On the Isla Negra in Chile stands the little house Pablo Neruda lived in. Today, it’s a place of remembrance. And in this museum house, two people keep watch, Arturo and Malva. They sit, they stand, they guard, they explain, they dream. Day after day. The strangest people visit and the oddest things happen. The mysticism of those who make love in the beds of great artists, steal soap from erotic bathrooms, are surrounded by cicada-houses and narwhal tusks is interlaced with letters from Neruda’s mother to her beloved son. Full of care and love, the early-deceased accompanies the life journey of her Pablo and encourages him in a language that’s poetically touching. The lover regrets not having killed Neruda and made him hers forever in this way. And when Malva slips on the stolen soap, the cicada house comes down, Arturo caresses Malva’s long legs and realises that the largest of all bugs has escaped, their desires come true in a dream. Arturo goes on tour with his boss and takes all people who have ever travelled in his bus, Malva on the other hand now lives in Neruda’s house, until one day the tears of the little wooden statue flood the house and it disappears, spinning as if by magic into the distance of the sea.
Roland Schimmelpfenning and Justine del Corte have written Canto minor about the Chilean literature Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda on the occasion of his 100th birthday, commissioned by the National Theatre Santiago de Chile.