Tango Turco (Turkish Tango) is a fascinating play, veering from soapy and melodramatic to thoughtful and philosophical. Argentinian playwright Del Autor’s strange but oddly likeable play is being brought vividly to life at Teatro de la Luna by Director Mario Marcel and his team of three talented actors (Alfredo Sánchez, Marcela Ferlito, and Jerry Daniel).
Tango Turco begins with a crime and explores how the guilt of committing that crime engulfs the pair of lovers on the run. Rudolfo (Alfredo Sánchez) and Amelia (Marcela Ferlito) flee their native Argentina and attempt to escape their past on a comic flight through Spain, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco. Along the way, the pick up a “Turkish” guitar player named Yassuf (Jerry Daniel), a native of Lebanon fleeing from his own past. Without giving plot points away, suffice it to say that the presence of the non-Spanish speaking Yassuf adds layers of comedy and complication to the plight of the couple on the run from the international police.
All three actors deliver over-the-top, energetic, and acutely-timed performances of mostly one-note characters. Marcela Ferlito manages to imbue the sometimes unlikeable Amelia with warmth and passion through her cheeky line delivery and highly animated facial expressions. She is a force of nature. Alfredo Sánchez gives a solid performance as Rodolfo, veering from well-executed over-the-top slapstick comedy to thoughtful delivery of some of the most sensitive monologues of the evening. Jerry Daniel steals the show as the non-Spanish speaking Yassuf, most hilariously in a scene without words when he discovers the Argentinian lovers in flagrante.
Although the show is performed entirely in Spanish, the overhead subtitles combined with strong body language makes this modern comedy accessible and easy to enjoy for Spanish and English speakers alike. Teatro de la Luna recommends the show for mature audiences (ages 15 and older) due to risqué humor, adult themes, profanity and strong sexual innuendo.
Director Marcel’s set design is spare but, with the help of projections, effectively conveys the trio’s flight from country to country. The lighting and sound design by Brian Allard and Mario Marcel respectively effectively serve the actors and the plot. Rosita Bécker and Nucky Walder deserve great credit for creating costumes and props that creatively suggested each country and absurd situation without going over the top..
Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes, with one intermission.