It’s wonderful when you see a new performance that is more than the sum of it’s parts. When you watch thinking “Is this Butoh, or Bausch, or Beckett?” Then realise that it is at the same time all of those and none of them. “Papeles” in the Norah Borges at the Centro Cultural Borges (Buenos Aires), directed by Adriana Barenstein and performed by Graciela Martínez and Sergio Pletikosic is a gem of a piece. The studio space is small and a typical “black box” experimental space. The performance has that magic that makes you feel you are in the middle of someone else’s world, somewhere, maybe close, maybe far, but certainly somewhere else where you are a privileged witness and a special guest.
The original music of Juan Pablo Amato amplifies the mood without getting in the way. Martínez and Pletikosic give performances that leave you feeling very lucky to be there.
At 78 years old, Martínez with her long track record as an avantgarde and experimental performer, has a subtlety that is transcendent. Pletikosic accompanies, anticipates, advances and retreats like a magnet.
We are in Buenos Aires, this is not tango, yet you feel you are witnessing a dance that has a detail invisible to the naked eye.
The programme notes offer a line to follow;
“A shattered song, a broken voice, some lost phrase, various things wiped out, the remains of some melody. They may be able to talk, conceal, lie, confess, repent, conspire or whatever they want.... They demonstrate at times and hide at others. How many newspapers are needed to cover up a story and an irreversible life?”
However the magic of this performance is that you have no guide nor need one. You are in the safest of hands to go, as says the old tango of genius Roberto Goyeneche in “Naranjo En Flor” (Orange Tree in Bloom) "without thinking" yet fully feeling how so pertinently papers both reveal and hide the truth;
“Primero hay que saber sufrir
después amar, después partir
y al fin andar si penasmiento...”
First you have to know to suffer,
then to love, then to leave,
and finally to walk without thinking...
“Papeles” is for a limited capacity audience, and only one show every Friday. You will remember that you were there forever.
Today in Argentina it is a national holiday as the country celebrates it's Independence Day.
It seems a good moment to become a little nostalgic and share a gathering of information about an opera performed in 1998 called "El Hecho" (The Fact) that Oscar Edelstein wrote and dedicated to the enigmatic composer Juan Carlos Paz. The opera took a score that Paz mysteriously wrote only months prior to his death. Edelstein created an opera around this enigmatic moment in an attempt to try and explain what could have been the motives of Paz.
The opera was extremely well received and performed in both Spanish and in Portuguese.
It was a poetic look at the both rational and irrational sides of the creative process, and also a warning about what happens when overly academic strands try to overtake the poetic.
Edelstein says “I was interested in the moment when Paz chose, instead of the precise path, the labyrinth. I wanted to create from that act, from that “fact.”
As with much of Edelstein's work, he is fascinated by the lines between the poetic and the academic, between art and technology. This motivation was behind his work El Telescopio: ópera de máquinas furiosas; pasión y verdad (The Telescope: Opera of Furious Machines, Passion and Truth) as early as in 1994, leading to him being the youngest winner of the prestigious Antorchas Prize for outstanding artists; and it continues to inspire his collaborative work with colleagues such as the physicist, Manuel Eguía (Associate Professor at the Universidad Nacional de Quilmes in Buenos Aires and a member of CONICET, National Science Council) whose background is in Complex Systems, Nonlinear Dynamics and Theoretical Neuroscience.
The fascinating work of Edelstein and Eguía on amongst other projects, the research programme "Acoustic Theatre" and in LAPSO (Laboratory of Acoustics and Sound Perception), follows these intriguing intersections between arts and sciences that in poetic form were traced in "El Hecho."