Out There 2014 The Year I Was Born: Sins of the fathers

Examining the post-dictatorship era in <i>The Year I Was Born.</i>

Examining the post-dictatorship era in The Year I Was Born.

The Walker Art Center's Out There 2014 ends on a high note with Lola Arias's moving examination of the Chilean dictatorship that shaped the youths of each of the performers.

The nine creators share stories about growing up under the iron-fisted rule of Pinochet. For some, it meant growing up outside of their native land during that 17-year reign. Others grew up poor or middle class in the country.

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As illustrated in one moment, when they line up according to their father's and then mother's political leanings, they came from households that reached across the political spectrum. All of this gives them rich fodder for the piece, which ties together recollections, images, audio, and theater to illustrate the past and the present.

Some of the performers have particularly harrowing stories to tell about their parents. They were arrested and imprisoned, forced to go on the run and live underground as a rebel or a terrorist (depending on your definition). 

Though the material is heavy, the presentation is not. The crew of nine performers use a variety of techniques to illustrate different parts of the story. There are childish touches, from cute illustrations on vintage photographs that are projected on a screen, or toy soldiers and tanks that take us through the chaotic first moments of the September 11, 1973 revolution.

Sometimes, the piece loses its focus. The multiple times they line up and sort themselves according to some kind of criteria quickly go from intriguing to tedious, especially as the last one interrupts some strong momentum that had built up.

Even with that, The Year I Was Born is an intriguing examination of how the past can't be shaken off with ease. Relics of those two decades abound in the show (and Chile as a whole), such as when a coin is flipped to determine the political future of the country. It is a 10-peso piece, minted during Pinochet's reign and carrying the political message of the era. Apparently, it takes more than time to heal wounds.


8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
For tickets and more information, call 612.375.7600 or visit online.