BUENOS AIRES – With the challenge and responsibility of focusing on a personality mythologized around the world, “Che: El Musical Argentino” (Che: The Argentine Musical), which premieres Saturday in Buenos Aires, aims to reverse the usual banal characterization of Ernesto Guevara.
In one of the world’s birthplaces of the musical, this is the first time one has been written that studies the life of the rebel who became a myth opportunely commercialized worldwide.
The original idea of the musical came precisely “from the need to show Che not as a T-shirt icon but to get him into people’s heads and hearts,” one of the show’s creators, Oscar Mangione, told Efe on Thursday.
The musical is “a kind of reparation of history, because it doesn’t seem right to us to turn who he was into something so trite,” he said.
The production of “Che: El Musical Argentino,” directed by Daniel Suarez, has been “a huge responsibility,” because, Mangione said, they have tried to represent the rebel “seriously and honestly,” which has required “a lot of research and compiling of music and biographies and ideas that people who knew him had about him.”
The work also recovers the Latin American musical substratum that was present throughout Che’s life and travels.
“Since we’re musicians, our best option was to make a musical, but not about some lightweight, hackneyed subject but about an important, historical subject like this,” Mangione said.
In fact, one of the work’s great challenges, said co-creator Oscar Laiguera, is that “right now Argentina is full of musicals.”
The result is a work that they believe “contributes something that people aren’t used to seeing in these latitudes,” and that depends to a great extent on the two performers who bring Che Guevara to life, Alejandro Paker and German Barcelo.
Paker, a recent prizewinner for his work in “Cabaret,” told Efe after the dress rehearsal that playing a historical character like Che is “a big responsibility.”
Argentines will get to know, through one of their favorite art forms, a more human side of Che, beyond the icon on T-shirts and banners around the world. EFE