El Conde de Torrefiel: LA PLAZA. 22.02.2019. HAU 2, Berlin.
The scene is set: we are in the future, sitting in an empty, darkened black box theatre, one amongst a total 365 who are participating in a project running 365 days – people have been entering all year, often just to sit quietly, but today, as the experiment runs to its close, the theatre is packed. Cool and drippy.
As the audience slinks into the sunlight our eyes feel the glare, for the lights above our heads are staggering after sitting in real darkness: a masterly physical calculation conflating realities.
What we see on the streets (like the past-present-future tends to be, I suppose) is both foreign and familiar, and here the artist duo behind El Conde de Torrefiel chooses not to explore some science-fiction, but to bring us back, like a meteor hitting the earth, directly to our very present occupations with the sights and scenes, and the real and imaginary problems they entail, of our public sphere.
We long watch a group of „Muslims“, mums, tourists, and a food delivery guy, we overhear petty, flattering intellectuals flatter and be petty with one other, we glimpse confusion, vulnerability, and despicability in sexual violation—the clash of the music, text, and faceless figures (still so distinct in their performative attire it lends a new understanding about our ability to stereotype) offers many avenues for interpretation, but, purposefully, manipulated by the sweet sounds of pop—indeed, the characters themselves reflect on the power of music to switch one’s perspective entirely—and cliché text—there’s a bit of a touch of Waking Life to the whole thing—it is the concept that remains the strongest element.