The Theatro Solis is a renovated building in Montevideo dedicated to performing arts, fine arts, and community awareness of the arts.
It was restored completely in the 1950s and looks now like it did in the 1800s. When you walk inside you are greeted by ushers and today is good because an English speaking tour is beginning and I am hustled along to join it. There is no charge and the two young ladies who take myself and a young man from New Zealand under their wings answer our most boring questions.
This theater, in its heyday, was where folks went who had reached the upper crust of society, or had aspirations to be there. The decision to be wealthy causes one to do things that bring wealth. Building museums or palaces becomes the thing one does when he has more than enough and wants to show the world.
Located near Independence Square in Montevideo, in the shadow of the Artigas statue and mausoleum, this theater is not majestic. It looks like a Roman 7-11.
Our tour begins in a reception area just outside Presidential boxes reserved for the President, his wife, and important guests. Uruguay has never had a King or Queen.
From the reception room, we are shown into the theater itself. It is circular with individual boxes starting from the Presidential box and moving all the way around the circle until they reach the stage.It is a bit like a miniature baseball stadium with seats for the masses as well as important dignitaries.
From the main theater we move downstairs to another performing space suited to different kinds of performances. A trio comes on stage and sings, dances, and acts out a skit specially for us. Alana reminds us that Carnival is coming to Uruguay in January and it lasts a month with barrios competing for prizes. Festivities explode all over the city.
Culture never hurts anyone. Even the old pioneer American West had Shakespeare mixed with opera and can can girls.
You can’t say you have been anywhere unless you go a few places guide books say are indispensable.