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In the title Prefiero que me … (I’d rather Goya robbed me of sleep than any other arsehole) and in the piece itself, writer Rodrigo García and director Emilio García Wehbi refer to the famous black paintings of the Spanish artist Goya. The story deals with a man who collects his savings and takes his two children to Madrid to enjoy art, culture and the good life. But for all his elevated ambitions, it seems impossible to escape from popular culture, which keeps popping up everywhere – while his children keep nagging him to go to Disneyland. All of which prompts the question whether ‘high art’ still has a place in our modern consumer society.
- direction, dramaturgy, performance
- Emilio García Wehbi
- Rodrigo García
- stage design
- Julieta Potenze
- Alejandro Le Roux
- Marcelo Martínez
- Santiago Brunati
- direction assistant, production
- Julieta Potenze
- with support of
- CCEBA (Cultural Center of Spain in Buenos Aires
- INT (National Theatre Institute)
García's relentless philosophical and political view finds an excellent translator in García Wehbi.Clarin (Argentinië)
The experimental Argentinian theatre maker Emilio García Wehbi (1964) has staged a text by his compatriot the radical writer Rodrigo García (1964) as an 'illustrated monologue' about family ties, compulsive consumption and high and low art. This one-man play is staged as part of the Holland Festival at the Theatre Frascati and has been given the intriguing title Prefiero que me quite el sueño Goya a que lo haga cualquier hijo de puta (2012), which, loosely translated, means: “I’d rather Goya robbed me of my sleep than any other arsehole”.
In 1989 García Wehbi formed the experimental theatre group El Periférico de Objetos, travelling the world with his elusive form of theatre. In 2001 El Periférico de Objetos visited the Holland Festival with ZOOedipous, a free-spirited, nightmarish adaptation of the classical Greek tragedy Oedipous Rex combined with texts by Franz Kafka.
The solo performance Prefiero... is a furious attack on consumer society. The play appears to be a chaotic succession of images, but they are held together by the story. In a frenzied monologue full of provocation, exaggeration and sharp language, the main character drags the audience along into his universe. The performance starts with the prologue Principles for a cynical aesthetics while a gorilla hurls books across the stage and delivers a sermon full of fire and brimstone. The surreal stage set – designed by Julieta Potenze – has a life size stuffed deer, a running machine, a small pitch with artificial grass, a desk, a television and an enormous stack of books.
During a sleepless night a middle class family man – played by García Wehbi himself, dressed in the black gorilla costume – has an epiphany. He collects his hard-earned savings, takes the first flight to Madrid with his two children, consumes enormous amounts of beer, liquor, tortillas, Serrano ham and Rioja, hires the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk (to amuse him with his pessimistic view of the world) and breaks into the Museo Nacional del Prado in the middle of the night. There, he wants to admire the black paintings by Francisco Goya (1746-1828); the fourteen macabre works in which Goya expressed both his fear of insanity and his bleak outlook on humanity. All this while his two children keep moaning that they’d rather go to Disneyland.
For his experimental and darkly comic work, the writer Rodrigo García won the 9th edition of the Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities in 2009. In Prefiero… (written in 2004) he fumes against the alienating, violent impact of capitalism and consumerism. It’s a theme that keeps recurring in his acerbic texts, like in Agamenón, Volvi del supermercado y led i una paliza a mi hijo (2012), another theatrical collaboration with García Wehbi. Fragments of writings by the authors Michel Onfray and W.H. Auden also feature in Prefiero..., as well as projections of photographs and paintings by Thomas Hoepker, Richard Drew, Pieter Breughel and Jake & Dinos Chapman.
The aim of the makers is not just to shock or to provide ready-made answers. Provocation is one of the means they use to encourage the audience to contemplate and engage with the performance.
Prefiero que me quite el sueño Goya a que lo haga cualquier hijo de puta premiered in 2012 at the Teatro Timbre 4 in Buenos Aires.
Emilio García Wehbi (1964) is an interdisciplinary artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1989 he formed the experimental theatre group El Periférico de Objetos. He travelled all over the world with his distinctive work as he developed into a prominent director, performer, visual artist and teacher. His theatre performances, operas, installations and interventions in public spaces have featured at many renowned international arts festivals, from South America to Japan. His elusive, wide ranging art doesn’t tick the usual boxes, it goes against the prevailing art classifications and is always focused on engaging the audience to share ideas. Recurring themes in the work of García Wehbi are obscenities, crisis, fate, provocation, instability, antagonism, memory, death and violence. In his artistic vision all these elements are combined. In 2001 he visited the Holland Festival with ZOOedipous, an idiosyncratic adaptation of the classical Greek tragedy Oedipous Rex with mime, puppetry and texts by Franz Kafka. García Wehbi taught theatre studies at the Freie Universität in Berlin, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá and at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.
The writer Rodrigo García (1964) was born in Spain and grew up in the slums of Buenos Aires. He worked as a grocer, butcher, errand-boy and publicist, before fully committing himself to the theatre. In 2009 he won the 9th edition of the Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities. García writes, directs, acts, designs and makes video art. With his theatre company La Carnicería Teatro (The Butcher’s Theatre) he developed a surprising and unique theatre language searching for new rituals in everyday life. The name of his company does not only refer to his father’s old profession, but also symbolises García’s attack on the ‘flesh and bones’ of today’s society. He uses his explosive language for an explicit and frontal attack on modern capitalism with its excessive materialism and alienating consumerism. He draws his inspiration from the radical writings of Samuel Beckett and Louis-Ferdinand Céline, the surrealist films by Luis Buñuel and David Lynch and the black paintings by Francisco Goya. His work has been performed at prestigious theatre festivals in Madrid, Brittany, Avignon, Venice and Paris. But to García, the theatre is all but elitist or specialist. He refuses to adhere to the rules or dogmas of the theatre. García: “I dream of a theatre which opens its doors to everyone”.