Sunday, October 31, 2010

"The Andersen Project" directed by Robert Lepage at Canadian Stage, Toronto.

Program of "The Andersen Project" at Canadian Stage (Oct 2010), Toronto.

Ticket of  "The Andersen Project" at Canadian Stage (Oct 2010), Toronto.

I've just seen it at Canadian Stage in Toronto, and it has given to me a real perspective of Lepage's work: it didn't show to me a genius, but a very good professional master and an intelligent and sensitive artist. 

Robert Lepage is not scared about freedom on stage but neither about finding limits on it: it is not revolutionary, it is not transgressive, it is not shocking nor dramatic; he constructed an almost spectacular performance of a tale (or tales) about a famous story teller and writer, Hans Christian Andersen, and about Lepage himself with his own obsession, a life as an artist and as a man. He manages atmospheres, space and time in a masterful way; I have never enjoyed so much the image of a simple tree on stage, and a simple story-teller telling a story. 

Technology and theatrical simplicity.

I also enjoyed a lot Yves Jacques' work (and specially those monologues where he exposes each of his characters' past ) but his all realist acting didn't change anything to me, just showed (like the director) a very good master in acting.

A simple text (three stories interconnected), the use of technology, a masterful theatrical direction and a very good actor playing a solo, that's why I liked "The Andersen Project". 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Nuit Blanche 2010. Photographs and Videos of 12 hours of Performance Art and Installations all over Toronto downtown.

Toronto Nuit Blanche 2010

Toronto Nuit Blanche is a Contemporary Art Event but it is also a big party, a popular festival, a crazy night where tax money is spent for the sake of watching, listening to and experiencing live contemporary art, and that is simply amazing. At Nuit Blanche there is no place for art exhibitions in the old sense, no place for theatre stages (even street theatre) or anything "old fashioned," here is the place for Art with new technologies in extreme contact with their spectators.

I have always thought about Nuit Blanche as an enormous one-night-only contemporary art amusement park, and in that sense it works very well: more than one million people come to downtown Toronto and walked for hours experiencing and enjoying all kinds of installations and performing art, all free and only spending their money on food and beverages. This can only happen in a developed country, of course, and it is happening in Canada, not without criticism from its ferocious conservative politicians, of course, but that always happens in the richest families.

My only question is, what about the "concept" of the works presented at Nuit Blanche? Contemporary art and, specially, Installations and Performance Art, are "Conceptual Art", there is no sense if the pieces don't have any concept behind them, and even if the participants were very aware of the conceptual origin of their work, what about the public understanding of them?

Torontonians (and tourists alike) watched more than 100 hundreds pieces in one night, and experienced contemporary art in intimate relation with new technologies. They had lots of fun (never experiencing emotions like fear or even love), but they also took those pieces, precisely, as a source of amusement, missing the possible concept, missing the expected repercussion of most of them. A piece was a thing you can forget and put in the trash bin after use, as a Junk-Art. But what could be worse is that many of those pieces of art were conceived only (from the beginning, by the artists) as a way of interacting between technology and people, giving at the end amusement for amusement itself,  giving the people an aural or visual experience alone as an art experience. 

That experience is so powerful and "cool" (as I listened to many people saying that night) that one big part of the "other" contemporary art (that what wasn't represented here) would be lost in the perspective of this more or less one million spectators.

How far away I am from the 'poor' performances at the Trigger Festival some months ago!

Well, after have seen Nuit Blanche 2010 success, I must say that all big artistic projects have their own risks.

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Soul is Sick (Vaslav Nijinsky)

Yes, I feel sorry for you, dear Nijinsky:

"I want to weep, but I cannot, because I feel so much pain in my soul that I am afraid for myself. I feel pain. My soul is sick. My sickness is of the soul and not of the mind. I know what I need in order to become well again. My sickness is too great for me to be cured of it soon. I am incurable. My soul is sick. I am poor. I am a destitute. I an unhappy. I am horrible. I know that everyone will suffer when they read these lines, because I know that people will feel me."

The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky. On Life. Page  145.

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