NEO, Barcelona’s alternative theatre festival
The New Open Scenes Festival celebrated contemporary performing arts created in Catalonia. Over five days, NEO opened up new artistic experiences at different theatres in the Catalan capital and presented 15 different theatrical proposals of emergent artists established in Barcelona.
Barcelona (ACN).- Defined by its artistic director, Jordi Fondevila as a \u201Cpersonalised scenic creation\u201D festival, NEO presented last week, over four days, singular plays created from a very particular point of view. \u201CThe artists start creating their works from scratch and build them directly in the scene, that\u2019s why the proposals have a lot to do with their particular way of feeling,\u201D comments Fondevila.
Common arts, such as acting, dance, acrobatics or body language, are complemented with alternative techniques: video, plastic arts or robotics are a normal resource in NEO\u2019s plays. \u201CEl Circo de las Penas\u201D (The Circus of Sorrows), for instance, is a mechanically narrated drama that shows the soul expressed through machines built out of objects with memories of other worlds. To tell the public this story, the company Antigua i Barbuda invented the sole inhabitant of this world: a gadget maker who misses the innocent charm of creating objects and now seeks magic in his creations. \u201CThe play explains a story through machines which express sensations and emotions,\u201D says Jordà Ferrer, builder of stage machinery and founder the company. He considers that this innovative project \u201Cfits the festival\u2019s way of understanding performing arts very well\u201D.
Apart from multimedia and new technologies, the alternative essence of NEO is also presented through a social and political approach. In \u201CPendent de votació\u201D (Pending vote), the theatre becomes a parliament where, armed with a remote control for voting, each spectator governs the theatre in a hemicycle where the political colours are yet to be defined. \u201CThe play is an analysis of today\u2019s politics: it begins as an assembly which becomes a representative democracy and ends up being an authoritarian regime\u201D, explains director Roger Bernat. Roberto Fratini, the playwright, describes this corruption of modern-day politics presented in the play: \u201Cthe purpose of words is not to convince anyone while things constantly change, driven by unstated powers that won\u2019t even engage in dialogue\u201D.
A great success
According to the Festival\u2019s artistic director, the turnout of the festival has been really positive and tickets for most of the plays were sold out. \u201CWe have managed to show this kind of theatre to the general public and now the city\u2019s commercial circuit of private theatres and international programmers will be interested in it,\u201D celebrates Fondevila, who thanked the total support of Barcelona\u2019s institutions. NEO Festival was organised by four public theatres (Teatre Lliure, Mercat de les Flors, Institut del Teatre and La Seca-Espai Brossa), and all performances have been held at these four venues.