By: Felipe Argote
At eight grade of school I had the joy and sadness to read Mark Twin´s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I was delighted to discover that reading was a world that would give me great satisfaction in life, and gave me joys that I never imagined, but at the same time sadness because I discovered I had lost several years of my life thinking that reading was a torturous punishment to which teachers forced me in an effort to make me the most miserable guy in the world. I already had bad experiences when reading novels unbearable for my age as Platero and me, and others which teachers forced me to memorize characters and events but not to analyze, neither enjoy their content.
So when I read Mark Twin and the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and then The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn started my interest in reading that I kept until today.
Because of this I was so interesting to watch Rio Grande, the musical, at Teatro en Círculo, an adaptation of Mark Twin's novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Originally performed by Roger Miller and William Haupt, winner of seven Tony Awards, has been held in Panama under the production of Alida Gerbaud, under the direction of the prizewinner Bruce Quinn, with musical direction by Dino Nugent, and choreography by Barbara Berger at the Theatre in Circle. It was like to reconnect with the old heroes of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and many of his characters. I went back I ran into Tom and his great friend, the tramp Huckleberry Finn, with the slave Jim, the Widow Douglas and Judge Thatcher.
This staging of Bruce Quinn, Dino Nugent, and Barbara Berger surprised me greatly as the height at which the theater has been raised in Panama, especially musicals.
Best of the work without a doubt are the voices, with special mention to the singers Odette Versailles and Yaritza Maga soloists who make the scene in "The Crossing" in which a boat slip where the slaves chained return were caught after trying to escape. Very good was also the musical participation of Daniel Gallimore who plays the slave Jim in particular in the interpretation of "Free at Last". About the actions we should mention the prominent role of Arturo Montenegro Ludwik Tapia and who are presented as King and Duke, a pair of con men on the way that give the play a touch of Boudeville especially in the scene "The Royal Nonesuch."
The musical accompaniment of Dino Nugent is undoubtedly a high level. Accompanied by nine musicians clearly develops the scores that show a reflection of the elevation of the interpretative quality of our environment. The days in which we were happy with very little in theater are gone. This has been understood by producers and directors but also because they have greater professionalism of the actors, musicians, dancers and singers. Barbara Berger's choreography is a special demonstration of the high level of training and experience that accompanies her resume. The dances are simple but good quality interpretation, supported by the Academy of Dance Steps.
Definitely I can only recommend attendance to see Big River to both theater enthusiasts and those who like music, because it has a good level with only short slurred speech of the main protagonist and overacting in the interpretation of the character of Tom Sawyer.
Rio Grande: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, produced by Alida Gerbaud Fábregas keeps coming back until mid June at the Circle Theatre.