How do you look at the enemy in the eye?
A Human Rights lawyer, accustomed to solving unwanted cases, receives an unusual proposal: to organise a yoga workshop for the leaders of the Peru’s most notorious terrorist groups: The Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) and MRTA (Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru). The men are serving life sentences in a maximum-security prison since their arrest in early 90s. Abimael Guzmán, Shining Path’s leader, is one of them.
All prisoners have the right to rehabilitation. But how do you teach wellbeing skills to the perpetrators of the bloodiest civil conflict in contemporary Peruvian history?
Can those responsible for such suffering be changed? To address these questions, the therapist confronts a group of now aged, fragile looking men, who remain invisible on stage. The shear act of standing there, with the audience as witness, strengthens her resolve to confront her own family history. The Therapist is above all a settling of accounts with past demons. The play takes us back in time through our protagonist’s early years, marked by abandonment, and solitude. A time when violence stalked the country, as well as home.
For Gaby Yepes, author and director of The Therapist’s production in Lima (La Terapeuta, La Plaza 2019), new stories and innovative ways of telling them are vital for Peruvian society to look back at itself critically, non-confrontationally, and fearlessly. Gigi Guizado’s translation and rehearsed reading at the Omnibus will no doubt open up this critical, imaginative space for audiences in London.
Written by Gabriela Yepes, (Peru), translated by Gigi Guizado. Directed by Mary Ann Vargas.
This performance is a reading and will take place with a live audience at Omnibus Theatre.
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