shemust invent an excuse for the visit of hernew lover.The third portrays another sexuallyunsatisfied married woman (Umaña) wholets a girlfriend (Mora in drag) convince herto invite over an attractive constructionworker who works across the street fromher house. There is the funny interplaybetween strangers seducing each other, thenher husband comes home when things haveheated up, opening the door to the surpriseending.The final skit is funny if you understandthe country’s rural accents, or have spentany time outside of Costa Rican cities. Allthree actors caricaturize the campesino well– especially Mora with a stutter and a shoutthat escapes him unexpectedly, wearing hisshirt unbuttoned to expose his bean-and rice-fed belly, and Umaña who is a perfectreplica of a country housewife.A houseguest (Solano) says he learneda spell that turns his mare into a woman atnights. The couple he is visiting wants himto teach the spell so the two of them canbecome horses by day. He shows them,demonstrating it first on the woman anddoing things that seem objectionable.The Sala 15 café is atmospheric,trimmed in natural wood, with tables on abalcony overlooking the ground-floorentrance and kitchen counter. The cherryand coffee cheesecakes are the specialtiesof the house. Also, the pizza bread andempanadas, and, of course, the coffees arerecommended.The café features live music onWednesday nights and theater productionsFridays and Satudays at 8 p.m. It is locatedsouth of the Plaza de la Democracia in SanJosé. For more info, call 258-9461 or 223-7482.


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