Sun. Jan 26th, 2020

The eternal doubt between being and not being

Who is Mr. Schmitt? That is the question. Mr. and Mrs. Carnero dine quietly at home, when suddenly the telephone rings. Nothing weird, except that the Rams don't have a phone. The mysterious interlocutor, after several calls, insists on wanting to talk to a Mr. Schmitt. Everything is strange, but it is even more when they discover that the house in which they are locked does not seem the same, everything has changed, the pictures, the books are not theirs, the clothes in their closets do not belong to them … and even The door key does not work, it is closed. Panic takes over everything. The nightmare has only just begun. Are Mr. and Mrs. Carnero Messrs. Schmitt and do not know? Who is crazy? Who owns the truth? He? She? "The others"? The viewer? «Who is Mr. Schmitt?» Is a proposal by the French Sébastien Thiéry who arrives at the Spanish Theater adapted and directed by Sergio Peris-Mencheta, with Javier Gutiérrez and Cristina Castaño in the main roles, accompanied by Xabier Murúa, Quique Fernández and Armando Buika

A Kafkian mess

"Of the works that I have directed, this is one of the least I can say, even in the handheld program there is little information because it is a continuous surprise," says Peris-Mencheta. And I ask viewers, critics, bloggers and tweeters to see it, who take care not to gut it ». Because the piece is an uncommon type of work. What begins as an amazing comedy suddenly becomes a thriller to end up stroking the drama and finally the tragedy. «Although written in the key of absurd or surreal comedy, it is changing towards the existentialist tragedy, so it is difficult to label or catalog. The genre changes as the function progresses to the point of looking like a Kafkian mess, not in vain Thiéry baby of Ionesco, hence the tribute he makes in the title, ”explains the director. «That existential drama that raises is what attracted me to her. It is not a comedy to use. Sales removed from the theater, ”he says. "Thiéry has the prodigious ability to write a merely existentialist work using the shortcut of absurd, intelligent and fast humor that triggers surprise." Deep down it is about the loss of identity and “there is no greater tragedy than this. If not, nationalisms would not be understood, for example. Or the violence of football “forofismo”. The issue is not so much that we have that need to identify ourselves, as the referents we choose for it. And, if those references touch me, I am capable of everything, ”says Peris-Mencheta.

The play plays with who one really is and what he seeks in life, with the real and the invented. A reflection about the identity that includes three angles of vision of the person, what we think we are, what others think we are and what we really are.

"Three visions that we tend to merge into one and that the theater dissects, what we call reality before entering is something else when leaving," says the director. That is why he speaks of who we are in a society that leads us to give up being ourselves and what they force us to do today in a world full of external influences that tells us what to think, to question whether we are really free or conditioned and mediated by these influences. "Rather" mediotized, "he says," and this has to do with the alienation of the individual who kills his own thoughts by letting go. Our degree of real freedom is directly proportional to the hours we spend reading, going to a museum, cinema or theater and looking inside, ”says Peris-Mencheta. Do we allow ourselves to phagocyte, then, for the opinion groups – networks, social gatherings, etc. – without fighting for personal criteria? «We lack a lot of therapy in general. And an education where humanism prevails that helps develop personal judgment, that does not compare us permanently, that distances us from the flock, that teaches us to live, and not to survive. From that point of view, the piece tries to raise awareness, to give it a touch of attention, "like any play worthwhile, because that is its mission, like art in general, to raise awareness" .

For Javier Gutiérrez, «this is a difficult character to interpret, but it is also a gift, a poisoned candy. It is complicated because it makes you move from the most absurd humor to existentialist tragedy, you leave the scene in an hour and a half going through different moods. It is an antihero, an antisystem that rebels against the established powers that try to manipulate it and that refuses to swell that silent majority, ”he explains. «The show is hilarious, fun, but leaves a bittersweet ground because it challenges us all and opens a reflection about who we really are. What the author does is to take the mask off of these characters who live in a relaxed and accommodating way so that they end up experiencing a nightmare and face the human being or the citizen they really are ». A work that, from the beginning, does not seek to close the story, but is open and it is the public who puts its own end.


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