Theater’s most successful work gets restaged

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“El Veredicto” brings history to life

Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla was made fun of at the time in the newspapers.

Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla was made fun of at the time in the newspapers.

Teatro en Círculo, the center for dramatic arts founded in 1961, is celebrating the Canal’s centennial by restaging a production of “El Veredicto” (The Verdict). The play is a fictional trial of Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla that invites the audience to draw their own conclusions about the polemical figure who played a central role in the shaping of the new Republic. Theater-goers can take a front seat to history Tuesday, August 5 – Sunday, August 31, with show times Tuesday to Saturday at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 4 p.m.

“El Veredicto” was first presented in 2003 and has become Teatro en Círculo’s most popular production to date. Written by Panamanian authors, Juan David Morgan and Ernesto Endara, the work imagines the conversations between historical figures “that very well might have happened.” The play’s original director, Eugenio Fernández, is back to stage the new production which also includes members of the original cast.

The French-born Bunau-Varilla served as Panama’s ambassador to the United States when he sold the idea of constructing the Canal on the Isthmus, a plan which competed with a proposed Nicaraguan route. Because it focuses on this period, the play adds perspective to the renewed push for a Nicaraguan canal, a topic that has reemerged vis-a-vis Panama’s lock expansion project.

According to Maricarmen Retally, the play’s co-producer, “We have the best cast, the best set design, the best wardrobe and we are working with the best people, all the ingredients to make this ‘The Great Play.’”

Theater spokesperson Paulette Thomas added: “What better way to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Canal than to bring its story to the present day and give everyone a chance to draw their own conclusions of what transpired?”

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