An Archeology of Paradise
Hommage à Fernando Arrabal
23 September 2016
10 Februray 2017
Mestno gledališče Ptuj
Utopia, An Archeology of Paradise is a poem to the nonexistent. It is a surreal theatre journey with an impossible goal: to revive the lifeless. It is a celebration of imagination, dreams, and faith ̶ i.e. those irrationalities that form the core of human condition. Nowadays, the term »utopian« has negative connotations which are almost taken for granted; as if a celebration of Beauty, i.e. of something that is non-existent, simply meant living in denial of the brutality of our time. But it is utopia itself ̶ a place that does not exist ̶ that exposes objectively accepted reality. One can defy one’s time and its constraints only by refusing to comply with them. A gesture of defiance to the existing, to the contemporary, means to withstand violence. It is in the realm of the impossible that humankind begins. The same goes for theatre. Theatre is a site of extreme utopia: theater as an endless beginning of the world, a beginning of history ̶ which re-establishes the world anew. Theater is a separation from the world, not its mirror – and this is its historical privilege.
The reality is invaded by something alien: a story emerges from the blood of an animal that was sacrificed at a borderline between life and death. We follow two worlds that are in constant search of a pre-violent world: a world prior to expulsion and sacrifice. In the alchemical circus of dreams, stories are intertwined. Fando and Lis, two lost and wounded clowns, the archetypal representatives of the dual, are in search of a lost mythical city of Tar. In their mind’s eye, paradise is a site from the past that existed before the war, and beyond them. Abraham, the archetype of a father on a mountain, enters his own dreams and a story, according to which he must sacrifice his son. His search of a son is characterized by violence, which has not been committed. It opens a relationship landscape spanning two generations. His is the story of succession, understanding of the past, forgiveness and growing up. Abraham has killed an animal instead of his son. Will the animal come to life again? Is it possible to re-enact a paradise destroyed? What level of intensity can utopia, reinstated as reality, lead to? Once you experience a paradise ̶ can you go back unmarked? Modern humankind is deprived of its biography. Is there any place for humans in some extreme future? Is it humankind that we are genuinely in search of? Has it ever been, dispersed in the whiteness of the absent?
The production is also a homage and a salute to Fernando Arrabal, a Spanish-born playwright and a co-founder (with Alejandro Jodorowsky and Roland Topor) of the Panic Movement, a kind of late surrealism; a homage and a salute to the exposure of the world through dysfunction, strangeness, difference.