The Theatre of Tenerife South

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The buildings stand painted in motley – fair, auburn and white – as the curtain in rises on the Tenerife playset. Large hard-black railings protect them from ‘undesirable’ as the balconies exude pretention towards an apathetic cobalt ocean. The sun – our spotlight – disregards the seasons of the outside world and gleams relentlessly on our would-be players in their affordable ivory towers.

But, we don’t need to look far for the props to show and backstage looms at the edge of every corner. A cockroach scuttles under a buzzered gate and we follow him backstage and peer upwards at the prop houses.

He stands in the desert heat, among the disused props and player’s debris. A few cacti stand as monuments to the natural world that humanity has given little thought to, and until a generation ago, left untouched. Little could naturally thrive in these parts except the elusive gecko or the resilient housefly. Humanity was hindered in any natural development or evolution in these parts, until the low-cost flight generation came to fruition.

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The set-designers came, developers as they are known, and they build their stages to display their players. Some plays were successful, and though the players change, they seem almost natural until one removes the blinkers of theatre and sees the arid, natural backstage surrounding them.

Others however were not as successful. Their sets are far more apparent. They stand, by contrast, unfinished. They are incomplete, with freshly tarred roads complete with road signs leading towards the desert abyss.

The players stand, oblivious to, and yet eagerly fulfilling their roles on their very own sets. They overlook the backstage beauty on their doorsteps and instead put on their costumes and march towards the ‘pub’ set or the ‘supermarket’ set that stand in other parts of the theatre at is Tenerife South.

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