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Tú amarás (You Shall Love) by the young Chilean theatre company Bonobo holds up an intelligent mirror to us. What is an enemy? How do we create one? And how do we connect to others? These are the burning questions that a group of Chilean doctors ask themselves while preparing an international conference on prejudices in medicine. It is a relevant subject that becomes increasingly complex due to the recent arrival of the extra-terrestrial community of the Amenites. This arrival offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on hate, love and the implicit violence against the ‘other’. Relying on humour and irony, the show is full of incisive, uncomfortable dialogues that lift the veil on the absurdity of everyday life. Get ready for an intelligent and amusing life lesson about humankind’s ignorance and xenophobia, set in a Latin American context.
See also: School performance
Direction: Andreina Olivari, Pablo Manzi
Playwright: Pablo Manzi
Cast: Gabriel Cañas, Carlos Donoso, Paulina Giglio, Guilherme Sepúlveda, Franco Toledo
Set, costume and lighting design: Juan Andrés Rivera, Felipe Olivares (Los Contadores Auditores)
Technical director: Raúl Donoso
Original music: Camilo Catepillan
Producer: Horacio Pérez
Surtitling: Marie Trincaretto
Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Théâtre Les Tanneurs
Coproduction: Fundación Teatro a Mil, Espacio Checoeslovaquia
Tú Amarás was partially developed at a residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center (New York)
“We are interested in the way violence emerges in a democratic process”
The company Bonobo presents a new play Tú amarás (You shall love), where the company keeps exploring the notion of otherness and the perception of enemy. Two concepts that dwell their creations and both lead to investigations connected with this implicit violence in democracy and the way in which we connect to it.
After a residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York, we talked with the Directors Pablo Manzi and Andreina Olivari, less than a month before the premiere, on their new work. While sitting in the Parque Bustamante (Bustamante Park), they debated over their points of view and showed a great complicity talking about their work.
Although Manzi is responsible for the drama-turgy and carries out the writing, the director pointed out the fact that this is a rather col-lective process: “the dramaturgy is function within the authorship of the play. All the mem-bers of the company are, in some way, the play. The collective is the author. It is the result of thousands of creations involved. Despite being the one who writes; a large number of the ideas, come from discussions that we have with Andreina or problems that arise, and that has to do with the fact that all disciplines are within a group of dialogue”.
This time, the excuse is a meeting between a group of doctors, who prepare a presentation for a new convention on humanitarian assistance. Issues and tensions arise throughout the play and challenge concepts such as diversity and violence. Although for the author, the play is not intended as a reflexion on medicine, but rather a reflexion on the concept of enemy. “One of the things we do is find excuses to debate. We aren’t trying to imitate some kind of reality. You might think, why are they using doctors then? We wanted to find a place where the relation with otherness was very explicit. Being a doctor is a profession that is always on an opposition between ‘I’m the one who is going to do something good for you and the other is always waiting for something’. It’s only a huge pretext for us, to make them talk about the construction of enemy”, comments Olivari, co-director of the play.
Tú amarás (You shall love) – a co-production between the foundation Teatro a Mil and Espacio Checoeslovaquia – follows the same guideline as Donde viven los barbaros (Where the Barbarians lives). Despite being two very different installations, they follow the same goals through places where prejudices are less obvious. The concepts of “other” and “enemy” newly encounter to give life to this new Bonobo’s installation. “It’s a problem that we haven’t solved, it’s a very complex issue that has no answer concerning the signification of otherness and how we are supposed to live in a democratic process. I think as we will never have a final answer, we will always try to contradict each other and we’ll have to think about it again and again. This is our favorite exercise.” says Olivari.
“One of the question we may ask ourselves, in this installation, is either the idea of ‘someone else’ is synonym with the concept of ‘enemy’”, ads Manzi.
The play continues with its quota of humor and irony, which defines the company, and which shows up randomly. As it is a collective work, the directors comment that texts nourish themselves thanks to this irony that characters seek and directors create.
It is at the same time a tool they use to redefine things and take another look at it. Pablo Manzi has a very clear perspective on those tools in his play: “we always think that humor in theatre, as a tool is made to re-signify things”.
Pablo, how does the text arise? How does it connects with the co-management you realize with Andreina?
P It has a few steps, the text is the last one. There’s a much wider work before of conversation, investigation and Andreina plays a fundamental role in all the theoretical and conceptual part. Afterward, comes another step which is made of improvisation, conver-sation with the group, the designers, the actors, the producers.
A This is the largest step in which we get lost. Might also be the scariest one, because imagine all that is propose and still there’s no text. Then the moment comes when Pablo in one way makes a very tuff work, which is to recollect and generate a text out of it, involving all of us.
P Yes, for that reason I believe that in group work, dramaturgy is a role within authorship. It is the result of thousands of creations involved.
What happened during the creation so that the play changed its name from Huésped (Guest) to Tú amarás (You shall love)?
P They are things that are very bureaucratic. When one starts a project, he has to show a lot of knowledge even though it’s sometimes only a facade. When you seek for concert hall or anything, they start asking you a lot of information about the play which we some-times don’t have. Therefore we get to a certain pre-trial that later is very different from the result. This is why along the way we figured out that the concept of guests wasn’t adequate.
A We chose it because we liked the idea of this double sense it has: on the one hand side it’s “I receive you in my house” and on the other hand side, it means “enemy”, this is why we thought it was a good title. Tú amarás (You shall love) has to do with a more power-ful consideration: the imposition of having to love the other or the imposition of love. Hence comes the title, which is an imposition, and the play has a lot to do with it.
P We are interested in how violence arises in a democratic process. Also, we feel there is a danger in the fact that loving others is seen as a duty. We try to problematize the way we have been educated to see the others, since childhood, as enemies. Therefore, love is seen as a problem more than a knowledge.
What does Tú amarás (You shall love) is looking forward to generating to the spectator?
P In my opinion, the most satisfying sensa-tion is when the audience leaves the hall asking themselves lots of question or feeling the necessity to judge. Therefore, we don’t want a suspension of knowledge, that we believe are immovable, we just want a re-signification. What’s happening here, in this social conflict. Theater becomes the place where you can rethink all those concepts. Leaving it, offers you an opportunity to have another look at experiences or at least to think about them again.
Interview by Fundación Teatro a Mil (2018)Back to top
Bonobo is a theatre company founded in 2012 by Pablo Manzi and Andreina Olivari with the aim of bringing new works to the stage that stimulates critical reflection on the spectator. Through a metodology of collective creation with emphasis on research and improvisation, they have become one of the most renowned young groups of Chilean theatre. To date, they have premiered Amansadura (2012), Donde viven los bárbaros (2015) and Tú amarás (2018) to great success, taking part in festivals in countries like Germany, The Neatherlands, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Peru and Chile.Back to top