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    Dominicana On Line - El Portal de la República Dominicana

    The Modern Era

    In the middle of the political, economic and social crisis generated by the execution of Trujillo and the beginning of the complex transition stage to democracy, theatrical presentations were not in a significant period of development.

    One noteworthy theatrical event, in 1973, took place during the Joaquín Balaguer administration: the inauguration of the Teatro Nacional. The great work was part of a collection of cultural endeavors, including the Plaza de Cultura, which offered a space for cultural expressions, though it was not accompanied by a cultural program that would guarantee the use of the Plaza to its fullest potential.

    The creation of the Casa de Teatro had a significant impact on the growth of culture, as it was a home for groups of young people anxious to find a space to develop their abilities and skills.

    Iván García, Franklin Domínguez, Héctor Incháustegui Cabral, María Castillo and Reynaldo Disla, among others, would assume important roles, as authors or as actors, in attracting an audience to the theaters of Santo Domingo that had never before been satisfied with the theater's offerings, above all due to the unreliable support on which the promoters and actors were forced to rely.

    The Teatro Gayumba group, led by Manuel Chapuseaux, was founded in 1976 also as a result of the search for modes of expression for young Dominican artists, many of which studied under the actor and director Rómulo Rivas. This particular troupe firmly established street theater in the Dominican Republic in the 70s and 80s. The actress Nives Santana was a member of the group. In her repertoire, she included adaptations of classic and modern plays, as well as children's theater.

    Another landmark company in Dominican theater was the Nuevo Teatro, directed by Rafael Villalona, who studied in the former Soviet Union, as did Delta Soto and María Castillo, members of the independent group. This troupe eventually acquired its own theatre. Memorable works performed there were La ópera de los tres centavos and La noche de los asesinos, among others. Ángel Haché, Víctor Checo, Miguel Ángel Bucarelli, Augusto Feria and Félix Germán were also members of the company. Nuevo Teatro also formed the Jóvenes Actores de Nuevo Teatro, a youth theater troupe, using auditions to select the artists they then integrated into their performances. This group dissolved in the early 1990s. In the same manner, Villalona hosted various workshops in Santiago, which gave birth to the Teatro Popular del Centro de la Cultura (TPC). The evolution of Dominican theater has been closely wed to the economic crisis that decreased theatrical productions for lack of sponsorship and theaters. This situation has generated, however, the emergence of independent theaters.

    In Santo Domingo, one finds the Teatro Luna tucked into the Mejoramiento Social neighborhood, under the direction of Fausto Grullón, who studied in the former Soviet Union. Other important theaters are La Cuarta, a theatrical space under the direction of Dionis Rufino, who also graduated in the former Soviet Union, and Las Máscaras, directed by Germana Quintana and Lidia Ariza. These spaces, located in the Colonial City, especially the latter, have broadened the theatrical offerings in the city. Las Máscaras holds performances every weekend and has created the "Thursday Monologues", in which actors of various genres and schools perform during the month.

    Every two years, the Dominican stage is enlivened by the Festival Internacional de Teatro, an international theater festival that this year (2005) will hold its fourth gathering. Created under the management of Natasha Sánchez, while she was head of the Teatro Nacional, the first festival was directed in Spanish by Ramón Pareja. In these festivals, companies from Europe, the United States and Latin America have participated. In addition, figures such as Eugenio Barba of the Odin Teatre of Denmark and Flora Lauten of the Teatro Buendía of Cuba, among others, have visited its stage.

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