In El año en que nací, by Argentine Lola Arias, eleven performers born during the Chilean dictatorship (1973–1990) reconstruct events from that specific historical period and work through the personal impact of those events before the audience’s eyes. Nonetheless, as Marvin Carlson reminds us in The Haunted Stage: The Theater as Memory Machine, there is often a spectral character in the representation who not only helps audiences connect with the performance but can also alter its message. Supported by Carlson’s theory, I examine the various types of ghosts that inhabit El año en que nací to show the ways in which this “haunted stage” extends the performance beyond the personal and the national. I also show how this performance is used as a tool to question the relationship between personal memories—with their multiple manifestations and interpretations that are built by reconstructing and obtaining second-hand information—and collective memory, since the play is about a major past event known at some level by both Chileans who lived through the dictatorship and subsequent generations who suffered the consequences. I argue that the use of ghosting in this play highlights a tension between the personal and the collective and between the national and the global to solidify and question the Chilean story and highlight its universality.


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pp. 39-58
Launched on MUSE
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