Currently streaming via The Actors Centre, Shaken is a one-person production by writer/director/performer Mariana Lafón.
Opening in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake, Lafón’s play allows her to portray a variety of characters within her “beloved Mexico”. Performed in a mix of English and Spanish, Shaken deals with government corruption, international ennui, and family tragedy.
Quite often these episodic dramas do not work, but each minute counts of the 28 on screen. We look for answers with the writer, we visualise the “little man” and his surely hopeless rescue programme, we watch the puppet who represents a people in crisis.
One of the first promises made by the US president in 2016 was to block access to neighbouring Mexico by a wall, expecting that (much poorer) country to foot the bill. It was an act of discrimination and demonisation on a neighbouring people.
Mexicans are presented here as resilient even against appalling odds: a lack of medical equipment; the death of a child. Lafón brings in her country’s culture with both affection and rebellion, the gestures and the dances defiant and powerful.
Shaken reveals the stories we rarely hear behind these natural tragedies, and open windows into the thoughts of the disparate characters on stage. There is music, and moments of calm within a tsunami of chaos (the first scene is particularly effective in this). Above all there is humour.
You can purchase access (tickets are £6) to view Shaken until 29 November 2020. It forms part of the Latin American Season at The Actors Centre, curated by The Untold Collectiv.