The play concerns the Paraguayan War, or the War of the Triple Alliance, as it is also known. The war took place in the 1870's and was a complete debacle on all fronts. It lasted nearly ten years and the Paraguayan casualties numbered over 500,000. The Play shares many themes with the one I did at Trinity. That one was called The Precious Woman and concerned a different time of historical strife, that being the Warlord Era of China in the early 1900's. The two plays also feature a woman who is misplaced culturally, and a father and son who each reach incredible levels of despotic madness.
Visions is very episodic. It consists if two acts; the first, 15 scenes long, and the second, 8 scenes long. At first we meet the Juana, a young woman in the throws of some kind of visionary madness. She runs about in a storm pursued by her brother. We then meet Lopez and his Parisian wife Madame Lynch. They are the driving forces of the horrors that ensue. Both driven in different ways by their pride and vanity, they wreak havoc upon everyone around them.
Lopez's father is “treated” to death by some doctors clearing the way for Lopez to become El Presidente. Madame Lynch tortures her sisters-in-law mercilessly. One senses fairly early on in this play that is will not end well for any of the characters and that assumption is proved true. Only Juana who is subsumed into the royal household after a failed attempt to heal her retains a semblance of dignity and it is barely a semblance. Her visions, which can only be interpreted by her brother, are slowly revealed to have been prophetic as the each assume a kind of reality, giving her a Casandra like gravitas.
I imagine the play would be difficult to stage. Some of the brutality is very graphically described and that alone would make it difficult. Add to that a proliferation of locations and numerous people who are just there, and you'd would definitely have a tough time. The play would be something of an ordeal to sit through, but it is powerful, has something important to say about the human condition, and is cruelly funny as well.