So here we were in San Telmo, Buenos Aires, admiring the organised chaos of both the market and the erotic tango dancing. We wandered, gazed, talked and tipped and as the evening set in we headed back towards Plaza de Mayo for some grub before heading out. We passed what looked like a nice little restaurant that would be busier later but it was much too early for any Porteño (person from Buenos Aires) to be eating. The 3 of us headed in with our large bottle of coke and sat down in an empty restaurant. We had a drink and ate a good meal and had some small talk with the moustached owner. We have conversational Spanish but by no means fluent and I’m sure he picked that up during our little tit-a-tat. Just as we were paying for the bill he asked us if we liked Shakespeare. It wasn’t exactly what we were expecting and apart from having to do him for exams in school I wouldn’t say any of us have any great love for the man. We said we knew him and knew some of his plays and with this encouragement the owner then produced 3 tickets for the theatre to Richard the third (Ricardo Trés)! This included some wine beforehand and was going to start in 40min time. Brilliant! Not for the theatre but free wine to any cash starved traveller is gold. We headed into the reception of the small theatre and not really knowing how to act or what to expect going into a theatre in Buenos Aires. We stuck out like hotdogs at a hamburger party among the small crowd of well dress theatre folk but we still got our glasses of wine which was the priority.
We were ushered in to a very small theatre where the audience have tables and made sure to sit away from the other 12 people whom we guessed were friends and family. Lights went down to almost pitch black and we were still kind of amazed at how this had all happened as show started. Now, I suppose if I had thought about it I wouldn’t have been surprised but as the first Spanish words came out of his mouth it only dawned on us that the whole Shakespearean show would be in Spanish. I don’t know about you but I’m not sure I understand the full meaning when it is being spoken in English so as the guys up the front went through soliloquies we were completely at a loss. None of us had seen Richard the Third in English so we couldn’t even relate to the storyline!
The novelty was wearing off just as we broke for an interval where more free wine was consumed and we giggled about the randomness of was happening. I’m sure were the talk of the other guests as who these gringos were but we thought it would be extremely rude to leave as it would be so obvious so we headed back in for Act II. As we sat there we had the idea to spice up the night we would open the coke bottle we still had. The coke wasn’t just coke though and was also full of rum. As I said, cash strapped travellers. We opened it slowly and nobody heard a thing and using our wine glasses we had a foolproof plan. What we forgot about was the smell. As soon as it was poured the smell of rum filled up the whole theatre and although it was very dark we could see the other audience members looking back at us and sense they were discussing whether rum was served as well as wine at the interval! The show did seem to get more entertaining the less that was left in the coke bottle but in order to avoid any awkward questions as soon as it was over we bolted for the door and down the street none the wiser as to the fate of Richard.