After Sun

Théâtre 140

14.15.20.21.22/05 > 20:30
Spanish - Subtitles: NL & FR - 105'

The myth told by one of the two actors at the beginning of After sun immediately sets the tone. Phaethon, whose father is the Sun, is a young upstart who thinks he can drive chariots of fire. When he loses control, the world catches fire. After sun is a piece about ambition, arrogance as a lifestyle and the eternal 'more, more, more'. Director and writer Rodrigo García searched through current events (Maradona and Rodney King) for what most effectively represents a society foundering with stupidity. Thanks to its very physical style and the fusion of words with images, music and lighting, the Spanish company la Carnicería Teatro causes damage to theatrical conventions, creating as much as inviting detachment and a reawakening of thought.

Text, set design & direction : Rodrigo García

Actors : Patricia Lamas, Juan Loriente

Lighting : Carlos Marquerie

French translation : Cristilla Vassirot

In collaboration with : Fundación Autor

Coproduction : La Carnicería Teatro, Instituto del Mediterráneo, X International Meeting on Ancient Greek Drama in Delfos, INAEM, Comunidad de Madrid

Presentation : Théâtre 140, KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

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A Velázquez cretin speaks.

I refuse to be used as a transmitter of culture, so I’m renouncing writers whom I nonetheless admire. I’d consider myself to be a traitor if I were to devote my energy to propagating the works of Shakespeare or Samuel Beckett, to mention just two of them. There are people who do that and who know why they do it. I know why I don’t want to do it: let’s call my position ‘anti’, anti culture-that-I-don’t-want-to-propagate and that I don’t wish for my friends’ children. So I’m having a break from a fair few writers whom I admire and to whom I owe a lot: farewell Peter Handke, Heiner Müller, Thomas Bernhard. Farewell Pier Paolo, Anne Sexton, Ginsberg. Farewell the admired Quevedo... and hello to all new writers who will bring about change because they speak mercilessly from the heart of present-day ineptitude, from rottenness and from hope too.

Questioning reality, becoming crude, savage and violent, is an activity full of hope with a positive vision. Creating works for the purposes of entertainment is an attitude of criminal nihilism: these so-called artists consider everything to be lost. They say: “Let’s look somewhere else, let’s leave things as they are, humanity’s fate isn’t in our hands.”

I’m going to put a small advert with photo in the personal ads section of the pornographic press: “Seek boys and girls to join a growing mental network” and, while I’m waiting, I’ll read the Bible again because it’s an extreme theatrical model and because it contains the following sentence: “Wall Street, 11 September, 8.45 a.m. He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” First jumbo, first impact.

This business of a mental network emerged from a fit of rage against the attack organised at our level of perception, our general level of perception here. One Great Nation and other Great Nations had the plan of reducing the level of information: increasing the quantity of information and reducing the contents to a minimum. Outcome: the level of perception atrophies. But I think I’ve said that already, haven’t I?

Now we are less sensitive boys and girls. We have a refined hypersensitiveness only regarding what we can buy and sell with money. And that’s all. But I’m talking about intense situations a long way from shopping centres, and even from our own homes when we detect contamination there too.

A friend and I were discussing this idea of a ‘mental network’. In an ironically harmless way, he suggested creating a biography of everyone as much as possible from the outside. “Personalising a life,” he writes to me, “like we personalise computers”. I want to be more optimistic than that. I say it’s now that I have the greatest choice for escaping uniformity, and suggest to him the ‘Dylan Thomas system’ that I have patented, for example. The ‘Dylan Thomas system’ consists of reading Dylan Thomas. And that’s it. It means that’s all you do with your time. And I repeat: historically, there are more opportunities than ever of creating other settings for what happens everyday. Enriching what happens everyday means looking after my senses. I can use this time to park in Serrano Street or drive 30 kilometres to the sales (50% off) in a shopping centre in the suburbs, or use this time to go for a walk. My dog and I go for walks and we do it above all to prove the madman Robert Wasler right. He wrote: “Lots of things in this world are possible if we only take the trouble – and the love – to think a little about them while going for a walk in the country.”

What’s unfortunate – and this is the main dream we artists battle against – is that everything with an economic benefit impresses ordinary mortals who think that economic prosperity alone improves their lives. They call ‘quality of life’ a life with few qualities and few differences. They confuse quality of life with accumulation of wealth.

Without doubt our education is a joke, and tools that might help us to bring back the notion of spare time are hidden from us. Reducing quality of information has assured the wealth of some and confirmed a certain illusory well-being for others: millions of Europeans and North Americans. This is the sickness that a small (but powerful) portion of the planet has assimilated as their religion.

Wall Street, 11 September, 9.15 a.m. “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword II.” Second jumbo, second impact… One of the keys to resistance isn’t found in the act of crashing planes into skyscrapers, but in the biological amplification of mental networks which I’ve referred to 30 times already at least. Stones falling into water make waves… but paradoxically when we don’t manage to transcend our ego, it’s often us – artists and thinkers – who provide the most sterile zones…

The expanding networks have to contaminate, and provide the impulse for fundamental changes in, primary and secondary education, artistic activities and lastly universities, thereby creating new people and therefore a new political class.

In future, state budgets can no longer ever be entrusted to qualified people, a qualified person lacks boldness, vision and awareness; a qualified person has had too narrow an existence, spending the best part of his life being educated, so he believes. Ageing qualified people are the antithesis of enthusiasm and change: they are trained so that everything remains the same, accomplishing to the letter what is written down and not betraying the ethereal power they consult. Their compromise is idleness, an ontological idleness dragged along since the planet of the apes. From now on, decision-making positions will be occupied by unqualified men and women, i.e. individuals who are thoughtful, bold, convinced doers, the opposite of a group of incompetents.

Democracy is dead.

From now on, we won’t have Ministers and under-secretaries representing elected parties any more, because no one has taken these elections seriously. It had the formality of a boring Sunday. Oh yes, for at least ten years no elected candidate can maintain that they were elected with full knowledge of the facts. We recognise his photograph on the billboards, but people really are aware that this smiling candidate knows nothing about what’s on our minds and even less (most alarming of all) about the joys of what they call ‘their society’.

Hans Magnus Eisenszberger says that these people spend most of the day in meetings and that their entourage is a barrier that separates them from the reality of their city and country. As these people have been elected in a futile act to kill the boredom of an election Sunday, they shouldn’t be very shocked if the country then lays into them: Seattle, Genoa and all the rest. Democracy’s immense festive responsibility. I really liked it when José Saramago referred to democracy as the starting point and not the aim.

Now we are here, what is the solution? As Beuys said, each man has to be an artist. That’s why I’m stressing the fact that our political and socially useful action is to enhance sensitiveness and extend perceptions through new and complex works: improve the quality of information, and complement a deficient education system and the International Monetary Fund’s new ‘humanism’, with art.

Rodrigo García, February 2002

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