Arde brillante en los bosques de la noche

Théâtre National
  • 19/05 | 20:30
  • 20/05 | 20:30
  • 21/05 | 18:00
  • 22/05 | 20:30
  • 23/05 | 20:30

€ 18 / € 14
1h 40min
ES > FR / NL

Meet the artists after the performance on 20/05

What is to be done? This is the title Lenin gives to an essay at the dawn of the 20th century that lights the fuse of the Russian Revolution of 1917. One hundred years after this turning point in history, Argentina’s Mariano Pensotti wonders what is remains of the socialist ideal today. A leading director of our time, Pensotti is admired around the world for his inventive theatrical language that borrows from film. In his latest play, he explores new narrative methods blending puppets, acting and film. Arde brillante en los bosques de la noche interweaves the contemporary stories of three women whose lives continue to reverberate with the Russian Revolution. Built like a Russian doll of fictions within fictions, the play lifts the veil on history only gradually. In pursuit of avant-garde utopias, Pensotti imprints a circular movement on time and highlights the gulf separating those who make history and those who live through it. Will the three protagonists find relief in the sea of flames of revolution?

See also
Workshop

Text & direction
Mariano Pensotti

Performed by
Susana Pampín, Laura López Moyano, Inés Efrón, Esteban Bigliardi, Patricio Aramburu

Set & costume design
Mariana Tirantte

Music
Diego Vainer

Lighting
Alejandro Le Roux

Production
Florencia Wasser/Grupo Marea

Stage assistance
Malena Juanatey, Tatiana Mladineo

Set assistance
Gonzalo Córdoba Estévez, Tatiana Mladineo, Luciana Peralta

Direction assistance
Juan Schnitman

Technical realization of video
Screenplay & direction

Mariano Pensotti

Director’s assistant
Juan Schnitman

1st Direction assistant
Lionel Braverman

Head of production
Paolo Donizetti

Production assistant
Azul Aizenberg

Cinematography/DOP
Soledad Rodriguez

Camera assistant
Mercedes Laborde

Gaffer
Sandra María Grossi

Art direction & costume design
Mariana Tirantte

Art & costume assistants
Gonzalo Córdoba Estévez, Tatiana Mladineo, Luciana Peralta

Make up & FX
Mariana Jara

Sound director
Nahuel Palenque

Sounds assistants
Sofia Straface & Lucio Fontana

Film editing
Andrés Estrada

Color correction
Soledad Rodriguez

Music
Diego Vainer

Animation
Andrea Torti

Presentation
Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles

Commissioned and co-produced by
HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin)

Co-production
Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires, Teatro Maria Matos/House on Fire, with support of the Culture Programme of the European Union

In collaboration with
El Cultural San Martín

Performance in Brussels supported by
Embajada de la República Argentina en Reino de Bélgica

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Arde brillante en los bosques de la noche

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Arde brillante en los bosques de la noche [Burning bright in the forest of the night] addresses this anniversary and some of its potential repercussions, both artistic and political, in today’s world. It is hard to ignore the similarity of many of the problems faced by the majority of the world’s population a hundred years ago to those we face today. It may be a simplistic view, but the conflicts arising from inequality, redistribution of wealth, workers’ rights and the fight against new forms of exploitation seem just as relevant nowadays as they were in 1917.

Arde brillante… is a work composed of stories centred on the lives of three women of today, whose experiences are intersected by the Russian Revolution in very different ways. The narration uses three different formats for each section. It is a work with puppets, who one day set off to see a play, whose characters are going to see a film. Like a big Russian doll, made of fictions within fictions, each of which changes the others. Art, like revolutions, creates possible worlds which were not visible before. Are we able to invoke – with a suitable dose of humility – the explosive artistic avant-garde which followed the Russian Revolution and which aspired to recount things that could not be recounted any other way? Creation of mega-fictions as utopian action.

Arde brillante… takes as its inspiration the Soviet revolutionary and feminist Alexandra Kollontai, and some of her concerns about the body, liberty, sexuality and how capitalist societies model women’s identity to suit their own convenience. Kollontai is a relatively obscure figure of the Russian Revolution, like many women involved in revolutions around the world. After the triumphant events of 1917, a series of radical transformations took place at all levels of society, and her influence was felt in areas such as divorce, women’s suffrage and legal abortion, same-sex unions and more. But above all, the idea of the body as revolutionary field of action took root.

Among other things, Arde brillante… asks questions about how capitalism controls bodies, and particularly how the control of women’s bodies is representative of the more complex control of one class over another. The bodies of the actors are shown at different scales, with distinct power relationships created in each format. The body is no longer just a battlefield, it becomes a personal theme park, for which you have to pay to enter.

A personal diversion: I am about 8 or 9 years old, living with my family in secrecy, using false names, and moving from place to place in Buenos Aires, like a bad spy movie, because my parents were left-wing political militants and there was still a military dictatorship in Argentina. At that time, while listening to the conversations of the adults, I discovered a history for the first time: after the 1917 revolution, many Russians emigrated to northern Argentina, where some of them intended to found utopian colonies in the forest. Someone mentioned that one of these colonies was for women only. The image of these socialist Amazons creating an alternative society in the middle of the crazy Latin American forest at the beginning of the 20th century always remained engraved on my mind.

A few years ago, I became father to a little girl, and my perception of how a woman’s identity is carved out by capitalism today became a daily and far from abstract concern. As a symptom of the age, in recent years feminism has once more become one of the clearest, most active and revolutionary of movements in Latin America.

In the process of constructing Arde brillante…, which took around two years, we talked to revolutionaries, both past and present, and to feminists organizing new social movements in unlikely places; we travelled to the forests of northern Argentina in search of the traces of the Russian immigrants of a hundred years ago, and we also attended anniversary events, for and against the revolution. We saw how the far right was winning elections all over the world and we found that Eisenstein had been a theatre director before turning to cinema, and his last theatrical work had included showing a film.

The characters of Arde brillante… are transformed by watching the lives of other people in works of art, thinking about them, and starting to wonder whether they themselves want to be spectators or protagonists in History. In a world filled with terrible injustices, the possibility for them of a radical change, in society and in their own lives, like a crouching tiger which bursts into flames, continues to illuminate and give hope in the darkest places. A hundred years on from 1917, Lenin’s still relevant question goes on resonating: “What is to be done?”

Mariano Pensotti
Buenos Aires, April 2017

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Mariano Pensotti (b. 1973) is an Argentine author and theatre director. He studied cinema, visual arts and theatre in Buenos Aires, Spain and Italy. He formed the Grupo Marea with set designer Mariana Tirantte and musician Diego Vainer. As a theatre writer and director he has created more than fifteen performances in the past ten years. He has been heralded as one of Latin America’s brightest theatre talents, and he and his company tour extensively throughout the year. His latest creations include Cuando vuelva a casa voy a ser otro (2015) and Cineastas (2013), which have been performed in more than 20 cities around the world, El pasado es un animal grotesco (2010-2012), which premiered at Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires and was presented at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in 2010, among others. Sometimes I think, I can see you (2010-2011) premiered in Berlin at HAU Hebbel am Ufer as part of Ciudades Paralelas festival and presented in Buenos Aires, Cologne, Brussels, Zürich, Warsaw, Salamanca, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Girona, Paris and Seoul. Encyclopaedia of Unlived Lives (2010) premiered at Schauspielhaus Graz (Austria) and was presented during the steirischer herbst festival, and La Marea (2005-2011), which premiered at the V Buenos Aires International Festivaland was subsequently invited to the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in 2006and many other theatres around the world. Mariano Pensotti has becomeone of the most noted experimental directors in the world. He has developedtwo different strands in his work, one consisting of stage performanceswhere he writes his own literary texts and the play is strongly basedon his work with actors, and the other in which he produces site-specificperformances where the main intention is to create a particular contrastbetween fiction and reality and be performed in public places.

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