Argentine author and theater director, Mariano Pensotti, is best known for creating theatre that explores the tension between fiction and reality. The director is heralded as one of the most important experimental directors and writers in Argentina, who creates theatre written for the stage as well as site-specific performances for public places.
He now brings cinematic experimentation to his repertoire with his Chicago debut, Cineastas, the darkly humorous new play which revolves around the stories of four eccentric filmmakers in Buenos Aires. Spoken in Spanish with English subtitles, the play’s elaborate storytelling and direction – using movie-like techniques like the split screen motif, flashback, montage, cross-cuts, and voiceovers – provide an intense cinematic experience entirely upon stage. The piece therefore considers what of the world movies can reflect, and whether our world is now a distorted projection of the movies.
The split screen of the play is literal: a colour-saturated two-level stage meaning that the audience simultaneously watch two scenarios. On the lower stage, a director and film crew meet, argue, and shoot four films, while personal stories unfold on the second level. All of the roles are split between a cast of just five actors who switch positions, and take the place of narrator to provide a running commentary.
Cineastas was created through a series of interviews with a number of filmmakers working in the director’s hometown of Buenos Aires: in drawing upon his experiences in the film industry and his curiosity about the city’s booming film economy, Pensotti became intrigued by the connections between the filmmakers’ personal lives and their public films.
Mariano Pensotti: Cineastas (Filmmakers), 26 February – 1 March, MCA Chicago, 220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, United States. For more information visit www2.mcachicago.org
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1. Mariano Pensotti, Cineastas. Photo: Carlos Furman