La Prueba

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts’ desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

H.L. Mencken wrote this and just to make sure it was true I googled these two sentences, discovering that he wrote them in the Baltimore Sun on 26 July 1920. He was referring to the fact that since Presidential campaigns are waged in the media the candidate most likely to win is the most vacuous.

This of course also appears to be an anti-populist phrase. But I am often struck to see how accurate portrayals of nations still are decades and centuries later, and I am beginning to think there is actually an “American” national character.


That post was about as interesting as I could get today, a day I spent sifting through papers, taking notes, and having the impression that although I was now being diligent I was quite behind and was not advancing. When are things progressing by fits and starts, and when are they going in circles, was my question – in other words, how does one distinguish between optimism and sanity?

In desperation at 7:15 PM I discovered the best online cultural agenda of Lima and ran off to the play listed below, whose nature I was able to discover ahead of time by googling it. Really I was going because it was at 8 and I was interested in seeing a play directed by Francisco Lombardi, with whom I am only familiar as a film director. You can tell how behind I really am because I did not know the play, the author, or how famous both were. I also did not realize that the play would address in part my question of the day, how to distinguish between optimism and insanity.

Teatro del Centro Cultural PUCP
(av. Camino Real 1075 – San Isidro)

Teatro: “La prueba” de David Auburn (Estados Unidos), a cargo de Wendy Vásquez, Carlos Gassols, Vanessa Saba y Diego Lombardi, Dir.: Francisco Lombardi; a las 8:00pm.
Entrada general: S/.25

The Centro Cultural de la PUCP is lovely and elegant, and I do not know how old it is; I had not been there before. It has the theatre, a café, a good bookstore with genteel libreros, and more. It also has parking and everyone but me had apparently come in a car. Therefore cabs do not pass in front of it at night and the buses that stop at the corner are not going to my house. If you want to catch a cab, or choose from among a greater variety of buses and collective vans, from the CC-PUCP at night, I recommend walking to the Ovalo Gutiérrez which is nearby and has many vehicles.

Cabs here don’t have meters – you negotiate a price. It cost $3.67 to ride to the CC-PUCP from my house and $3.33 to ride back. That was because the second cab was older and smaller, I believe. Peruvians pay slightly less, but I do not get the very best prices because I look foreign. The play cost $8 so this most refreshing evening cost $15.


5 thoughts on “La Prueba

  1. Maybe when the US becomes a lesser developed country after all the oil runs out our cultural opportunities will develop similarly.

  2. Hmm. I’ve got many taxis from outside the CCPUCP! It is indeed a nice place, but the old Filmoteca still has a soft spot in my heart; and the Centro Cultural of the San Marcos (at La Casona) was tremendous when Gustavo Buntinx was in charge.

  3. Servetus – nice to see you up and about – that’s a happy thought but remember: I’m in a capital city, this will happen larger cities, I think …

    Jon – O good! Maybe it was just a low density taxi night. Old filmoteca, yes. Casona of the old SM, you know I was only in there for the first time the other day. When I lived in Lima 1 in the early 80s it was in ruins or something, and SM was on strike and I assumed the uncrossable picket line extended to the Casona … then for a long time I didn’t get to spend much time in Peru … so I missed a lot. The Casona is gorgeously restored now and there’s a lot going on there.

    (I *still* like Lima 1 and would like to live there. Most everyone I know says my two favorite places, Lima 1 and Barranco, are silly places to live but I disagree, and say I just have better real estate sense than they do.)

  4. Hola Tedel and thank you! I need to join Hi5, everyone in Peru and Europe keeps telling me to do it, so I will, but under my real name!

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