THE PLAY

Duration : 60 min

“Domini Públic is (like) a life-size board game in which the spectator is more than just a pawn. Theatre-maker Roger Bernat assembles a group of people – the audience – on a square. Who are they, where do they come from and what is their relationship to each other? They walk across the square while listening to a series of questions and instructions on their headphones. Some are more innocent than others. The same can’t be said for the result; through the participants’ simple movements, small groups start to form in the audience. These micro communities expose underlying social patterns and tell a tale that Bernat carefully orchestrates. While Domini Públic starts off looking like a 3D poll brought to life, the project ends up transforming into a bizarre fiction.” Kunstenfestivaldesarts’09

SPACE

The main part of the show takes place in the public space. The final scene, consisting of a projection and a scale model, is located to an indoor space. The public space is not intended to be “privatized”. The audience, with “rented” headphones, can be mixed with passersby without affecting the legibility of the play. 

ADAPTATION

The play is adapted to local context and languages. So far it has been done in Spanish, Catalan, English, French, Japanese and many more.

SET-UP

Once the technical equipment of the festival has been assembled, the Company needs 120 min before beginning the play. The disassembling takes 60 min.

BEAR IN MIND

Minimum age: 14 years old. Minimum spectators: 30 persons.

PRESS REVIEW

Roger Bernat s’ha ficat en una imparable carrera cap a la dissolució de la frontera entre ficció i realitat. La matemàtica moderna aplicada a la dramatúrgia contemporània. Juan Carlos Olivares, Avui (Catalunya), 18.04.2008

Le metteur en scène Roger Bernat trace ainsi les lignes éphémères d’une sociologie mystérieuse, celle de son public. Carole Rap, Libération (France), 01.04.2010

Le moins que l’on puisse dire, c’est que Roger Bernat aime redéfinir les limites du théâtre. (…) Éminemment ludique, oscillant entre gravité et légèreté, l’expérience s’avère également déstabilisante et provoque des réactions diverses allant du rire aux larmes, littéralement. Aurélie Olivier, Voir (Canadá) 20.05.2010

Pour le participant, l’expérience a d’abord quelque chose de purement ludique. Mais elle se transforme vite en une forme d’exploration active de la cohésion sociale. (…) pour le «spectacteur», le jeu prend également des allures d’examen de conscience. Il force les tiroirs de notre mémoire. Il interroge non seulement le regard qu’on pose sur les autres, mais aussi sur soi-même et sur l’image qu’on veut donner de soi en société. (…) Dans ses moments les plus dramatiques (car courbe dramatique il y a), le jeu questionne même assez brusquement la dynamique des groupes (notre relation à l’autorité, nos réactions aux actes de violence) et parvient même à composer des tableaux touchants. (…) Domaine public est plus qu’un amusant petit jeu, c’est l’une de ces rares expérience qui ont le potentiel de transformer ses participants. Alexandre Vigneault, La Presse (Canadá), 04.07.2010

Domini Public preyed upon the psychology of human behaviour, our willingness to follow orders, to create hierarchies, to group others by appearance or social type, and our enjoyment of games. Domini Public allowed for the tension and drama of a life-size board game in which we were involved in faking a fate which was not our own and yet was still innately our own, i.e. as a pawn or character. (…) This performance was fascinating, thought-provoking, enjoyable and sure to re-surface in your mind in the days to come. Katherine Kirwin, thepublicreviews.com (England), 18.07.2010

Originale e spiritoso, con questo spettacolo ancora una volta (R. Bernat) ha dato una dimostrazione concreta di quanto il teatro possa essere una esperienza inedita e coinvolgente. Margherita Timeus, Il Gazzettino (Italia), 11.04.2011

É uma provocante experiência de construção de identidades individuais e coletivas o trabalho. (…) Distendendo as bordas do que se reconhece, tradicionalmente, como teatro, o jogo proposto por Bernat não deixa de assumir os contornos de uma encenação da vida em sociedade. Ele mimetiza, de maneira pretensamente inocente, os conflitos e as máscaras desse teatro do cotidiano. Destaca o caráter de construto social do “eu” e exibe a grande “farsa” que é a experiência comunitária, bem como suas tensões. obriga, assim, os especatores a se observarem como fantoches do ambiente social, a perceberem a dimensão performativa de suas identidades. (…) Domínio Público reelabora com grande competência esse lugar do teatro, não como mercadoria ou entretenimento, mas como espaço de discussão da vida comunal, como local em que se projetam identidades e alteridades, como ágora em que o social é dramatizado. Rodrigo Dourado, Continente (Brasil) 15.10.2011

Domínio Público provoca o público a refletir sobre deveres sociais e escolhas individuais (….) …houve quem voltou para casa pensando em como chegou até ali, como se tornou opressor ou oprimido, como chegou a ser quem é em su própria vida e como isso afeta as pessoas à sua volta. E isso é bastante coisa em que pensar. Pedro Fernandes, Bahia a Tarde (Brasil), 25.10.2011

Roger Bernat prône un théâtre déséquilibrant, ou les spectateurs et le théâtre lui-même sont extirpés de leur zone de confort, question d’être amené à sans cesse interroger le monde. (…) Domaine Public nous convie au coeur des paradoxes de notre société. Pascale Gauthier, 24heures (Montreal) 4.06.2010

L’expérience est paradoxale: l’individu est isolé dans son univers sonore, le casque sur les oreilles, et pourtant, il fait toujours partie d’un groupe, d’une assemblée de gens qui répondent la même chose que lui. Il y a autant d’introspection qu’un certain voyeurisme candide. L’intime devient public. Et le tricheur se fait prendre au piège. (…) Par Domaine public, Roger Bernat met en scène un théâtre participatif ludique, original, saugrenu. (…) Nous interprétons l’action, et nous l’observons tout à la fois. Captivant. David Lefebvre, www.montheatre.qc, 03.06.2010

Au final, l’on se sent, au cœur de Domini public, à la fois unique et pluriel, un dans le grand tout, et l’on s’éloigne de la cour en se demandant jusqu’à quel point nous sommes acteurs, dans la course du monde ? Juliette Soulatsle bien public (Dijon), 06.07.2011

…a show that is thought provoking and very entertaining. Dave Cunningham,  whatsonstage.com (London), 19.07.2010

 …un inedito gioco sulla vita, (…) una bizzarra fiction su temi che sempre di più ci riguardano e di cui siamo protagonisti senza costrizioni e ruoli prefissati. www.connessomagazine.it (Udine), 9.04.2011

 

ONE MIGHT THINK (Roberto Fratini on Domini Públic):

One might think that the events experienced by audience members in real life faithfully reproduce events on-stage; that, as in a performance, life flows in a straight line from start to finish, fixed by decree and convention, and that life follows a written geometry of catastrophes and revelations — in short, one might think that for the audience, the theatre of life is an exact copy of the drama seen on stage. However, the spectators’ existential experience neither evolves, nor is it in any way resolved: it’s more of a descent, a downward spiral that leaves us increasingly alone and bereft of meaning. This spiral form twists round like a question mark, and the giant spiral on the set of Domini Públic (a square in Barcelona for which a spiral had once been designed) seems to mock all the symmetries set up by the play at the expense of an audience (or for its benefit), an audience that is literally complicit, compelled to play an active role in the development of the play.

The spiral is the figure of every descent and recurrence, the figure of the womb, the question that hoards all the answers. Sent spinning by impersonal questions and personalised answers off into a Cartesian adventure (made up of rights and lefts, friends and enemies, distances and proximities), in a differential theatre of re-action, the Catalan audience forgot that it had gradually been divided up above the undivided and non-differential chasm of an enormous spiral — a vague hint at the negation of every start and finish.

The spiral lies at the heart of games and toys, from The Game of the Goose (the prototype for many European racing board games) to the spinning top. And Domini Públic is also structured as a game, at heart. Not only in its deconstructivist urge to replace traditional performances by the postmodern practice of an open system, but also because games give every child their first taste of the deeply ambivalent concept of “fate”. The interaction between rules, reactions, responses and chance in every game makes up a player’s fate. The player isn’t given up to chaos as in a rudderless biography, but exists in the uncertain stringing together of this story within an assigned, implacable context: we don’t know how it will end, but we know for certain that it will end. The unique feeling of suspense in a game is no different than the sense of anticipation in a detective film as we morbidly await the murder and the subsequent unmasking of the murderer, or the certainty that in our story there will be countless victims and several victimisers, though which side we’ll be on remains an open question. A game is therefore a true distillation of being since we all fake a fate that, although not someone else’s, is still wonderfully not our own (avatar, character, pawn, puppet). We are victims of a self-imposed or self-accepted rule whose only purpose is to drag us away from the comfort of questions we know how to answer to questions we’d rather not answer, and finally to abandon us to the confusion of questions that neither permit nor expect any answer at all.

If in the mind of the viewer every action of the drama becomes a question, the audience in Domini Públic is constantly experiencing the answer and listening to the question: in a sense, it is experiencing a fundamental delay in the images’ impact on the imagination, the same delay that exists between life and fate. It seems as though an initiation process is hidden in this ambiguous situation. It’s no coincidence that throughout the parabola of the performance the music that accompanies the audience comes from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, the most deceptively playful and surreptitious tale in history, and at the same time the chronicle of a downfall.

Without a doubt, the Stanford prison experiment (during which a mock prison environment turned a score of university students into fearsome guards or willing victims) is one of the poetical sources the project draws from. However, Public Domain is not about the power of identification, our ability to interiorise the pantomime of the victim and the tyrant. It is about our no less existentially important ability to perform the pantomime. Even though it might seem ridiculous, we see it through thanks to the willing suspension of disbelief proper to a game (and the theatre). Because the secret of the story lies not in truth, but in the ability of performance itself – pure, unthinking action – to create false beliefs and wrong answers that nevertheless seem right. If read ethically, the same game we all eagerly join in on can be seen to produce a single winner and a silent majority of losers, antiheroes condemned to ask themselves where they went wrong. The theatre audience is in many ways the metaphorical experience of this defeat, this open question. The performance is testimony, on the one hand, to how a simulation manages to grant real life the somewhat bitter privilege of the winner, and, on the other, to how the fundamental defeat implies the obligation to take up where the play ends. After the performance, one has to keep living, with vaguer rules, ambiguous questions, silent catastrophes, uncertain answers and a dark (yet also cheerful) awareness that this game started long before we did and won’t end with us.

Roberto Fratini Professor of Dance Theory (University of Pisa and Institut del Teatre in Barcelona) and Critical Methodology (University of L’Aquila).

TEAM

By Roger Bernat Collaborating students: Adriana Bertran, Aleix Fauró, Anna Roca, Sònia Espinosa, Tonina Ferrer and María Salguero Translation: (…) Voiceover: (…) Music: W.A.Mozart, A.P.Borodin, G.Mahler, A.Dvorak, B.Smetana, J.Sibelius, J.Williams, E.Grieg and Lole y Manuel Musical selection, versions and audio edition: Juan Cristóbal Saavedra Vial Costumes: Bàrbara Glaenzel and Dominique Bernat Photos and technical direction: Txalo Toloza Digital Technician: Aleksei Hescht Graphics: Marie-Klara González Thanks to: Víctor Molina and Mia Esteve

Photos: Blenda, Brasilia, 2013.

A cooproduction by La Mekànica / APAP, Teatre Lliure, Centro Párraga and Elèctrica Produccions. With the support of the Generalitat de Catalunya / Entitat Autònoma de Difusió Cultural – Departament de Cultura i Mitjans de Comunicació, United Europe Comunity – General Direction of Education and Culture / Cultural Program 2007-2013 and INAEM-Ministerio de Cultura de España.

ON TOUR: Barcelona> Murcia> Madrid> Huesca> Olot> Zagreb> Bruselas> Lleida> Monterrey> Pachuca> México DF> León> Ponferrada> Terni> Gijón> Córdoba> Meylan> Parma> Toulouse> Mons> Montpellier> Seoul> Annecy> Montréal> Lisboa> Santarcangelo> Newcastle> Salford> Milton Keynes> London> Helsinki> Isle d’Edon> Aspet> Cambrils> Limoges> Marseille> Tokyo> Udine> Paris> Las Palmas de Gran Canaria> Villeneuve sur Lot> Terschelling> Alès> Dijon> Rennes> Kortrijk> Metz> Vordingborg> Genève> Salvador de Bahia> Poitiers> Rouen> Braunschweig> Belo Horizonte> Tarragona> Chalon en Champagne> Chalon sur Saone> Tunis> Zurich> Santiago de Chile> Porto Alegre> Chamarande> Brasilia> Kendal> Rio de Janeiro>

DOMINI PÚBLIC. OTHER VERSIONS:

Domini Públic> postporn> by María Llopis

Domini Públic> children version> by Elisa Fontana

Domini Públic (DIWO: do it with others)> teen version> by Roger Bernat y Les Salonnières.

Domini Públic> remote control> by Roger Bernat/ FFF

    

 

 

china sourcing agent