What do you do when your mother is murdered for protesting corporate and governmental corruption? In the case of Milagros, you fight for the justice your mother was denied and seek revenge.
progresses slowly without significantly advancing the issues at hand
Director Nir Paldi’s aim with Bucket List was “to explore the impact of global capitalism on ordinary people, particularly those living on the border of Mexico and the US … to tell the story of an ordinary girl radicalized by the environment she grew up in and driven to take a very bloody path to justice. I’m interested in the idea that one person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist and wanted to explore this through the very human story of a girl who has lost her mother and sees no other means of fighting the injustice she faces.”
As Milagros’s mother lies dying she clutched a list of names: a chain of people she believed to be responsible for her plight. Milagros picks up the bloodstained paper and vows to make them pay for their crimes. The ensuing drama follows her actions in seeking redress. In so doing she exposes corruption and abuse at all levels of society and in many forms. She reveals the damage corporations are doing to the environment and the immunity that NAFTA seemed to provide for them to invade her country, in the name of creating jobs and investment while actually destroying lives.
There are some impassioned performances in this ensemble work that highlights serious, life-threatening issues. The play deploys storytelling, physical theatre, dance and a range of instruments and songs to accompany the action, create moods and further the story. The setting and circumstances of the story relate clearly to the world as it is, but the telling draws on elements of magical realism, so closely associated with the literature of Latin America.
Bucket List has the makings of a powerful drama but still requires much work to be done. The plots hatched by Milagros seem so ambitiously far-fetched as to lack credibility, unless they are all just part of a dream. The storyline progresses slowly and themes once explored are revisited without significantly advancing the issue. At ninety minutes the play is overly long and could be easily cut, even as radically as removing all of the last scenes where the action moves to the USA - which might give the ending a bigger punch.
Clearly a lot of work, effort and research has gone into this production by Theatre Ad Infinitum and performer/collaborator Vicky Araico Casas. It is an interesting piece, but I wouldn’t put it on my bucket list.