GALA Hispanic Theater marks its 10th anniversary with two landmarks: The troupe has finally settled into a new permanent home and opens the season with a revival of its first-ever production, Argentine playwright Ricardo Talesnik's farcical "La Fiaca."
Modestly staged by GALA founder Hugo Medrano, "La Fiaca" is a one-joke play, and that joke is stretched a bit thin over two acts, but GALA's talented actors milk laughs till the end. Ne'stor Vignale wakes up on a Monday morning and announces to his wife Marta that he is not going to the office because he has "la fiaca," Argentine slang for "the laziness."
Cavorting about his one-room apartment in his pajamas, Ne'stor uses his "ailment" as an excuse to regress to a demanding juvenile state, which exasperates his wife, mother and co-workers no end. By play's end, his stunt has attracted the attention of the media, and the family is thrilled, but Ne'stor himself has been returned painfully to reality by hunger.
Now, I don't speak Spanish, but relied on a Spanish-speaking friend and an English translation of the play, so I missed out on many of the jokes and risque wisecracks. But surely everyone can identify with wanting to escape the workaday routine, and it's a tribute to the GALA troupe's stagecraft and vigorous acting that the comedy crosses the language barrier.
GALA's new space, the auditorium of the Sacred Heart Parish School, is roomy and comfortable with a proscenium stage, a first for the troupe, which had worked with a modified arena format in its Lansburgh Building space. The company is in the process of working out bugs like echoey sound and inadequate lighting. "La Fiaca" will be performed only in Spanish, but GALA will present its coming plays alternately in Spanish and English.
LA FIACA -- At GALA Hispanic Theater (1625 Park Road NW) through April 27.