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Friday, July 1, 2022

How to Dance on Manuel Puigo’s Novel

it’s saturday the 21st, which is, of course, uNot one of the big titles of the season Of the Theater Complex of Buenos Aires: painted mouthChoreographic recreation of the famous novel by Manuel Puig in a version directed by Oscar Arise and Renata Schusheim.

It is, in fact, a re-run of a work staged from 1997, as it is now, with Contemporary Ballet of San Martin, However it is not quite the same.

The premiere was scheduled for May 2020 and it goes without saying why it couldn’t be done (hey pandemic). Although the montage by Zoom continued -With all the difficulties of the matter- and some of the works of that time were uploaded to the network.

A rehearsal by Zoom of Painted Boquitas, with Oscar Arise.

A rehearsal by Zoom of Painted Boquitas, with Oscar Arise.

Oscar Arise Speaks

-Oscar, what was it like to put a novel so unique in its structure into action on stage? Because more than telling a story, Manuel Puig creates a mosaic composed of different perspectives, registers of speech, and different voices.

– Well because they are voices. They are what they describe: letters, recipes, news, articles; So many grammatically different languages. that I get it, I’m saying not easy but interesting, In any case easier than taking, I do not know, madam bovaryAnd create a choreographic work with him.

"Painted Mouths" rehearsal.  photo credit: Gustavo Gavotti

“Painted Mouths” rehearsal. photo credit: Gustavo Gavotti

-And how was the “translation” process?

-Easy. I took those voices and gave them a body, a body that dances with gestures. The dramatization of the dancer has nothing to do with the actor, Perhaps they go towards the same goal, but they “attack” by their different natures: the actor does his work in a much more analytical way and the dancer, if he is lucky, is an actor by intuition.

I am very interested in that relationship between form and content. I would call it “inside-out” and probably dancers work from the outside in, which doesn’t make them overly superficial. Emotions manifest through form, This happens to me, I don’t know what happens to other choreographers.

What was your first relationship with Puig’s literature?

-I was reading his novels as they were published and Kaur… It hit me more, I felt more mine. I saw the characters, the situations and they were close to me. I guess if you ask a young man today, and maybe not so young, who is Nini Marshall, he might not know. I feel is like a generational and cultural guillotine,

village atmosphere

Oscar Arise and Renata Schussem at a rehearsal for "Painted Mouths".  photo credit: Gustavo Gavotti

Oscar Arise and Renata Schussem at a rehearsal for “Painted Mouths”. photo credit: Gustavo Gavotti

-Have you experienced the small town and suffocating atmosphere that Puig portrays in “Boquitas Pintadas”?

-I grew up in Bahia Blanca and Punta Alta, which are cities. But the intrigue and hypocrisy were the same as in a provincial town.

— At the 1997 premiere, of course, there were also dancers and live actors—I remember Tony Lestingy—and voice actors. in this new version,

-Some of the characters doubled as actors and dancers in the original version. Others were performed only by actors or actresses and others, only by dancers. Then we went to the Alwar Theater and the characters were exclusively dancers, like now, although the initially recorded voices are preserved.

In "boquitas pintadas", the dancers are also in charge of the performance.  photo credit: Gustavo Gavotti

In “boquitas pintadas”, the dancers are also in charge of the performance. photo credit: Gustavo Gavotti

-They have gone through the strange experience of zoom montage in this premiere. How was the process that you restarted live long ago?

– At first I was suspicious; I had no idea the company was up for such theatrical work, to call it something. George Tellerman – Recently the director of CTBA- told us that for this new staging we can call in actors if needed.

But already in the first tests in the rehearsal room we get very powerful dancers interpretively, people who enter status in one click, who tell you everything with their own eyes. It is curious, after that Zoom process, with each and every dancer at home, it seems that they had digested the work alone in these two years of the pandemic.

-Why did you add a projection of a video that didn’t exist before?

-Video works some cinematography which is also novel, And I try to make the audience like the camera.

-The program features Renata Shushem—your lifelong costume designer—and you, sharing the direction. Was it like this from the beginning?

– Yes, because we adapted together for two weeks in a small house in Villa La Angostura, where Valentina Bari was also there. We had a lot of fun reading, crossing, picking, extracting.

You once said that all your tasks are a series of tasks. However, it appears to have been clipped as a separate record.

-Don’t do that; like a scene in a play symphonyWhich I made in 1968 for the San Martin Ballet. The scene was called a “gesture” and was more like a social gathering: people greet each other, eat, drink, seduce each other.

A rehearsal of "Boquitas Pintadas", the work that follows in a dance version in San Martín.  Photo: Courtesy Gustavo Gavotti

A rehearsal of “Boquitas Pintadas”, the work that follows in a dance version in San Martín. Photo: Courtesy Gustavo Gavotti

And from these “normal” gestures, the staging involved asking the dancers Speed ​​up action, freeze it, slow it down, Etcetera. And so the dance appeared. There is one more task in this line scenerySince 1990, has been involved in a melodramatic climate with four characters and in which I have also acted with gestures.


painted mouth Opens: Saturday, May 21 at 8:00 pm, in the Martin Coronado Room of the San Martín Theatre, Corrientes 1530. Performances are Friday through Sunday at 8:00 pm.


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Reference from clarin www.clarin.com

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