“A house full of water”, the nanny’s point of view and the hierarchies of humiliation | at the Metropolitan Theater

A house full of water: 8 points

Author: Tamara Tenenbaum

Acting: Violeta Urtizberea

Set design and lighting: Santiago Badillo

Costume design: Lara Sol Gaudini

Sound design and original music: Federico Marquestó

General production: Future Theater Company

Executive producer: Carolina Castro

Directed by: Andrea Garrotte

You wake up one morning and realize / Your life is one big concession / Stuck in the job you swore was temporary / You feel like the world is leaving you behind / You never did everything you wanted to try.” Laura Izibor’s song (“Shine”) sets the music for the credits of diaries of a nanny and summarizes the conflict of its protagonist. The film is based on the best-selling Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, which at the beginning of the millennium generated some agitation in New York high society for being a rather brutal portrait of the lifestyle on the Upper East Side. The story was told from the point of view of a babysitter, and while the book remained a bestseller, everyone wondered who the writers (babysitters in real life) had inspired to craft their tale.

The film resorts to several broad stereotypes and more than once falls into the temptation of Manichaeism, but it shares the atmosphere and a certain tone with a house full of waterfirst play written by Tamara Tenenbaum, directed by Andrea Garrote and starring Violeta Urtizberea. The work proposes a much more subtle work than the film, but the comparison is useful to talk about a story built from the look of a middle-class young woman in that world-another that is the high society.

In the movie, Annie (Scarlett Johansson) is a New Jersey girl recently graduated in anthropology who doesn’t know who she is or what she wants to do with her life; babysitting job in Upper East Side it falls from the sky and is presented to her as a good opportunity to run away from her mother’s house and discover herself. In the play, Milena (Urtizberea) lives in the neighborhood of Montserrat, studies biology at the university, dreams of traveling to the Mediterranean Basin and to save money she sells her time to Angie’s family, the baby to whom everything is directed. the monologue.

That is one of the successes in the dramaturgy of Tenenbaum. Another interesting element is the oscillation of the character between different worlds: Milena belongs to the middle class, she is not in a desperate situation (she saves to be able to treat herself) but she is not comfortable either. Her encounter with members of a higher social stratum generates a certain amount of admiration; she venerates her mother’s infinite legs, her father’s perfect teeth (both appear as offstage characters alluded to in her speech) and her lifestyle that she perceives as inaccessible. Film and play propose a story in a confessional tone: Annie keeps a diary with anthropological observations and Milena tells her most intimate secrets to a baby that she is not capable of answering.

The ’90s –a prudent distance from today– works as a backdrop, provides some hilarious epochal winks and adds a layer of meaning to the protagonist’s reflections. It is not convenient to reveal the main conflict, but it is advisable to remember that phrase from Milena when she tells the story of The little Mermaid: “She leaves everything for the earth, not just for the prince. What she wants is to be a part of her world.” Some of that lives the character in that dream house. The links, moreover, are counted from the field of work: Milena is an employee and they are her bosses, the girl offers care time in exchange for money but there is a “hierarchy of humiliation” and she makes it very clear at the beginning: ” The babysitter narrowly beats the maid, the private teacher beats the babysitter, just more comfortably if she teaches English.”

The piece takes place within the four walls of Angie’s room. Garrote’s direction –with great experience in one-person shows– and Urtizberea’s interpretive resources prevent the text from being trapped in that claustrophobia. The actress proposes interesting changes of rhythm and her ductility enables the tone that each scene demands, sometimes more comical and empathetic, others a bit more tragic and distant.

a house full of water also immerses himself in the fears of the middle class: being poor, not being able to follow your vocation or – as the Izibor song says – being “stuck in that temporary job you swore”. A great result of this triad of creative women with a story narrated from the experience of the middle class, work and those years of youth full of dreams and promises.

* A house full of water It can be seen on Fridays at 10:15 p.m. at the Metropolitan Theater (Av. Corrientes 1343). Tickets are purchased through PlateaNet.

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