On Avenida Corrientes, one of Argentina’s most important theaters hides behind an inauspicious 1960s glass facade. If you weren’t looking for it, you’d probably walk past by the Teatro San Martín without giving it a second glance.
But an enormous artistic complex lurks inside. The Teatro San Martín comprises three stages, a cultural center with art exhibits and workshops, a small cinema and a gorgeous salon. A huge variety of performances takes place every week, from theater and dance, to concerts, movies and children’s activities. When we visited, the hallways were being used for a photo exhibit called “24 Hours in Buenos Aires”. The lobby contains both a bookstore and a café. In short, there’s art everywhere.
After finishing up with the photo exhibit, we continued up a flight of stairs to a large salon outfitted with retro furniture. There weren’t any signs saying we couldn’t go up there, but we felt like intruders, since the room was devoid of any other life. No visitors, no guards, no signs of any sort. We lounged on the plush couches for a bit, just because they were there, then took our intrusion game up a notch. The closed door down the hallway wasn’t locked, and after opening it, we found ourselves alone in the gorgeous Sala Martín Coronado, the largest of the Teatro’s three stages.
Last night, we returned to the Sala under more appropriate circumstances: to watch La Vida Es Sueño, by Pedro Calderon De La Barca, one of the most important works of Spanish-language theater. It was an incredible show, and our attention was held rapt throughout, despite understanding approximately 6% of the verse. Murder, attempted rape, deception, naked old kings and a lot of shouting in rhyme. At just $50 (US$12), it was a great bargain for an entertaining night.