Daniel Giménez Cacho stars in Network, a play about media manipulation

Fifty years ago it was already predicted that television would become a show and its content a mere merchandise for sale to attract more public and with it more monetary gains. The prediction was made in 1977 by screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky in the movie Network where he recounts the decline of a newscaster on a local channel until he falls victim to the television show.

The story, which won several Oscars, was adapted for the stage in 2017 by Lee Hall for the National Theater in London and the Belasco Theater on Broadway, and is now being presented at the Teatro de los Insurgentes in Mexico City starring Daniel Giménez. Cacho under the direction of Francisco Franco. An acid humor montage that analyzes the power of television, the media, governments and large television corporations where success and audience records are the dictatorship.

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In an interview with El Sol de México, Daniel Giménez Cacho, who plays Howard Beale -a television news presenter who is fired after 25 years of work- says he is surprised by the validity of the script, since the approach is from the second half of the 20th century, but it seems to tell a story of the present: how a man leaves the journalistic truth to sell entertainment and thus increase the audience of your newscast.

“When they tell him that they are going to fire him, he loses his mental stability, his desire to tell the truth makes him a victim, you see how he thinks he is telling the truth, and that he is succeeding, but in reality he is a victim of the mechanism of business that the television station has set up and, on the other hand, the reflection of whether or not we can use the media to transform or improve society, can we do something, what place are we in to defend ourselves from the media, are we free or not? the actor.

Upon learning of his dismissal, Howard Beale He announces live that he will commit suicide, and after giving a speech about his fed up with the television station and the attitude of his audience, his level of acceptance rises. So the new young managers decide to leave him as a kind of puppet, not to give news, but to do the show every night in prime time.

On the verge of madness, the presenter invites his viewers to shout, each from their surroundings, their annoyance at the violence, abuse, lies and normalized manipulation from television. Giménez Cacho almost achieved with his performance that the audience of the Teatro de los Insurgentes also shouted their anger at the present we live.

“The work shows how anger is something that can be manipulated from the media and at that moment that happens we propose that people and all of us take out our anger, express our tiredness to what happens and then see what we do, of course in that later we see what to do, the manipulation of the media or leaders or another person with power arises”, said the actor who considers that today social networks have replaced television as a show.

The montage is identified by an elaborate mobile production to take the viewer to the 70’s in the United States. The stage design by Adrián Martínez is identified by two televisions that hang from the outer walls of the stage and a long table under the stage that simulates the control booth of the TV channel where the actors go up and down in a constant interaction. with the viewer.

In order to take the public back in time, the costumes do the same and even the colors of the environment, the tone of the voices and the commercials make the viewer think that they are not in the theater but at home watching a nightly news.

Network is presented at the Teatro de los Insurgentes from Friday to Sunday until next July.