15 April 2019

La Plaza

For my fourth visit to Hebbel am Ufer, I watched La Plaza by El Conde de Torrefiel, the Barcelona-based project by Tanya Beyeler and Pablo Gisbert. However, I must say that I am not sure I liked this one. I think it was too conceptual, too post-theatre, and too intelligent for its own good. Quite a few people walked out, and if not for the fact that I was seated in the middle of my row, I probably would have done the same.

It was 90 minutes long. The first 40 minutes was just the audience reading text from the screen. The text is a narrative in second person singular. You are sitting in a theatre. You are watching LA PLAZA by El Conde de Torrefiel. That kind of thing. It was rather meta but for some reason I didn't find it working.

And then something happened. Random characters started appearing on stage. Muslim women, partying girls, a guided tour in a museum, a beggar with a robot baby, and a film crew with a cadaver of a woman on a gurney. Bizarrely enough, all the actors were wearing some sort of stocking on their faces, so that there isn't any facial expression discernible. Of course, they were also wearing wigs. It felt like they were moving mannequins. The only person who wasn't wearing that contraption was the naked woman, as the cadaver.

Oh, and there's an abundance of post rock. Loud sounds that permeate the entire piece. I believe the artists just wanted the visual and aural experience, not necessarily the story. In any case, it wasn't what I was expecting, and it was a struggle to keep me interested. In the end, it wrapped up, and for some reason I wasn't inclined to clap. I wonder whether the other people in the audience enjoyed it.

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