Do you know D.C.?
Get our free newsletter to stay in the know about local D.C.
Somewhere on the outskirts of Santiago, Huinca, a derelict, awakes to find himself in a hovel with Eva, a hooker with a bad leg and a face he likens to a dog’s snout. After lots of hung-over discussion, they conclude that they’ve been thrown together by one of his wastrel buddies. Eva feels rejected by the worldthat she’s been foisted on Huinca, as the bottom-of-the-barrel whore, being only the latest indignity. As for Huinca, he’s a moody drunk who celebrates his human freedom by choosing to die of cirrhosisany day nowrather than give up wine. So they talk. And talk (so much that the interpreters of this Spanish-language presentation faltered more than once the night I was there). She whines and brags of her education; he philosophizes and tells tale after tale, always accompanied by a brave little tune in the background. I guess she’s “triste” and he’s “loco.” Hugo Medrano and Silvia Marín struggle gamely through the verbal clutter, though they don’t always seem to be in the same play: Medrano is an understated, credible figure, while Marínwho originated the role of Eva in husband Juan Radrigán’s playveers toward telenovela flash. Milagros de León has created an impressionistic web of planks and fencing to suggest the couple’s refuge. (That this Gala production takes place in the Takoma Theatre, a cavernous old space far from the usual local theater haunts, reinforces the sense that we’re on “the fringe.”) But the action seems to flow from whim to whim rather than following a discernible arc. Huinca refuses to hang decorations, then begins to hang them, then quits again; Eva agrees to stay, then begins to leave, then comes back. Radrigán’s concept seems to be that the two will learn from one another, but they scarcely connect, and they don’t seem to understand themselves either, so thingsmostly wordsjust happen. “We’re not animals,” declares Huinca. “All that we poor folks have is our lives.” The problem with the playor maybe its point?is that those lives seem arbitrary and inconsequential. Pamela Murray Winters