Juan Darièn

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
By: Julie Taymor and Elliott Goldenthal
Music and Original Lyrics: Elliott Goldenthal
Director: Julie Taymor
Sets and Costumes: G.W. Mercier and Julie Taymor
Puppetry and Masks: Julie Taymor
Lighting: Donald Holder
Sound: Tony Meola
Musical Director: Richard Cordova
Stage Manager: Jeff Lee
Opened: 11/96 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, Lincoln Center
Cast: Ariel Ashwell, Kristofer Batho, Tom Flynn, Andrea Frierson-Toney, Daniel Hodd, Vanessa A. Jones, Andrea Kane, Stephen Kaplin, Irma-Estel LaGuerre, Estelle Mays, Alexandra Montano, Barbara Pollitt, Khalid Rivera, Sophia Salguero, Martin Santangelo, David Toney, Bruce Turk, Fuschia Walker and Irene Wiley

Juan Darièn
Joan Marcus
Director and puppet designer Taymor, renowned in the world of experimental theater, incorporates wooden puppets, giant masks, shadows and live actors into this dark tale of magical transformation (a revival of a 1988 production). Based on an allegorical story by Uruguayan writer Horacio Quiroga, this adult puppet show tells the tale of an orphaned jaguar cub, transformed into a baby boy called Juan (Hodd). After visiting a carnival, the boy finds himself drawn to the caged tigers. A brutal animal tamer (Santangelo), sensing the true beast in Juan, begins a litany of persecution that climaxes with further transformation. An elaborate musical score — jungle sounds, liturgical song, jazz — intensifies the dreamlike mood and blurs the barriers between civilization and nature, substance and shadow, life and death. Dialogue is almost entirely in Spanish, with some of the religious rituals in Latin. Although the storytelling is sometimes loosely strung, Taymor succeeds in creating a haunting, nightmarish dreamworld.
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