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.