Cabaret Barroco: Interludes of Spain's Golden Age

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Would you let your beloved talk you into becoming a toreador? Especially if it meant waging your first-ever bullfight in front of a king? You would if you were Cosme Rana, one of the love-bedazzled characters in GALA Hispanic Theatre's stylish, playful season opener. Logic tends to evaporate where love is concerned {mdash} that's one theme of "Cabaret Barroco," an anthology of entremeses composed by writers from the Spanish Golden Age. This world-premiere production, mounted in collaboration with the Spanish company Accion Sur S.L., weaves several entremeses together, framing them in variegated fashion with short skits and songs based on lesser-known Golden Age texts. The words may date back centuries, but Spanish director Jose Luis Arellano Garcia knows that the subject matter {mdash} infatuation, jealousy, greed, gender relations {mdash} is familiar and evergreen. To emphasize that timeless, accessible quality, he has opted for an artfully low-key presentational approach: On an uncluttered wood-toned set, four male and four female actors, dressed in versions of 17th-century attire, divvy up the roles in the sketches, then cluster back together for the now-reflective, now-wisecracking songs. Stylized movement adds to the production's confident, seamless vibe. Composers David Peralto and Alberto Granados Reguilon furnish underscorings and song melodies that feature infectious lilts and classical Spanish sounds {mdash} contributing to the show's atmosphere of pedigreed buoyancy.
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