The Theatro Solis is a renovated landmark in Montevideo dedicated to the 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. Building museums or palaces becomes the thing one does when he or she has more than enough and wants to show the world he or she is a person of importance.
Located near Independence Square in Montevideo, in the shadow of the Artigas statue and mausoleum, this theater is not majestic. It looks to me like like a Roman 7-11 would have looked on some small Roman corner where the slaves lived.
My tour begins in a reception area just outside the theater’s Presidential boxes reserved for the President, his wife, and important guests.
From the reception room, we are taken into the theater itself. The performing space is three floors high with individual boxes designed to give wealthy patrons a good view of the performance.
From the main theater we are ushered next downstairs to a much smaller performing space suited to smaller kinds of performances. A trio comes on stage and sings for us, dances, and acts out a specialty skit. Alana reminds us that Carnival is coming to Uruguay in January and it lasts a month with barrios competing for prizes. Carnival festivities explode all over the city and there are extravagant goings on in this very facility.
I’m glad when we are done to have had a chance to see a piece of Uruguay’s culture since being close to culture never hurts anyone. Even the old rough pioneer American West had Shakespeare mixed with opera and can can girls. Besides,this Theater is one of the places favorably mentioned in all the guide books I have researched. I can’t say I have arrived in Montevideo without seeing a few guide book places. Going to the Big Apple without going up in the Empire State building, for instance, would be a major faux pas.
After my little tour today, my name has been recorded in an official visitor’s notebook that I signed when I first entered the building and I have earned my merit badge.
Next time down to Montevideo, I will most certainly come back here and take in a play.
I wonder if they let you eat popcorn in those fancy boxes?
I bet there is gum stuck under the seats.