‘Tango Turco (Turkish Tango)’ at Teatro de la Luna

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FIVE STARS 82x15
Tango Turco (Turkish Tango) is a fascinating play, veering from soapy and melodramatic to thoughtful and philosophical. Argentinian playwright Del Autor’s strange but oddly likeable play is being brought vividly to life at Teatro de la Luna by Director Mario Marcel and his team of three talented actors (Alfredo Sánchez, Marcela Ferlito, and Jerry Daniel).

Marcela Ferlito, Alfredo Sánchez, and  Jerry Daniel. Photo by  Cortesia, Teatro de La Luna.
Marcela Ferlito, Alfredo Sánchez, and Jerry Daniel. Photo by Cortesia, Teatro de La Luna.

Tango Turco begins with a crime and explores how the guilt of committing that crime engulfs the pair of lovers on the run. Rudolfo (Alfredo Sánchez) and Amelia (Marcela Ferlito) flee their native Argentina and attempt to escape their past on a comic flight through Spain, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco. Along the way, the pick up a “Turkish” guitar player named Yassuf (Jerry Daniel), a native of Lebanon fleeing from his own past. Without giving plot points away, suffice it to say that the presence of the non-Spanish speaking Yassuf adds layers of comedy and complication to the plight of the couple on the run from the international police.

All three actors deliver over-the-top, energetic, and acutely-timed performances of mostly one-note characters. Marcela Ferlito manages to imbue the sometimes unlikeable Amelia with warmth and passion through her cheeky line delivery and highly animated facial expressions. She is a force of nature. Alfredo Sánchez gives a solid performance as Rodolfo, veering from well-executed over-the-top slapstick comedy to thoughtful delivery of some of the most sensitive monologues of the evening. Jerry Daniel steals the show as the non-Spanish speaking Yassuf, most hilariously in a scene without words when he discovers the Argentinian lovers in flagrante.

Although the show is performed entirely in Spanish, the overhead subtitles combined with strong body language makes this modern comedy accessible and easy to enjoy for Spanish and English speakers alike. Teatro de la Luna recommends the show for mature audiences (ages 15 and older) due to risqué humor, adult themes, profanity and strong sexual innuendo.

Director Marcel’s set design is spare but, with the help of projections, effectively conveys the trio’s flight from country to country. The lighting and sound design by Brian Allard and Mario Marcel respectively effectively serve the actors and the plot. Rosita Bécker and Nucky Walder deserve great credit for creating costumes and props that creatively suggested each country and absurd situation without going over the top..

Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes, with one intermission.

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Tango Turco plays through May 18, 2014 at Teatro de la Luna at Gunston Arts Center – 2700 South Lang St., Arlington, VA. For tickets, call (703) 548-3092, or purchase them online.

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Diane Jackson Schnoor
Diane Jackson Schnoor is delighted to be back in the DC metro area after nearly two decades away. She earned her BA at The American University, with a minor in theatre arts, and holds a master's and doctorate in elementary education from the University of Virginia. A lifelong devotee of the arts, Diane's reviews and arts feature stories have been published in The Millbrook Independent and DC Metro Theatre Arts. As an actress, Diane has performed with the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, the Fort Bragg Playhouse, TriArts Sharon Playhouse, and in musicals and dance shows in Millbrook, NY, Amenia, NY, and Lakeville, CT. Her day job career has run the gamut from adjunct college faculty to preschool director to public relations director and back again, but her primary occupation these days is as chauffeur to the two young actresses who inhabit her home in Winchester, VA.