Children playwright Egon Wolff probably did not intend his "Paper Flowers" to arouse counterrevolutionary sentiment.But when his bourgeois heroine remainds kind, reasonable, pliant and anxious to help after two hours of being insulted and harangued by a man of the streets, it is hard not to conclude that yes, this peasant certainly is revoting.
The imbalance between Gay Hammerman's concern and Diego Zuniga's hysteria throw the English version of the play, which is on Thursdays through Sundays through Feb. 12, out of whack. (The English version alternates with a Spanish version, in which Zuniga also appears but the woman's part is played by Egla Morales Blouin.) A poor man who makes pretty flowers out of old newspapers, ought to have some charm; and there ought to be something questionable about a woman who expects love in return for charity. But there's little evidence of either.
The flaw is particularly unfortunate, because considerable ingenuity has gone into the staging of the first production of G.A.L.A. (Grupo de Artistas Latinamericanos) Hispanic Theatre in its new quarters at 2319 18th St. NW.
The stage is simply the center of an ordinary-sized town house, and must be crossed by the audience during intermission to get to the lounge.
Nevertheless, the sense of a good-sized apartment is created, and the scene changes, made by stagelands runnings about in the dark with flashlights, are quickly accomplished.
The theater is serving such a needed function and so much skill is involved that it seems a shame to feel the effect spoiled by merely the tone of the production, in which the protagonists were allowed, or even encouraged to develop only one emotional pitch apiece.
But neither is it fair to expect an audience to arrive at the theater so convinced of the author's intentions that they are willing to supply an interpretation contrary to what they see.