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Friday, February 10, 2012

Now Playing at On the Boards: El pasado es un animal grotesco

Posted by on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 10:40 AM

scaled.mariano_0.jpeg
  • Almudena Crespo

It's the experimental theater piece from Argentina that opened last night, runs through Sunday, and sounds amazing.

From the OTB synopsis:

It’s 1999 in Buenos Aires. Mario, Laura, Pablo, and Vicky are in their mid-twenties and ready for careers, love, and adulthood. Over the next decade, Argentina’s economy will collapse and their lives will take a series of unexpected turns. In this fast-paced, multilayered “mega fiction,” director Mariano Pensotti deftly unfolds the lives of these 4 characters....Mariano Pensotti, a young director and writer based in Argentina, has become one of the most noted experimental directors throughout the world. His unique sets and depictions of life are told with a filmic sensibility honed in years studying cinema at the Dramatic Arts Instituto Universitario Nacional de Artes.

From the recent New York Times review:

The Argentine writer and director Mariano Pensotti sets multiple stories in motion in his smart and smartly staged play “El Pasado Es un Animal Grotesco." And they really are in motion: the circular plywood stage, divided into four compartments, revolves constantly (and slowly — you won’t feel seasick), as episodes from the lives of four characters are acted out. Their stories cinematically unspool and overlap as time moves onward and even occasionally backward....“El Pasado Es un Animal Grotesco” considers the way we talk about our lives, the way they become fictions, and then fictions become our pasts — and how alien that can start to feel.

Full info on the On the Boards shows here.

 

Comments (3) RSS

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danewood 1
I saw this play last night and it is an absolute treasure. If you enjoy live performance you have to do yourself a favor and see this production before it leaves town after this weekend. If you believe, like I do, that theater needs to tell the story of the human condition than you will agree that this is the show of our times.
Posted by danewood on February 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
2
Uhm...actually, it's an interesting but not very emotionally engaging piece, sound in its ideas but a bit flat in its execution -- particularly when hampered by having to read gobs and gobs of text on supertitles. (If you are a Spanish-speaker, you will undoubtedly have a richer experience than monolinguists like myself.) It's not bad, but the praise it's getting baffles me.
Posted by bottsford on February 10, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
danewood 3
@2

That's certain your opinion and you're welcome to it (I take issue with your opening of "Uhm... actually" as if to suggest my praise is wrong). I am a monolinguist as well and the subtitles didn't bother me. Just capture the text with your eyes, get the sense of context and focus on the scene. I feel like I spent more time on the main action than on the subtitle screen.

I was also very emotionally engaged with each of the main characters. The style of narrating took a bit to get used to but by 10 minutes in I was totally captured by the story telling. That style may have distanced you, I don't know.

What I do know, though, is that it was a beautiful night of theater I'm likely never to forget. I'm only sorry you couldn't share that same experience.
Posted by danewood on February 10, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this

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