A battle of two exes over ‘Little Infidelities’ stuns at Teatro de la Luna

In 'Pequeñas Infidelidades,' an ex-wife controls the narrative; the ex-husband's a gaslighting creep. What could go wrong?

Are the people in a failed relationship owed closure from their partner? Is fidelity or loyalty easily defined in a loving relationship? What answers or acts of forgiveness do we owe each other after love is lost?

Teatro de la Luna, a Spanish-language theater tucked in a tiny building space on Georgia Avenue NW, presents Pequeñas Infidelidades (Little Infidelities) and works to answer some of these questions. The play, by Argentinian writer Mario Diament, presents the scenario of a couple meeting for the first time since their divorce ten years ago. When Alejandro (Edwin Bernal) arrives at an apartment he intends to rent, he is surprised to find that his ex-wife, Ema (Marcela Ferlito), is the person showing the space.

Marcela Ferlito as Ema and Edwin Bernal as Alejandro in ‘Pequeñas Infidelidades (Little Infidelities).’ Photo by Germán Serrano.

With the initial shock and surprise gone, and having had zero contact for the last ten years, the two begin to reconnect and catch up. As the catching up turns to introspection, with the assistance of a leftover bottle of whiskey, the characters rehash the little failures that led to bigger resentments, and the deeper fissures of the relationship begin to appear.

Diament’s writing is not very complex, nor would I call it significantly interesting for a stage play. The little barbs and arguments that the couple engage in are only about as interesting as watching a couple fight in public. If you have been in a long-term relationship, the fights you’ve had in your relationships are probably just as interesting. So the scenario for this play is relatable. More importantly, the play gives the actors plenty of opportunities to explore how to address the whirlwind of a complicated and failing relationship, and Bernal and Ferlito are exceptional in their respective roles.

Ema challenges her former spouse to admit why he left their relationship, to answer the questions that may be familiar to anyone who has faced a failed relationship. The discussion naturally leads to the admission that Alejandro had been cheating, physically and emotionally, during the length of the marriage.

And although this is not a deep play, it was wonderful to see that the narrative of the work gave Ema’s character the power throughout most of the ensuing action. Ema controls the narrative; she maintains both the upper hand and, arguably, the moral baseline to which this story is held. Marcela Ferlito shines as Ema. She delivers fierce takedowns with a sarcastic smile, and with the confidence of having truth on her side, maintains a powerful composure when faced with her ex-spouse’s lies and betrayal. Ferlito adds complexity to the character that is not quite present in the text, and her choices allow Ema’s controversial ending to feel very much earned.

Bernal’s Alejandro is the nice guy who still insists he loves his ex-wife, who would be willing to forget the past and try for a second chance at love. And he’s a gaslighting creep. He’s the guy who insists he’s a feminist but still refers to his past lovers as delusional. And Bernal does an excellent job of portraying him and his circumstances as “complicated.” Alejandro’s defense of his faults follows the thread of “I was young” or “We were drunk” and “I don’t remember it like that…,” and if you’re not rolling your eyes yet, try dating a man.

Marcela Ferlito as Ema and Edwin Bernal as Alejandro in ‘Pequeñas Infidelidades (Little Infidelities).’ Photo by Germán Serrano.

Director Mario Marcel seems to have provided the actors with a great deal of freedom to explore these characters and to determine whether they sought closure, understanding, or simply revenge. I last saw the Marcel, Bernal, and Ferlito creative trio at Teatro de la Luna’s Andar Sin Pensamiento in 2019. During that production, I was left wondering if there was any reflection of how sexism features in the creative choices made by the actors and the director.

In Pequeñas Infidelidades, sexism, and the justifications we make for men’s shitty behavior, underlie the core of the couples’ actions. Bernal and Ferlito have a wonderful chemistry on stage, navigating the highs and lows of the arguments toward a controversial ending. After everyone’s affairs are revealed, Ema recounts to Alejandro the story of how he raped a mutual friend, after a night of drinking (“I don’t remember it like that,” ”She was the one who seduced me”). And, after she has spent the entirety of the play dodging Alejandro’s attempted embraces and intimacies, she responds to his entreaties and they have sex.

The play ends with quite the twist, in a way that cements Ema’s power over the narrative and her sense of justice. It is an interesting turnabout, if not a somewhat controversial one, and provides a satisfying finality to the dynamic between these two ex-lovers.

The theater is small, with a limited number of seats available that include a view of the translated text. However, this space is a beautiful example of what a community theater can look like. After the performance, the chairs are moved to accommodate a children’s theater workshop for the next morning. There are Spanish-language poetry events scheduled for future days. One of the co-founders of the theater, Nucky Walder, greets everyone as they walk through the door and helps them find their seats.

Running Time: One hour and 15 minutes with no intermission.

Pequeñas Infidelidades (Little Infidelities) plays through March 17, 2024, presented by Teatro de la Luna at the House of the Moon, 4020 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington, DC. Purchase tickets ($30 regular; $25 students and seniors 60+) by phone (202-882-6227), by email ([email protected]), or online.

In Spanish with English surtitles.

Content warning: References to rape.

Pequeñas Infidelidades (Little Infidelities)
By Mario Diament (Argentina)

Edwin Bernal as Alejandro
Marcela Ferlito as Ema

Director: Mario Marcel
Set Design: Mario Marcel, Nucky Walder
Light and Sound: Mario Marcel
Set Construction: Carlos Castillo


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