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TO MARCH 17
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A few weeks ago, two performing-arts centers in the D.C. area began hosting Latin American festivals. The Kennedy Centerwhose AmericArtes celebration is in its first yearis staging a musical based on Gabriel García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold. And Teatro de la Lunakicking off its Fourth International Festival of Hispanic Theaterwelcomes 12 theater companies from 10 Hispanic countries and the United States. But despite Luna’s wealth of talent, its festival will still more than likely suffer a commercial shadow effect from the monolithic rookie across the Potomac. “I think anyone would have to admit that the forte of Latin American theater is not the musical,” says Luna’s executive and artistic director Mario Marcel. “[But] people go to the Kennedy Center for an entertainment spectacular.” Across the river, Luna resides in a nondescript Arlington elementary school. But step into the candlelit black-box theater, and you could be anywhereespecially Latin America or Spain, because all the performers and most people in the audience are speaking Spanish. (Don’t worry, gringos: English-translation headsets are available.) It’s not just quality that Marcel’s concerned with, but accurate representation, as well: “We look for the most variation possible so that we can differentiate each national situation”which translates into political satire, comedy, drama, puppets, and pantomime. Especially noteworthy: Uruguay’s Tonight: Oscar Wilde (pictured, at 8 p.m. Friday, March 2, and at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 3), which finds Wilde in the last years of his life; the Dominican Republic’s Chicken Cordon Blue (at 8 p.m. Friday, March 9, and 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 10), a comedy about the immigrant experience; and The True History of the Discovery of America (at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, and Wednesday, March 14), which involves a smelly Queen Isabella and a well-traveled Indian. Bet the Kennedy Center won’t be showing that one anytime soon. To Saturday, March 17; see City List for details. (Hannah Lord)