Monday, September 1, 2008

Two Sleeping Giants

Every morning on my way to school I first pass by the Teatro Cervantes, just two blocks down my street, then past the enormous Teatro Colón, which takes up a whole city block, between the Plaza Lavalle and the Avenida de 9 julio. The latter is quite obviously under repairs, with sidewalk closures all around and random scaffolding. The former gives the superficial appearance of being in full swing, with placards for various shows on prominent display. But there never seems to be any activity in the evening - after three weeks I had yet to see any evidence that the advertised shows were actually being performed.

It turns out - somewhat shockingly - that renovations on the Teatro Colón have been underway for almost 10 years now - a project which has apparently fallen victim to various changes in city government, with each successive incumbent firing all those previously hired to work on the project so that his particular cronies might benefit instead. But each successive incumbency never lasts long enough for anything to get done. In other words, an ongoing political farce, which would be funny if it weren't so pathetic.

Just as shocking, lights have been dim in the Teatro Cervantes for over a year, due to an inability (or lack of political will) of the city to come to an agreement with "the unions".

It's as if the London National Theatre were closed for 10 years. Or the Globe in Stratford. A pretty sad state of affairs.

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