Updated: Jul 3, 2019
Robert Wilson, full of Jap-Expressionist Contemporary “bossa”, presents Becket at Athenée Louis-Jouvet, Paris
Krapp's Last Tape 02/12/2011 ROBERT WILSON full of bossa Japanese - Expressionist Contemporary “bossa” presents Beckett in Athenée-Louis Jouvet, Paris
ON THE SCENE, the sketch of an ideogram: MA, definition of pause, of the in-between moment, between the observed object and subject that observes, and vice versa. A show with no breaks, no entre-actes, done and composed by a metaphore of breaks and intervals.
The mise-en-scène is perfect, sober contemporary sort of cage, in black and white. Obsessive symmetry "cage-ing" and inside of it, a man alone, drawn in text by Samuel Beckett, designed on the scene and personified by Bob Wilson. A refined Robert Wilson, a lord of madness, measured gestures and a dash of Shun-Ga pornography (Japanese pornographic and erotic drawings and prints). Gestures "Kabuki-like" to describe current feelings, frozen in fractions of a second, enabling the public eye, to take their time to incorporate the sign, the stroke drawn in the air. Japanese Kabuki theater most intriguing plastic characteristic is exageration. The loneliness that exists in Beckett's text is so radical, that the choice of a certain “japonism" in the interpretation of Bob Wilson is a perfect match to the text. It is remarkable in both author and actor a strong sense of humor, used sparingly, in small doses, very effective. The show offers a journey through time and space, so far, nothing new ... BUT there is something disconcerting, not taken for granted, crucial, spicy, as may have been the moment when Lucio Fontana decided to cut the first canvas, the beautiful and tragic moment when he decides to cut the canvas, changing the history of art because of the cut peace of fabric. In the case of this show, the contrasts are so extreme that could even hurt (cause pain). Within its rigor in black and white, the few concessions of color, stand out markedly, cutting (slicing) the scene like the red lipstick of Bob’s red mouth, open, spreading loose squeals, or the bright red socks as an exotic frame for an outfit, that belongs to a grayish man, to a man like any other man, except for the poignant little exaggerations that allow escaping the cage, freeing birds, rebeling, the utmost chance to breathe when facing social pressure, the same social pressure which puts us all in separate cages. The actor's body is an object in scene, and it is clear that NOTHING is done without being purposeful (including the hysterical little soprano shrieks at a time clue). I am you. Bob Wilson studied to be an architect. I travel through several architectures, like for example the text, where Beckett is intriguing and hyper modern, the architecture Bob Wilson uses to build his character, permeated by the basic architecture needed for a piece of theater sophisticated as this, such as lights, sound and scenery. I must mention the baroque theater, almost a box of jewelry, which was chosen for the staging of this play in Paris, the Louis Jouvet Athenée Theatre. What a huge contrast between eighteenth-century armchairs and the arid landscape that Mr. Wilson creates. He’s dry, owner of a “dryness” and rigor that only a few artists like Hiroshi Sugimoto or Aurelie Nemours can understand, that only the obsession of Yayoi Kusama can endorse. I am you. Bob Wilson and Buster Keaton intertwine, continually it comes to my mind scenes from the silent experimental film from 1965, directed by Alan Schneider, written by Beckett, where Keaton acts splendidly. In both situations, in the play and in the movie, the scenes of a single man, alone, that carries only trivial memories from society. A man alone with his memories, that despite being silly or not, belong only to him, they are not to share with others. The only OTHER who can observe the solitary obsession of both characters is the audience. Another contrast? Buster Keaton, Bob Wilson and the owner of the chessboard is Samuel Beckett. Parenthetically, my father always said that to interpret a song, it’s not good to fill up the song with emphasis through the entire length of the song, because one wouldn’t achieve any effect, no emphasis anywhere. Bob Wilson is the chiaro / scuro king, the fortissimo / pianissimo king and is also the king of the time and space that he governs with care, dedication and attention. Extremely musical, he swings amongst the time’s elasticity, using light and sound in an obsessed pulsation from nothing to nothing and at the end of the show, a game is like an eternal yoyo, opening and closing a cycle that the audience is induced to believe that will last forever. The loner, feeling his solitude, is distressed to percieve his cyclical loneliness, but fails to get out of it, is swallowed by it till he disappears into the cluster of many men alone, who stand individually in their corners, believing themselves to be unique. Intentional pauses, frozen scenes and gestures, the only object in scene, the MAN, bathed by the light-shade environment, so perfect that it hurts. Rain, storm, lightning. A man is sitting still at his desk. The whole scenario is scribbled by risks of light on the black & white scenario, as brushstrokes of light in the great shadow that falls over this man. A summer rain, Samidare (in Japanese), widely used in the prints of Hiroshige (Ukiyo-e). A rectangular room with ash colour side tables and 3 warehouse lamps on top of each shelf, illuminating the piles of papers and ordered boxes. A rear panel suggests a bookshelf that reminds me the houses of Dog Ville (Lars von Triers), drawn on the floor, perfect traces of white light drawn on the black panel. At least 10 minutes without any action, unless the light and the sound of a huge and timeless storm. No action unless a piece of eye, the corner of his mouth, hands, almost accidental, pervaded by the light rays from the storm. When the light goes on, or rather, when the shadow comes off the MAN, we see a tape recorder Revox, and across a stack of paper and a book. The man is afraid of his past. It takes courage to look back. He rises, goes slowly, dragging his feet on the ground, to the drawer of his desk a number of times. Knowing that the title of the piece is " Krapp’s last tape," one’s inclined to think about the tapes in the recorder but Puff! The audience feels baffled with surprise to see that instead of the tape that he handles with dread, the MAN grabs a banana, goes away from the drawers, and represents, really, totally, a scene of absurd pleasure of slutty, Kabuki theater mixed with cabaret transvestite. He peels the banana with grace, throws away the peel-turned-into-flower, a sign of transgression, shoves a banana in his mouth and a phallic gesture, very effective in scenic terms, he leave