PuSh Blog

El pasado es un animal grotesco – Curatorial Statement

January 27, 2012

El pasado es un animal grotesco (The Past is a Grotesque Animal)
by Mariano Pensotti

Curatorial Statement by Sherrie Johnson, Senior Curator, PuSh Festival

Mariano Pensotti is one of the leading playwright and directors to emerge from Argentina’s vibrant theatre scene.

Ten years ago, a shop near Mariano’s home was discarding damaged photographs.  Not knowing why he was collecting the boxes of damaged images, he began to sift through the fragments and materials of unknown lives.   Remembering a Balzac quote that “art was an attempt to photograph the soul of people and their times” he began think about peers from his generation.  As Mariano began developing ideas for the play from his found source material, he was listening to the song “The Past Is a Grotesque Animal” by the band Of Montreal (Click here to hear the song).  The excessive narrative and duration of the song was parallel to what Mariano was developing in his own writing.  He was so inspired by the song he decided to use the title for his new play and include the lyrics in the play when the stories reach their end.

The beauty of the play is the lyrical quality of the text and action.  The set is constructed as a turntable and rotates at varying speeds through the performance.  The constant rotation and movement of the set keeps the action and poetry flowing, like a song.   El pasado es un animal grotesco is set in 1999 in Buenos Aires.  We follow the lives of Mario, Laura, Pablo and Vicky – all “twenty something’s” coming into their careers, love and maturity.  The play follows their lives over the course of a ten-year period.

The impressive narrative is multi-layered, and over the course of one hour and fifty minutes we experience the heartache, collapse, longing, and unexpected turns that life throws at each of them.

The expressive and melodic nature of the story along with the seamless direction blending multiple narratives, voice-over, and short, sharp inter-related scenes, makes this evening play out like a passionate, soulful and nuanced symphony.

El pasado es un animal grotesco is in Spanish with English subtitles.  It’s an epic work that gives us insight into a generation avoiding sentimental stereotypes while delicately balancing the complexities of misfortune, disappointment and adversity.  El pasado es un animal grotesco is a classic work that Vancouver audiences will remember for years to come.

For more information about El pasado es un animal grotesco, and to buy tickets, click here.