This weekend the El pasado es un animal grotesco, the epic megafiction of Mariano Pensotti, is opening up in Seattle. Here are a few things to note about Mariano before heading to the theater:
Mariano Pensotti is based in Buenos Aires, a cultural hub of the world right now that has been fostering some incredible talents and art. One of his peers in the dance world is fellow OtB alum Diana Szeinblum. Compare their works side by side by also watching Alaska this weekend.
Literary arts play an important role in the creation of Mariano’s works. For El pasado, Mariano references the writing style of 19th century writers such as Balzac.
The impact of visual arts is apparent in El pasado, but was even more obvious in his first work to come to North America. La Marea staged individual scenes in the streets of Vancouver BC, each one unfolding through subtitles projected near the set. See images and read about the individual scenes of La Marea.
Pensotti is also equally influenced by film. He studied at Dramatic Arts Instituto Universitario Nacional de Artes and has honed a style of playwrighting and direction that reflects that. Filmmakers like Fassbinder, Resnais, Godard and Herzog are amongst the ones that Pensotti claims have had an impact on him. Although you won’t be able to see it, the entire backstage looks more like a film set complete with a storyboard for each scene (all 72 of them!).
The music of Of Montreal also played a role in the creation of El pasado, even lending a song title to the name of the show. Pensotti told the New York Times about this:
"I really love their records and especially this song; it was so related to my intentions with this play. The image of the past as some grotesque animal that changes shape every time you think about it is so close to what happens with the past and the lived experiences when you try to remember them or retell them in the present. The past is always changing."