Premiered at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 14 – November 13, 2005.

While a remote village struggles with encroaching paramilitary forces, a professional mourner (performed by Marissa Chibas) comes to terms with the truth of her husband’s death and her family’s involvement in a massive drug cartel. The Keening was the English-language premiere of a gripping new play from the Colombian writer and actor Humberto Dorado.

SYNOPSIS: A plañidera (a hired mourner or keener) is meticulously scrubbing down a room while she remembers her life in Colombia and prepares for the unthinkable. She recalls growing up as an orphan in a small town, marrying the local doctor when she was seventeen years old, and leaving the town when her husband died and the villagers turned against her. As she continues cleaning, she remembers setting out on foot with her two sons and meeting Señora Eduviges Caldera, a plañidera who takes them to the village of Aguacatal. A small town in northern Colombia far away from any of the highways, Aguacatal becomes her new home. She watches her sons grow up there. She also sees her beloved village change, as smugglers and guerrillas start passing through and demanding supplies. Eventually, she moves back to her old town and opens a funeral home. One day, her oldest son warns his mother to stay away from Aguacatal for a while. Sensing disaster, the plañidera tries to get to Aguacatal to warn her friends there, but arrives too late. As she prepares for the most difficult mourning of her life, the plañidera makes a decision about how to confront the violence that has destroyed her family and country.

Marissa Chibas

Author Marissa Chibas

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