January 15, 2016

A chalkboard is not the most cheering sight to behold upon entering a theater. Nor is a slide projector. Both are on view, aptly enough, alas, in “Escuela,” a dull, didactic drama written and directed by the noted Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón. The title translates as “School,” and we are indeed in a classroom of sorts, but one in which the subjects are not grammar and trigonometry but how to shoot a handgun and how to construct and detonate a bomb properly. The five “students” in this informal class in guerrilla warfare and its ideological underpinnings are all nascent revolutionaries burning to overthrow the ruthless military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, the strongman who toppled the socialist government of Salvador Allende and ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990. (The United States’ covert backing of Pinochet is among the more egregiously ignoble episodes in our country’s international