Open House

Les Brigittines
3/05 > 22:00
4/05 > 18:00
6.7/05 > 20:30
Duration: 80'
Sp > Subtitles: Fr & Nl

"It's about solitude and abandonment, a subject painful for them to broach. Life is busy and fast-moving, they don't have a lot of time for things they don't feel deeply about. They are part of Open House."

(Daniel Veronese)

IFor their first appearance on stage these ten very young actors approached Daniel Veronese, a leading Buenos Aires writer and a director-founder of the group El Periférico de Objetos. They modestly venture to break the silence. With guitar, piano and at the microphone, they sing and murmur about being cast adrift. But they are still floating. Accompanied by the voices of Lou Reed and John Cale and made iridescent by Starlight, these sensual and fragile young actors are wandering somewhere over the rainbow...

Direction & Dramaturgy:

Daniel Veronese.

Actors:

Melina Milone, Eugenia Iturbe, Julieta Petruchi, Mariana Paz, Nayla Pose, Juan I. Alvarez, Olga Nani, Natalia Segre, Gustavo Antieco, Martin De Goycoechea

Assistants to the Director:

Gonzalo Martínez, Marcelo Alcon

Lighting design:

Gonzalo Córdoba

Graphics:

Gonzalo Martínez

Presentation:

Les Brigittines-Bruxelles, KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

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MACHINES OF POETRY..

(Reflections at the end of a troubled afternoon. 15/5/01)

This is what Karl Kraus says about logic: "Logic is the enemy of art. But art needn't be the enemy of logic. Logic has to have been savoured at least once by art and totally digested by it. To assert that 2 X 2 = 5, you have to know that 2 X 2 = 4. But someone who only knows the latter statement will doubtless say that the former is incorrect."

I've thought a bit about this. I think we should try and create a machine of poetry. A machine for constructing perceptions, for creating feelings removed from logic. A machine for making 2 x 2 = 5.

We would have to build an individual machine in each of our hearts. The performance could be the entire machine, all of it. I've always liked defining performances as machines for producing perceptions. Let's try not just to think of coldness when we think of a machine.
What are the machines like?

We could see them as a concentration of functions (or dysfunctions) that produce theatrical actions. Action is everything that allows me a state of change according to the probable (don't confuse 'the probable' with 'the possible') and according to the necessary. Leave to one side what's necessary for achieving a particular aim, beautiful as it is. Action has to produce a disequilibrium of forces. Action as a quality giving colour to and making an impact on what the spectator perceives. It's good always to think about what the spectator perceives. To put yourself in his place. He's going to take everything as if it were coming from the character (even if we do nothing other than stage our own moment of uncertainty, confusion and improvisation). Tumult and physical movement don't always mean development or dramatic growth. This change has to produce something. If you do nothing, if you don't move, equilibrium remains static. And you get bored - it's as simple as that.

If I elaborate speech X, I can entertain (or not). If I add my personal secret to it, which comes and goes like a wave in the spectator's perception, I can say that I'm beginning to create a machine of poetry. Something that covers up and reveals almost at the same time is going to impress the spectator. His way of thinking is going to be on the alert. Playing with the meaning of the text and the revelation of the secret. Playing quite simply means deceiving. When the spectator stretches out in his seat, thinking he has already understood and is understanding the game... you have to upset him. Change the rules of the game. Begin to reveal the game. Or hide it. Maybe it's also the moment to show this talent you're so proud of. Or maybe you'll try to make sure he has no idea about this game being played out in front of him.

Everyone's waiting for 'the idea' or at least 'a clear idea'. Shatter expectations. Peel the onion. Put it back together. Make its layers disappear. Find things in order to deceive, so that the machine starts running and doesn't stop. Not stopping the machine doesn't meant that it always has to be moving. The machine has more to do with the spectator's perception that with our own perception of time and space. We need to think that the lady or gentlemen in this seat sees, hears, thinks, distrusts, decodes, tries to anticipate events, to find references in this group of expressions that I am, with my body, my voice, my clothes, my objects, my music, but also with my silence and my immobility. It shouldn't be forgotten that a shout can be heard more clearly in silence. A hand aimed at the face of an actor for minutes on end provokes more tension than a gunshot. Manipulate suspense to increase the need to know something not yet known. This way, the spectator is led by the nose right to the end.

I thought of the stage and I thought of you. You absolutely have to be there. It's a serious situation. The School demands it and expects it of you. Sufficiently full of pathos. Don't stage pathos. Let it flow like a feeling in the look of the person looking at you. Put yourself beneath the audience. Be inferior. Or at least don't claim to be more intelligent than the audience. They'll like you more. Don't forget that every actor needs solidarity from the other side. Let the audience put themselves on the side of the weakest.

I thought of an onion skin that might enclose the entire performance. And then peel itself. This is how it is: be an actor for the first time. Wouldn't that be touching? This time when you get on stage, feel it as if it were the first time. You're not stupid, you're not shy. It's just that you don't know how you have to act, or how to act in a situation like this. Or you realise that the way learnt at School for so many years is wiped out by the strength of the great fear. The terror of the moment. More or less controlled petrifaction. I'm hardly breathing. Fear of and admiration for all these people who've come to see us. I can't help looking at the audience with admiration, surprise and respect. Thanking them? I'm humble since I'm going to begin something and I'm going to do my best: I'm scared because I don't know if I'll be able to meet so many expectations. The audience is impressive, I'd never felt it. I'd imagined it otherwise. Different. Different? How?

So the person himself, and not the character, is confronted with the audience. I've made the words I've read my own. The audience can't know that they're not mine. I have to deceive them. But to do that I have to be sincere. It's a cruel paradox. I don't have to act. I don't know how to anymore. But they're there. They have to accept me. I'm prepared to do whatever it takes. I'm prepared to pay the price whatever it is. The audience can't think that we are a company of actors from the sticks that's rehearsed for years in front of a mirror and that now, thanks to I don't know what stroke of luck, is here in a theatre in the heart of the capital. I look at my friends. I sense that our time for acting is limited, we don't have the notion of theatrical time. We've been alone, facing ourselves like mirrors, imagining splendid sets and beautiful dialogue. I don't know what a conflict is anymore. I've just got this text in my head and luckily I've also got my secret and one or other talent revealed when I was small and which I really enjoyed showing off at family get-togethers. And I have - what keeps me going - this profound intention laden with mystery and fear before this monster that seems to want to devour me while watching me with thousands of eyes.

I have this space where I can remain all the time I need, I have this audience like a new prosthesis. They're not just my own prosthesis, it's not right for me. They're a place I can cling on to, I can lean against. They're a lunar landscape, they're the lover that exceeds all desires ever dreamt of. And we don't know if they're going to embrace us or send us packing. I don't speak to them, I speak for them. I'm capable of abandoning myself to the most dreadful confessions, to the most incredible displays in order to be able to love and be loved. To finally transform my daily, mundane existence into a true machine of poetry. And to share it. But to really share it. That's why I'm here. If not, I'm off. So I think that machines of poetry should belong to that celestial category of machines of truth. I can't only think of machines to portray. It's possible to be sincere on stage without acting. Or without portraying a character.

Isn't it worrying to think of yourself as a machine for creating profound, beautiful and strange perceptions? You have to begin by trying to imagine it, like I'm doing. At the moment it only exists in my imagination. We won't know if the machine will start running until we're on stage. Beyond this, we can't verify anything. Otherwise anyone could do it. And the life of an artist would be a lot easier.

(Daniel Veronese)

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