The atrium was hushed after a short introduction and in a circle of plastic chairs, about forty people awaited the start of the show. Two actors, masked and shirtless, emerged from the grand staircase, and under majestic architecture, began in a silent embrace.
All of this, in the people’s building, Hartford City Hall.
Under a roof that normally holds politicians, administrators and meetings, Cuer2, (pronounced Cuer-dos, Spanish for the number two) a theatre group from Lima, Peru, gave a special free performance of their play ‘Hebras’ last Thursday February 9, 2012 in the atrium of City Hall.
The story undulated from reflective moments of the actors studying each other in silence to frantically tearing at one another in frustration and anger. Director Roberto Sánchez-Piérola, used to working with live musicians, crouched by the stereo, playing the musical accompaniment. When the music died down, all that could be heard was footsteps on the marble and heavy breathing from behind the masks.
With no words and masks to hide facial expressions, the two actors, Roly Dávila, 25, and Jose Luis Urteaga, 28, used their bodies to expand on the theme of relationships. Translated, the title ‘Hebras’ means ‘Threads’.
“The idea was to talk about humans, regardless of gender,” said Director Sánchez-Piérola about the meaning of the play. “Relationships with others, but also with yourself.”
Relationships are exactly what brought Cuer2 to Hartford in the first place.
The group has been touring in the states for about a month, playing approximately 10 shows at universities in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, and through a contact at the University of Connecticut, planned a showing of both ‘Interruptor’, a spoken-word play, and ‘Hebras’ on February 9 on campus.
Hartford City Councilman Luis Cotto got word of the group’s planned performance in Storrs. “I thought, ‘That looks awesome, but it’s at two o’clock at UConn,” Cotto said.
His next question was, “What do we have to do to bring them here?” Four days before the performance, Cotto had the artists, but just needed the audience and support.
From a personal donation from Mayor Pedro Segarra to the meals and rooms donated by Trinity College, and the intimate group that turned out for the show, they made the performance happen.
“Every aspect was covered by a different entity,” said Cotto.
The Hartford performance would be the last of approximately ten shows they have played in the last month. “What a great way to finish off our tour, we are really loving this place,” said actor Dávila before the show.
As the music died down, the two actors returned to a silent embrace. The crowd returned with a standing ovation, while Urteaga and Dávila stood there with masks off, smiling.
Technical Information: The light was really challenging here. Shot on a Nikon D300s, with the following lenses, 14mm 2.8, 50 1.4 (old) and 17-55 2.8. Shot on the highest possible ISO usually at F1.8 or 2.8 at 1/30th of a second, Auto White Balance.