International Festival of Buenos Aires
Feb. 24th – Mar. 5th, 2023
Buenos Aires [AR]
In its 2023 edition, the International Festival of Buenos Aires – FIBA presents an overview of the Swiss performing arts scene. This collection of pieces not only aims to illustrate the aesthetic diversity of the country’s contemporary production but also the multiplicity of formats and themes that constitute it.
Titled «Experience/Switzerland», this section gathers five works. Moving through the borders of performance, fiction, and documentary, director Boris Nikitin presents a remake of «Hamlet» and the solo «Attempt on Dying».
Other pieces illustrate different artistic languages and bring together collaborations with artists of different nationalities. The group Klara joins Bolivian performers and revisits a prison-city in Santa Cruz de la Sierra [BO] to discuss questions of law and justice in the site-specific show «Palmasola». Cie L’Alakran [CH] mixes comedy and philosophy in «Makers», performed by two Spanish actors, Juan Loriente and Oscar Gómez Mata. As for «Performance Telling», by Colectivo
Utópico, it is an Argentine-Swiss-Brazilian project, co-produced by the festival, focusing on the diversity of perspectives and the understanding of the world.
Rather than retelling Shakespeare’s play, director Boris Nikitin uses the original material as a mask to reflect on identity, individuality, delusion, and reality. Mixing experimental documentary performance and queer music-theatre, the performer and electro-musician Julian Meding takes on the role of a contemporary Hamlet rebelling against reality. Supported by the Basel string quartet Der Musikalische Garten (The Musical Garden), the performer embarks on a tour de force, in which he reveals himself, his body and his biography to the eyes of the audience. Every now and then, he seizes the microphone and starts to sing raw electropunk, sketchy cover songs, a Hollywood ballad. Like Hamlet against his royal court, he attacks the public, agitates, flirts, mocks, and tries to seduce them. Is it even Meding, or is it Shakespeare’s character? Maybe both at the same time? Is everything just a game, to be or not to be? In the end, it’s all about poetic revolt: coarse-grained, confrontational, anti-social, ravishing.
>> 24.Feb, 7 pm. 25.Feb, 8 pm. Teatro Coliseo
Attempt on Dying
In this raw, intimate solo, Boris Nikitin takes the stage, exploring his vulnerability towards the public and combining two personal stories. One deals with his father’s passing after struggling with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). The disease had been quick: it took less than a year from diagnosis to death. Very early on, the father brought up the idea of considering an assisted suicide – a legal way of dying in Switzerland. It’s a statement that changes everything. In «Attempt on Dying», Nikitin combines the story of this outing with the story of his own coming-out as a gay man 20 years prior, developing both a radical and confidential theatrical piece about what it means to take the step into the public eye, to be exposed. The play thereby reinterprets the concept of vulnerability: instead of something we normally prefer to hide, it becomes an ability, a strength that arises in the act of its unveiling.
>> 26 & 27.Feb, 9 pm. El Cultural San Martín
Boris Nikitin, born in Basel and the son of Ukrainian-Slovakian-French-Jewish immigrants, is a theatre director, author and curator of the biennial festival It’s The Real Thing – Basel Documentary Platform. His productions, texts, and happenings have been dealing with the representation and production of identity and reality. They are border crossings between illusion theatre and performance, between documentary and propaganda. Nikitin’s works are raw, frontal, yet always precisely composed and searching for the boundaries and breaking points of the aesthetic.
In Old English, the word “makers” refers not only to those who make, but also to poets. Based on this double meaning, the performers Juan Loriente and Oscar Gómez Mata (the latter also a director and creator) embody a duo of metaphysical clowns, poets of the scene, who are two, but also the same. Mixing the poetic, the comic and the philosophical, they present a kind of manual for survivors that tries to provide solutions to our transit through reality. Thus, Cie L’Alakran’s show investigates the layers of the real, the discovery of what is hidden beneath first appearance, our truths with a hint of anomaly.
>> 26.Feb, 6 pm. 27.Feb, 8 pm. Portón de Sanchez
Cie L’Akakran was created in 1997 in Geneva by Spanish director and actor Oscar Gómez Mata. The group works with emotions, creating comic, philosophical, and poetic shows. The political context, understood as a critical attitude, is inherent to the artistic project; questioning the relationship between the individual and the community, without seeking to give answers or freeze the word in an ideology.
Palmasola is a prison-city in Santa Cruz de la Sierra [BO], a settlement of huts surrounded by walls that was built in the late 1980s. It is currently home to 6,000 inmates, including convicted criminals, pre-trial detainees, men and women, families and children. There, one can see the extremes of social and economic differences. This population within the walls was virtually left to its own devices, until a raid on 14 March 2018, which turned the prisoners’ daily lives upside down with unprecedented brutality. In this site-specific piece, the group Klara confronts questions of law and justice, the organisation of communities and the perception of the world by children growing up in prison.
>> 3, 4 & 5.Mar, 6:30 pm. Ex Cárcel de Caseros
Klara Theatreproduktionen (Klara Theatre Production) was founded in Basel in 1991 by the directing duo Christoph Frick (its current director) and Jordy Haderek. Inspired by visual art and music, the group explores the possibilities of the medium of theatre from its margins. Klara embarks on a search for contemporary, urban narratives and reflects on itself as theatre – and is constantly thinking about its possibilities. The group conducts play research, allows narratives to collide with abstraction and vice versa.
In this parasitic protocol, the Colectivo
Utópico alongside invited local artists recycle a play from the festival’s official programming and transmit a show to audiences who could not attend or would like to discover alternative versions. Each one shares a free performance in a free format to build by juxtaposition a new language made of their different singularities. The result reveals and recycles an original content while drawing the question of the possibility of a shared language, of being together, and of a common understanding of the world.
>> On «By Heart»: 25.feb, 11 am, & 3.mar, 3:30 pm. Centro Cultural 25 de Mayo
>> On «The Big Mountain»: 28.feb, 4 pm, & 4.mar, 12:00 am. El Galpón de Guevara
Utópico is a micro-community of artists from Argentina, Switzerland, and Brazil whose work questions the way in which our communities are shaped by past and present utopias. Through performative experiences, they experiment with alternative ways of being together. The group is formed by Paula Baró [AR], Marina Quesada [AR], Rita Aquino [BR], Felipe de Assis [BR], Igor Cardellini [CH], Tomas Gonzales [CH], and Rébecca Balestra [CH].