Acting-Out Maternal Trauma: Lola Arias’s Melancolía y manifestaciones (2012)

  • Nina Longinovic Tulane University


Written as an extension to her best-known play Mi vida después (2009)–in which the adult children of victims and victimizers of the dictatorship recall portions of their parents’ stories, Lola Arias’s Melancolía y manifestaciones is a loosely-bound collage of scenes recalling the playwright’s mother’s long bout with depression. At the beginning of the play, audiences are told that the mother begins to suffer from this depression following the playwright's birth, which in turn happens to coincide with the first year of the military junta in Argentina. As a biodrama with a political subtext, the play has been read as a form of post-dictatorship testimonio, yet this essay argues that Arias’s use of Brechtian realism, absurdist humor and postmodern theatrical strategies has the effect of distancing audiences from the emotions associated with traumatic testimonial narratives.

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