CARMEN // SHAKESPEARE confronts the dramaturgy, argument and the structure of the opera by Bizet with the textual and linguistic subject matter of Shakespeare’s Love Sonnets. Developed in four acts, the global project is an unlikely dialogue between an indomitable muse and a poet.
The CARMEN // SHAKESPEARE project was born in 2012 and continues today. It has taken plural artistic forms such as autonomous choreographic pieces (Los Actos), performative conferences for non-theatrical spaces (Los Entreactos and Los Tablaos), an important series of audio-visual installations, Internet research work and creation laboratories (the LAB_REC).
Olga Mesa and Francisco Ruiz de Infante do not narrate Carmen, nor Shakespeare for that matter, rather, relying on the anachronistic encounter of a myth and an inventor of myths, they propose a reflection on bodies, roles and the game of the sexes in loving relationships. CARMEN // SHAKESPEARE confronts the dramaturgy, argument and the structure of the opera by Bizet with the textual and linguistic subject matter of Shakespeare’s Love Sonnets. Developed in four acts, the global project is an unlikely dialogue between an indomitable muse and a poet.
CARMEN // SHAKESPEARE is the anachronistic encounter between the figure of Carmen and an author who has turned his characters into archetypes. An unlikely dialogue between an indomitable muse and a poet.
CARMEN // SHAKESPEARE is a script that is very much alive, a dramaturgy of the minefield of love. The stage, full of noise and lights, crisscrossed from one end to another by a network of organic cables, is transformed into a metaphor of the disorder of human relations.
On stage, Mesa and Ruiz de Infante are both directors and actors in the show. Entangled in the images that their cameras project (recorded or real-time), they fight over the scenic territory and for control of the technological device that they set up, creating images, complex soundtracks, changes of scale, confusions of space and time. “At every moment and in every movement, performance art is the way in which the body can once again assert its uniqueness and its freedom, and can refuse to be just an object”, they explain.
As in Bizet's opera, the final act of the CARMEN // SHAKESPEARE tetralogy is the one that brings us face to face with death as the dénouement of love. Here, all the dramaturgy will be heir to the feast of death, the bullfight. A series of short performative, choreographic, filmed and sound episodes are going to be inscribed within a protocol of appearances of several guest artists: The Matadors, who have been called on to do what no one wants to do: kill and die. As Carmen said: “I'll be ready when the big day arrives”. Or was it Shakespeare who said that?
“In CARMEN // SHAKESPEARE we show in a kaleidoscopic way how our era is crisscrossed by technologies that control our bodies and our images. Here we also show how those same technologies (trap, opportunity and barrier) authorize new relations of power, seduction, fear, desire, fascination, misunderstanding, complicity, jealousy, passion… love?”, creators Olga Mesa and Francisco Ruiz de Infante say.
HORS CHAMP // FUERA DE CAMPO
Choreographer and visual artist Olga Mesa (Avilés, 1962), based in France for more than a decade, is one of the key figures of contemporary dance in Spain. Her work, experimental in nature, falls within the limits of dance, performance art and visual art. In the 1990s, in her creative work as a choreographer and dancer, she opted for the camera and gave the image a central role in her work. Her work, represented in such important centres as the Théâtre de la Ville (Paris, France), the Théâtre de la Bastille (Paris, France), the Festival La Bâtie (Geneva, Switzerland) or the Festival Culturgest (Lisbon, Portugal), is a sensitive and poetic inquiry into the relationship between the body, the image and space.
In 2005 she set up her residence in Strasbourg where she met the Basque artist Francisco Ruiz de Infante (Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1966) whose disturbing universe, created with fragile constructions, devices, tours of facilities, still images, films, sounds, drawings, texts, performance art pieces or shows, immerses the viewer in an intense physical and mental experience. Ruiz de Infante belongs to a generation of artists who have been influenced by the discovery of audiovisual technologies. His work has been exhibited in such places as the Museum of Modern Art in Paris and the Reina Sofía Museum (Madrid), and the Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao).
Mesa and Ruiz de Infante have been working together and promoting the company Hors Champ // Fuera de Campo since 2011. Through it, they deploy a universe in which their respective languages, concerns and experiences confront each other. They make use of technological audiovisual tools, the interfaces of common images of everyday life and they examine the relationship of humans with technology (akin to a relationship with a giant machine and a “connected” environment).
Together they create choreographic works for the stage, performative works for non-theatrical spaces, exhibitions and research sessions. Their project is fully cross-sectional and more than generating “artistic objects”, designed to be integrated into a cultural scene (often very subjected to regulations), they create unique artistic contexts, for all kinds of audiences, of variable duration, adaptable to any scenario, to expand the artistic practices and to think of them as territories for sharing.
Concept: Olga Mesa and Francisco Ruiz de Infante
On stage: Olga Mesa and Francisco Ruiz de Infante + guest artists: “Matadors” (in person or recorded) Mónica Valenciano, Vidal Bini and Loïc Touzé
Dramaturgy: Roberto Fratini Serafide
Technical and light: Xulia Rey Ramos
Sound: Frédéric Apffel
Production: Hors Champ // Fuera de Campo – Pierre Kiener
Administration: Machette Productions - Mathias Gauthier-Lafaye
Coproduction: CCAM, Scène Nationale de Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy (France), CDCN Pôle Sud (France), CCN Ballet de l’Opéra National du Rhin (France), Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo
Support: Artium Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Centro Párraga de Murcia, Nave de Santiago (Chile), Théâtre de Bouxviller (France)
Collaborators: Ministère de la Culture (DRAC Grand Est – conventionnement), Région Grand Est (support for creation), Ville et Eurométropole de Strasbourg (conventionnement)
Language: Spanish and French, with subtitles in Spanish
Premiered in December 2018 in the Scène Nationale de Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy (France)