Our Man In Santiago at Theatre West
A new comedy political thriller by Emmy nominee Mark Wilding premieres at Theatre West.
By: Theatre West
On Sept. 4, 1970, socialist politician, physician Salvador Allende was elected president of Chile. According to a 1974 article in Harper's Magazine penned by Gabriela García Marquez, a contingency plan had been hatched by the Nixon administration and the Chilean military in preparation for just such an event — but the coup they intended had to be aborted when "someone made a mistake in the Pentagon and requested 200 visas for a purported Navy chorus, which in reality was to be made up of specialists in government overthrow; however there were several admirals among them who couldn't sing a single note."
Inspired by this ridiculous failure, Wilding has penned a farce in which the CIA enlists an inexperienced, unsuspecting agent to follow up with a poorly conceived and wildly dangerous effort to hasten what was to be a successful coup d'état in Chile three years later, in 1973.
According to Mount, "It's about consequentialism. In politics, do the ends justify the means? Is it okay to break the law if it's for the good of the country? Does assuming the moral imperative make it okay to do something wrong? Sound familiar? It's set in 1973 Chile, but it could just as well be set in Vietnam or Cambodia, or today in Iran."
"The idea for this play has been percolating in the back of my mind ever since I read Marquez's article," says Wilding. "At the time, I was still in high school, but I made a copy and have held onto it ever since. It was such a loony, misguided venture. About a year-and-a-half ago, I workshopped the play at Theatre West, and the reaction was amazing — everybody thought it was so much fun."
Performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. from March 13 - April 5. Two previews March 11 and March 12, 8 p.m. Tickets $25 in advance and $30 at the door; Previews $15. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Los Angeles, CA 90068; Call (323) 851-7977 or go to TheatreWest.org (http://theatrewest.org/