CHIFLÓN, EL SILENCIO DEL CARBÓN
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents the North American premiere of Silencio Blanco's dramatic production of Chiflón, El Silencio del Carbón (Chiflón, Silence of the Coal), based in part on the writings by distinguished Chilean author Baldomero Lillo. Devised over two years during trips to the mining town of Lota in Chile, Chiflón confronts the intertwined histories of mining and the labor class. The performance follows a young miner, forced to leave his home after a coal mine collapses. His only chance to keep working is to head to the area of Chiflón de Diablo, known as one of the most dangerous places a miner can work in Chile. Chiflón features hand-constructed marionettes, and is performed with a minimal sonic score and no dialogue so as to connect with audiences through a common theatrical language without cultural, age, or social barriers. Silencio Blanco's Chiflón, El Silencio del Carbón takes placeat MCA Stage, and opens the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival.
Based in Santiago, Chile, the artists from Silencio Blanco are known for their handmade puppets, modeled using newspaper. In the montage, human sensations are represented through everyday situations and familiar gestural movements, telling a universal story of humanity in the face of adversity. Bunraku and marionette puppeteers create a powerful illusion that their puppets are human characters.
The company was formed in 2010 by media artists Santiago Tobar and Dominga Gutiérrez, who met while students at the legendary Theater School of the University of Chile. The current group is made up of seven puppet artists and sound artist-composer Ricardo Pacheco. They work collaboratively and to date have created three full-length works, De Papel, Pescador, andChiflón, employing puppets and more recently, film. Tobar serves as artistic director and head puppet maker. Prior to forming Silencio Blanco with Gutiérrez, Tobar was master puppeteer with Compañía Teatro Milagros, collaborating with artistic director-designer Aline Kuppenheim in the company's award-winning multimedia works El Capote and Sobre la Cuerda Floja (Over the Tightrope).