Mario Diament: A true citizen of the world, a pragmatist, a disillusioned idealist with a deep love for theatre, life, and the arts.
In 1998, Mario proposed to me to have New Theatre do his The Story of Ruth.
The theme hooked me at once. The story, based on Mario’s own family, several members of which never survived the Holocaust, concerns the story of an old woman who wanders into an attic in search of an object she has misplaced. In the process of looking for whatever it is she has lost, she encounters memory after memory from her past, in the persons of former lovers, long-dead relatives, herself as child, young woman, and adult woman.
It was a bold and irresistible concept, and it caught my interest in no time. We closed the season 1999-2000 with Mario’s newly-titled The Book of Ruth. It was the largest cast we had ever employed to date at New Theatre, with ten actors playing over 20 roles on a set that depicted a cramped attic full of old furniture.
It was a critical and audience success. Most importantly, it cemented an artistic mutual-trust between Mario and I that lasts to this day, not to mention a great friendship.
Over the next six years Mario gave us three more great plays. The four plays of Mario’s we did at New Theatre have enjoyed a healthy life after their Florida premieres. Smithereens, Blind Date, The Book of Ruth, Lost Tango all have received European and Argentine productions. Mario is quite prolific, and more plays will surely be coming out of his fertile imagination, as it has already been the case.
Mario’s writing is a rare amalgam with a very strong dose of Jewish irony, gallows humor, and old-world philosophy. Add to that mix a sassy Argentine sensibility born not far from the riverside bars where the tango was born. All of that coalesces into a style that changes from play to play according to the dramatic requirements at hand.
Mario is a true citizen of the world, a pragmatist, a disillusioned idealist with a deep love for theatre, life, and the arts.
I never have had a better time directing new plays than with Mario’s. Nor have I had better conversations with any other theatre person. I am so lucky to have him for a friend and to have done his work.
Rafael de Acha,
All About The Arts