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Descartes

In this performance, the exploration of the dramaturgy of the body-voice produced specific results. We started studying and reflecting on the fourth metaphysical meditation by Descartes called “Concerning the Truth and the False”. Then, together with the writer and director Fernando Bonassi, we produced the adaptation of the original text. This process generated many perceptions and difficulties, mainly due to the exploration as material of a complex philosophical text, which does not convey a story but at the same time is full of images. Similarly to what had occurred in Silence, acting processes functions here as the main axis of the show.

René Descartes was a man who had many facets. Far from being just a rationalist, he investigated different fields of knowledge. In this respect, to know Descartes just through his mathematical formulations as well as through the dualism body-mind can be very deceptive.  In fact, he tried to deal with human contradictions, and developed in this way a provisional moral code, which helped him to survive. More than being just a founder of rationalism, Descartes is perceived in this project as a net of contradictions, uncertainties, tensions, which can deeply resonate in these days of liquid modernity.

The fictional being who acts is this performance tries to materialize his search for transparency already in his costume, made of see-through plastic. Displacing himself on a sort of yellow catwalk full of white eggs and in which lighting is produced by the spectators who manipulate flashlights of different sizes, he acts as a blind man who pretends to see, as a man who seems to know where he is heading for but actuallly walks in circles, as someone who seems to be sure about what he is saying, but then says the opposite in a very assertive way; he acts as someone who does not manage to keep a balanced relationship between his feelings, thoughts, words, and actions. Lighting here obfuscates more than reveals, misleads, deceives. The territory where he acts is a crossroad which connects life, illusions, beliefs, experiences, reflections and death.  Alterity here is not in the Other; it permeates the subject himself, who becomes as a result, slippery, unknown.

Descartes was presented at the Festival Internacional de Teatro São José do Rio Preto, at SESC-SP, Brazil, and at the Studio Theatre in London, England.

Cast: Matteo Bonfitto

Physical Training: Gisela Doria

Lighting: Beth Lopes e Matteo Bonfitto

Scenography: Beth Lopes

Costumes: Beth Lopes

Text: Fernando Bonassi and Matteo Bonfitto, based on Meditation IV by Rene Descartes, “concerning the Truth and the False’.

Directed by Beth Lopes.

Duration: 30 min.

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