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'Whatever happened to realism'

August 1988, no. 103

La Mama: The story of a theatre by Liz Jones, Betty Burstall, and Helen Garner

Mcphee Gribble $16.99 pb, 112 pp

'Whatever happened to realism'

August 1988, no. 103

The most impressive building in the village of Tepoztlán, near Cuernavaca, is a huge sixteenth century Spanish monastery. But high up on the cliffs, when the mist rises, you can see – if you know where to look – a tiny Indian temple which everyone in the valley knows is where the gods really live.

La Mama is like that – to those who know it. But even the watchers on the bank know that theatre is built on a foundation of human sacrifice, so it is not surprising that La Mama should, on close inspection, turn out to be a regular little charnel house, a bloody altar on which all sorts of queer and callous rituals are performed in the hope of raising up the great gods Laughter and Applause. Apparently I sacrificed a wife and child there myself.

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