Ibsen Martínez is a Venezuelan playwright and essayist who needs no introductions. His latest OpEd for the New York Times links the Spear murders, telenovela productions, Teodoro Petkoff, and scarcity to paint a smorgasbord of the surreal reality of Venezuela’s TV industry.
The money quote:
This violence seems far away from the sleek air-conditioned studios where our telenovela is produced, but the scarcity of essential goods, inexplicable in a wealthy petrostate, affects us all. Every so often, filming is interrupted when a cast or crew member receives a text message alert that some staple is available at a nearby supermarket. The studio empties before the rationed stock of toilet paper, milk or corn flour runs out.
Many Venezuelan telenovela actors also moonlight as theater players, but rampant kidnappings and armed robberies have cast a melancholy, self-imposed curfew over Caracas’s once glamorous night life, limiting what actors can do off the set.