by Jennifer Saracino
One night soon after I had moved to Mexico City, my friends announced that they had a surprise for me. They took me down a little alley in Santa Maria la Ribera, and we stopped just outside a nondescript building with a sign that read 'Microteatro.' In the Microteatro, you can watch a 'Micro Obra' (mini play) that's just 15 minutes long with 15 audience members.
For our first show, we entered a tiny room with a bed that took up most of the space. Suddenly, an actor beside me started speaking to another woman in the room. She played a prostitute, eager to begin, but he, instead, began to recount a past memory. He spoke softly, gazing down at the floor, but then looked up . . . directly at me!
The actor moved towards me and grabbed my hand. I looked at my friends in panic. He motioned for me to lie down in the bed. I prayed that I wouldn't have to speak - fortunately, I didn't. I was more of a prop, and the actor recounted the memories of his mother's funeral, while looking down at me, clasping my hand.
I was mesmerized by the Microteatro. The owners fully optimized the entire building, making every room an intimate stage. The proximity to the actors themselves gave each of us a voyeuristic feeling - like we were privy to a conversation we shouldn't be hearing.
The lobby of the Microteatro was filled with contemporary art and the laughter and lively discussions of its visitors. The first floor boasted a bar and antojitos, or little snacks, for purchase.
If you're interested in experimental, accessible theater, I highly recommend the Microteatro even if you're not fluent in Spanish. The shows are short and direct, so they are easier to understand than a longer production. I'm not completely fluent, and I burst into quiet tears after one particularly poignant play. But be warned: you might just get pulled onstage.
Santa María la Ribera, Cuauhtemoc, 06400
An earlier version of this post appeared on my blog, Something to Write Home About