Isabel Allende’s masterpiece coming to Teatro Espressivo

Teatro Espressivo is bringing one of the most famous Latin American novels to life. La Casa de los Espíritus or “The House of the Spirits,” is making it’s way to the Curridabat theater following decorated stints in New York, Denver, and Santiago, Chile.

Often called the feminist version of “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” this fiction written by Isabel Allende in 1982 employs the technique of magical realism to generate important historical allusions. And just as Gabriel García Marquez’s story addresses Colombia’s identity through powerful symbols, Ms. Allende’s masterpiece hints at the political instability of Chile.

Her initial manuscript for the eventual National Book Award-winner came from a letter she sent to her dying grandfather. Following the Trueba family through a tumultuous 50-year period, “The House of the spirits” focuses primarily on the protagonists Esteban and Alba, the grandfather and granddaughter pair.

The adaption was written by Caridad Svich and put into the hands of Puerto Rican director José Zayas, who had the difficult duty of making such a long and complicated novel within the limited space of a stage.

“It is an enormous novel of 500 pages with such characters and ages that it was impossible to replicate what Isabel Allende had done in the pages,” he said in a release. “What interested us was to describe the love that Isabel and I had towards the novel, its ideas, and most importantly is the game of time.”

While it toured the United States, “The House of the Spirits” received great praise from critics and won the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Francesca Primus Prize, among numerous others. Stemming from the expert handling of Svich and Zayas, the story has fluidly translated in remaining true to the original and intended themes.

“The play begins with the beating of Alba at the hands of her grandfather, who represents the country of Chile,” Zayas said. “It’s an incredible metaphor that, for me, reflects on all of Latin America.”

Starting with its Feb 6 debut, the play will be shown 40 times over a two month span on Thursdays and Sundays each week. The theater is in the Centro Comercial Momentum Pinares.

Steve Aronson, founder of Cafe Britt and Teatro Espressivo, is responsible for bringing the play to Costa Rica. He is dedicating the play to his late friend Dionisio Echeverría, the actor and director who helped contribute to the theater’s work, according to an announcement. Tickets for the play range from 8,000 to 15,000 colons (between $16 to $30) and are available at the play’s Web site

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