‘The politically incorrect show of the year’
- La Tercera, Chili

La imaginación del futuro

Marco Layera, La Re-sentida

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On 11 September 1973, the Chilean army led by Augusto Pinochet stages a coup, during which the incumbent socialist president Salvador Allende dies. Pinochet establishes a right-wing military dictatorship, installing a regime of brutal repression which rules the country for 17 years, perpetrating mass violations of human rights. A quarter of a century later, the young punks of La Re-sentida go back in time, turning themselves into spin doctors to help Allende and rewrite history. A few years ago, this young theatre company was one of the big surprises at the Holland Festival. Now they use their humour and boundless energy to explore what would have happened if Allende had played the political game differently. Would democracy have been saved? Would Allende’s coalition have been able to foster prosperity and growth? Without any reservations, the myth of Allende is deconstructed, and a new future is drawn.

programme

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Directed by Marco Layera Navarro, the Chilean theatre company La Re-sentida casts new light on the dicatorial history of Chile, examining the possibility of an alternative scenario, in La imaginación del futuro.

On 11 September 1973, Chile's socialist president Salvador Allende gave his last public speech. A few minutes later, he committed suicide to prevent himself from being killed by Augusto Pinochet's soldiers, who were about to storm the presidential palace. His coup a success, Pinochet ruled the country as dictator with an iron fist for the following seventeen years, violating each and every human right possible.

Those are the historical facts, but in their audacious performance La imaginación del futuro, theatre company La Re-sentida go in search of an alternative history. They send a group of contemporary ministers of state back into the past to radically change the course of history. What if Allende had been advised by a team of modern communication experts? Would his decisions have been different? If the Chilean Popular Front (the Unidad Popular, who put Allende forward as their presidential candidate in 1970) were to rise again tomorrow, would it operate differently?

By outlining the various paths history did not take, director Marco Layera Navarro and his team – all of them born after 1975 – are trying to develop a new way of looking at Allende. For once putting aside the idealised image of Allende as a peace-loving revolutionary and their great appreciation for him, they weigh up the decisions of the Unidad Popular against the terrible years that followed the coup.

In order to devise a system that would work best today – according to them, these days the communist dream from the 1970's does not qualify by a long stretch – La Re-sentida uses their dark humour to offer us new perspectives on the best and the worst years in Chile's history.

Just like La Re-sentida's previous plays, La imaginación del futuro is another plea for the importance of art in Chile's modern, ideology-free era. The members of this contemporary theatre company developed their theatre as a social instrument to reflect on their cultural identity and their country's painful dictatorial past. Their view is that theatre makers should have the courage to break taboos, slaughter sacred cows and to bring about reflection through provocation – and they're not afraid to ridicule themselves in the process.

Two years ago La Re-sentida featured at the Holland Festival with their piece Tratando de hacer una obra que cambie el mundo ('An attempt to stage a play that will change the world'), a comical, energetic satire on utopia, revolution, politics and art. In this piece too, the company rewrote the true course of history by supplanting it with a fictional alternative. In the play, a group of politically engaged stage actors go underground to write the ultimate play to change the world, but after four years in isolation, they discover that a new government has succeeded in banning all poverty and injustice. Can theatre contribute anything to change the world? Or is this only wishful thinking? These are the questions which seem to inform all of La Re-sentida's work – while the answers are not necessarily to their own advantage.

La Imaginacion del Futuro 2 breed

BIOGRAPHIES

Whilst studying law, philosophy, and criminology at the University of Chile, Marco Layera also studied acting at the drama school La Matriz in Valparaiso and at the school Imagen. In 2007, he teamed up with a group of friends to found their theatre company La Re-sentida, A year later, he made his directorial debut with Simulacro (The Simulacrum), followed by Tratando de hacer una obra que cambie el mundo … .. el delirio final de los últimos románticos (An attempt to stage a play that will change the world … the ultimate delirium of the last romantics), the latter of which played at the Holland Festival in 2013. That same year, La imaginación del futuro premiered, which will be staged at this year's Holland Festival. Layera has also worked in film (Elencos ciudadanos and Laboratorios de montaje), as well as writing articles and teaching.

In a relatively short time La Re-sentida developed into one of the most interesting theatre companies in South-America. For his work, Layera Navarro received the Eugenio Guzman Award from the University of Chile and he was nominated for the Chilean art prize the Premio Altazor a Las Artes Nacionales. For Tratando … he was awarded best direction at the Festival de Teatro Joven. In 2012, Layera directed a new version of Tratando de hacer una obra… at the Midwinter Night’s Dream Festival in Estonia, with a completely Estonian cast. His latest play La imaginación del futuro, premiered in May 2013.

La Re-sentida ('resentment') was founded in 2008 and is composed of young artists from the Chilean national theatrical scene who share an aim to pursue the consolidation of a poetic able to embody the pulses, visions and ideas of their generation. It's the company's view that theatre needs to have the courage to break taboos, slaughter sacred cows and provoke in order to lead people to reflect. La Re-sentida employs a subversive approach to theatre, understanding it as an instrument of critique and reflection. Assuming their political responsibility, the group question ideologies in the light of the current state of (Chilean) society in crisis. 

Every performance is preceded by extensive theoretical research, which is carried out collectively in pursuit of a poetic which embodies what's important to their generation. Their first production Simulacro (2008), which was created on the occasion of the bicentenary of Chile's independence, was an ironic, brutal and darkly comic reflection on living in a land with a dictatorial history. In 2011, the company created Tratando de hacer una obra que cambie el mundo... el delirio final de los últimos románticos ('An attempt to stage a play that will change the world ….. the ultimate delirium of the last romantics'), featuring a group of actors who locked themselves up in a bunker for a few years in order to write the ultimate play, which would radically change the world forever – however, when they pop their heads out of the bunker after four years of isolation, it turns out that a new government has actually tackled all problems in the meantime. Marking their international break-through, the piece toured many international festivals, including the Holland Festival in 2013, and led to invitations for the company to play in Brazil, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Italy and Estonia. Their latest play La imaginación del futuro, premiered in May 2013

La Imaginacion del Futuro 6Marco Layera half breed La Imaginacion del Futuro 6 half breed

Credits

director
Marco Layera
text
La Re-sentida
scenography
Pablo de la Fuente
video
Karl-Heinz Satler
music
Marcello Martínez
light
Cristian Reyes
sound
Alonso Orrego
voice coach
Ema Pinto
physical coach
Paula Sacur, Felipe Vera
assistant director
Nicolás Herrera
with
Diego Acuña, Minister of Culture
Benjamín Cortés, Minister of Economy
Carolina de la Maza, Minister of Health
Pedro Muñoz, Minister of Public Works
Carolina Palacios, Minister of Finance
Rodolfo Pulgar, President of the Republic
Sebastián quella, Cirilo
Benjamín Westfall, Minister of the Interior
stagehand
Valeria Aguilar
sound assistant
Matías Ulibarry
coproduction
Teatro La Resentida, Terni Festival (Italië), Fundación Teatro a Mil