Argentina's "Dirty War" Provides Backdrop for a New Play

Feb 28, 2014

A scene from Claire Whitehouse's play "a la ronda" based on stories from the Madres de Plaza de Mayo.
Credit Ariella Axelbank

  A la ronda, a new play opening this weekend at Wesleyan University, calls attention to Argentina's "Dirty War" and the human rights organization Madres de Plaza de Mayo.

During the so called "dirty war" of the late 70's and early 80's, tens of thousands of Argentineans were systematically abducted and killed, suspected of being an enemy of the military dictatorship.

In 1977, some of the mothers of those that disappeared began defiantly marching in the Plaza de Mayo, right in front of the presidential palace, demanding to know the whereabouts of their children. They called themselves the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, or Mothers of the Plaza De Mayo, and they continue to march to this day.

Wesleyan student Claire Whitehouse has written a play called A la ronda, or "to the circle" based on the testimony of 5 of these mothers. Rather than a straight reading of these moving testimonials, Whitehouse says she wanted the audience and the actors to transition from our everyday lives into the tragic world of these brave women. "Some of these texts they read, as if they are reading from a book," says Whitehouse,"and then they get pulled into the story, and they act out different scenes from it. But they always go back to being people who are reading the book. And this is our attempt to understand something we ultimately can't understand."

A la ronda runs tonight through Saturday night at Wesleyan's Patricelli '92 Theater.