by Isaac Allen
Photo by Andy Donohoe
There is a guy standing at the end of the C line in Retiro. He confesses to me that he likes men with beards and baseball jackets. He writes comic plays about yerba mate, Ricky Martin, sexuality, religion and politics. He speaks Spanish with the swagger of a rough Gaucho and his English is the hybrid of an Irish pub boxing champion and chic debonair. His name is Lorenzo Anzoategeek, or just Lolo.
We met a few times in the Club Cultural Matienzo where I was invited to do this interview and went along to a series of three new plays. I met him, his team and his friends, all of whom were extremely warm and welcoming. But, the place where I really got to know this imaginative and seemingly unstoppable machine of ideas was in his apartment. He invited me there to conduct the interview; we had a few drinks, a smoke and then began to talk.
We mused philosophically underneath a smoky haze about many more things than theater. (To be honest, he knows very little about it!) Lolo is more of an artist in the nature of Jackson Pollock with a little bit more edge and little less direction. If we imagine the theatrical stage to be the artist’s canvas his painting is an intense and expressive hybrid of 8 bit Sega driven music, transsexual screaming, constant laughter, simple fantastical lands, enigmatic costume design and lighting. The most simple and basic use of theatrical ability executed in a stylistic, poignant and highly entertaining manner.
The first piece I went to see was aptly named Yerba y Azúcar. It is an 8 bit musical of the highest degree with just two characters. It will not surprise you to know that one is called Yerba and the other Azúcar. The play evolves in a very gay musical style, telling the story of yerba and azúcar from their origins in the fields to their arrival on our kitchen table. But nothing is as simple as it sounds. The songs are written with wit to comment on modern views of homosexuality, religion and politics.
The second installment of the series is not a follow up musical in the traditional sense. Bucles is to Yerba as Jackie Brown is to Pulp Fiction. And it is a literal installment. Two audience members get paired up and invited into the auditorium where they are exposed to three separate scenes. Two minutes elapse before instructions are given from a loud speaker in the corner of the room. Although I chose to disobey the instructions, Lolo later informed me that the instructions were meant to be followed. We walked from one part of the room to the other; still characters come to life and perform various acts. At the end we were instructed to sit on two chairs in a corner of the room, all of the characters come back to life and sing and dance for five minutes before freezing back into character and you are asked to leave.
The third installment, named YO, is a work of comic genius. It is played by a woman who is pretending to be Ricky Martin. She confesses that although she / he is a teenage heartthrob, he like boys. Although he is talented, his career is a complete mess. The entire audience was in stitches. During the interview Lolo showed me where the inspiration and the script for this play came from. Incredibly all of the script is extracted from the autobiography of Ricky Martin, his words twisted into a hilarious story.
Although he is an obviously talented playwright he is still new to the world of theater. He previously worked as an artist, selling his work, but decided to leave the competitive world of commercial art. For a man whose greatest indulgence is marijuana, and whose idea of happiness is, in a word, kisses, transitioning from selling his art to becoming a theater director makes sense.
His play Yerba & Azúcar can be seen at the CC Matienzo Saturday (the 18th and 25th at 9pm). You can also catch Lolo at Thursday´s hippest party, Dengue Dancing, which he runs at the downtown bar GONG.