THE PLAY

Duration: 140 min (2 breaks included)

It was a large room.
Full of people.
All kinds.
And they had all arrived at the same buidling at more or less the same time.
And they were all free.
And they were all asking themselves the same question:
What is behind that curtain?
You were born.
And so you’re free.

Laurie Anderson

The theater room is transformed into a Parliament where every single spectator, armed with a remote control device for voting, rules in a chamber hemicircle in which the political colors are yet to be defined.

DRAMATIST’S NOTES 

In current politics, the function of spoken language is to not convince anyone, meanwhile things change driven by powers that are not seen and that after all, don’t even produce dialogue. Let’s see what happens if suddenly, in the absence of any effective power, the role of the spoken word becomes once again that exquisite, originally political, tool to convince the listener.

Perhaps the last beach of real politics can be found in the total absence of practical power. PENDING VOTE aims to be that last beach. Not the false version of a real parliamentary debate, but the real version of the current false debate. No more fictional politics, but politics of fiction: genuine politicians against the real politicians; or true politics against all forms of realpolitik.

Immersion theatre? More like, emergence theatre…

PROGRAMMER’S NOTES

Software combining the functions of parliamentary vote management and an interactive script was developed. The audience’s interactive voting develops the script, which was adapted to a tailored XML format to be make the software easy to edit and interpret. It was programmed in C++ using the Openframeworks and Python platform and following the company’s open source philosophy. The performance required close collaboration between the theatre and programming teams to incorporate dramaturgical requirements into the software, while also building the opportunities of the digital environment into the play. (The files are here)

SPACE / PARLIAMENT

The audience should preferably be seated in tiered seats. Depending on the technical capabilities and time available, the layout of the tiers should be as close as possible to a semicircular parliamentary chamber. The show can also be done in a real parliament (see Gent).

ADAPTATION

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

SET-UP

The set-up begins the day before the premiere.

BEAR IN MIND

Maximum capacity of 240 spectators. Minimum age: 16 years old. Minimum spectators: 30 persons. Once concluded the last show the referendums and results are downloadable at rogerbernat.info.

PRESS REVIEW

Pendiente de voto  nos propone ver qué sucedería si de pronto, y a falta de todo poder efectivo, el papel de la palabra volviera a ser el de convencer a quien la escucha. Eduardo D. Solano, El pueblo digital (México), 01.03.2012

Esta irónica velada en tres actos viene a sugerir que en todas partes hay quién elige las preguntas y quién se ve emplazado a dar respuestas unívocas, de las cuales se extraen a menudo conclusiones inexactas o traídas por los pelos.  Javier Vallejo, El Pais (España), 01.03.2012

Pendent de votació es podria definir com un laboratori democràtic que ens ajuda a descobrir la perversió que s’amaga en la inèrcia del vot. El votant inert cedeix el seu pes, però no la seva força, al cos electoral, que gira com una roda sense ànima ni una direcció volguda. (…) Un show que ens recorda que la democràcia a gran escala també pateix, per totes les seves esquerdes, les infiltracions de l’espectacularitat. (…) Pendent de votació és un espectacle que hauria de ser obligatori en tots els MBA i congressos de partits. Bernat Puigtobella, Nuvol (Catalunya), 16.05.2012

Bernat nos deja pensando en lo que significa ejercer o renunciar a ejercer un derecho que, a las mujeres por ejemplo, nos costó muchas luchas históricas conquistar: el derecho a voto, pero lo hace invitándonos a jugar. Simplemente brillante! Soledad Lagos R., Diario La Segunda (Chile), 10.01.2013

Ce glissement progressif de la démocratie participative à la dictature est l’une des principales interrogations, et non des moindres, soulevées par Roger Bernat dans cette pièce. (…) Pendiente de Voto est une véritable réflexion politique, plus sérieuse qu’il n’y paraît, sur les mécanismes du pouvoir en jeu dans toute démocratie et sur les dérives totalitaires en germe dans une collectivité. Une réflexion aussi sur la parole citoyenne et la démocratie participative qui ne peut que nourrir le débat à l’approche des élections municipales de marsCristina Marino, Le Monde (France), 16.02.2014

Las preguntas van mostrando nuestras seguridades y también nuestras inconsistencias y nos obligan a ver lo difícil que resulta construir leyes justas, iguales para todos, sin excepciones. (…) Pendiente de voto es una experiencia burbujeante que nos hace reflexionar y preguntarnos por lo esencial al obligarnos a que nos planteemos el estado de nuestra democracia. Una estupenda ocasión para reflexionar si en esta sociedad importa realmente lo que pensamos y también para ser parte activa y luchar por cambiar un sistema que ya no nos representa. Javi Alvarez, la isla inexistente (Madrid), 02.03.2012

Aquest espectacle ens ajuda a fer més entenedora i colpidora alhora la sensació d’allunyament de la paraula del poble. (…) …l’obra, on ningú està obligat a participar, però si participa està obligat a pensar i a implicar-se. (…) Un teatre que fa pensar, que mou consciències i ens fa encara més palès el que succeeix actualment al carrer.  Ester Villamor, La finestra digital (Barcelona),  16.05.2012

Roger Bernat es uno de los ejemplos más significativos de cómo el teatro puede ser una plataforma para la investigación y la experimentación, sin olvidar la crítica y la emoción. Saioa Olmo / A*Desk (Barcelona), 20.03.2012

Aquesta proposta que en principi sembla tan sols un “divertimento”, es va transformant poc a poc en motiu de reflexió profunda i de debat entre el public. Resumint, una proposta INTEL·LIGENT que et demostra sense paraules i sense que ningú t’ho explique, la vida real que portem a les auto-denominades DEMOCRÀCIES. Molt, però que molt INTERESSANT, divertit i que ajuda molt a reflexionar.  Miguel Gascón, voltarivoltar.com, 17.05.2012

Roger Bernat en su última propuesta ha dado la vuelta a la premisa del teatro sin teatro (…) Ese espacio real del teatro finalmente queda desvirtuado al ser él también un espacio figurado y que exige una metalectura. La de haber asistido a un espectáculo en el que también hemos tenido la ilusión de que podíamos decidir. Aunque, eso sí, éste ha sido divertido. David G. Torres, A*Desk, 28.05.2012

La force de sa pièce réside dans sa capacité à interroger le public sur ce qu’il voit pendant la représentation et sur son ressenti après la pièce.
La volonté du metteur en scène est triple puisqu’il souhaite imiter une certaine réalité, recréer à sa façon le théâtre Forum des années 60 et faire de sa pièce un outil pour de futures analyses. Ces buts montrent à quel point le format de la pièce est intemporel et répond à tous les critères propres au théâtre tout en voulant les transcender. (…) La force de son théâtre est là, il n’imite pas le réel, il l’introduit dans son théâtre et le fait vivre. (…) Le théâtre n’est plus un simple divertissement ou un instrument de satire mais devient un réel outil révélateur des mentalités. Jérémy Engler, theatrecelestins.wordpress.com (Lyon), 22.10.2013

Interatividade no teatro não é necessariamente um método cruel para constranger espectadores desavisados. Há poucos exemplos para provar essa afirmação. Mas este, o espetáculo “Pendente de Voto”, do espanhol Roger Bernat, se destaca por criar um sistema que compreende a participação da plateia como seu ponto-chave. GUSTAVO FIORATTI, Folha de Sao Paulo (Brasil) 04/06/2014

IMMERSIVE THEATRE? MORE LIKE, EMERSIVE THEATRE

“Parliament,” or “speaking place”. In this “parlance” there is now room for the entire phenomenology of talking: conversation, gossip, confidences, street theatre, criticism, cultural debate, lessons, admonitions. Coromonodiálogo. The colours, physiognomy, of language. This constant chatter that spreads through every interstice of the “speaking place” is responsible for the fact that parliamentary debates are now largely fiction, or a media interface for the more or less passionate manipulations that take place – all of them – in the strategic calm of offices, cabinets, commissions and party headquarters. The pomposity of form – so similar to that of ancient theatres with their concentric cavea, and a plain wall for a background, reminiscent of the fixed set of these theatres (the façade of the Royal Palace, the site of all heroism, of all absolutism) – reveals much about this fictional quality that is assigned to all members of parliament, politicians, managers, clerks, who are here to “represent” the community, called upon by the community to be, like the community itself, spectators more frequently than actors in this extremely complicated court intrigue. Called upon to play the role of spectator with the right to censure: parliament is the oldest immersive theatre in existence. And as often happens in immersive theatre, the dramatic shortcomings of the performers do not become evident as long as they merely stick to playing their role as spectators. On the contrary, a member of parliament is the very model of an emancipated spectator (who walks in and out, talks, laughs, claps and generally couldn’t care less about anything) or, in some cases, the best leader of the clique. The shortcomings begin when the MP-spectator takes advantage of the fleeting opportunity to pretend to be an actor in the dromon, in the conflict of parliamentary politics: the ensuing fiction is usually not very plausible, poorly written and quite badly acted; the monologue convinces only those who have been assigned the role – as spectators – of being convinced in advance. As such, today’s parliaments perfectly embody the spatial metaphor of the Roman “forum” and “chamber”: the gap left in a city’s architecture in which to wash Republic’s dirty linen. A hole, with the city around it. An opening, with the palace around it. It is increasingly unlikely that it will ever be filled with something tragically effective.

The “speaking place” should be the place for “taking the floor” to speak. Taking the floor as you would conquer a city if, as James Hillman says, “politics is war continued by other means.” Taking the floor as you would conquer an enemy’s mind if, as Hannah Arendt says, the essence of politics is the ability to change the course of events through discourse, and if politics was originally based on the prestige of speaking. In some sense, politics was true only and exclusively when politicians trained as true actors. And it became false as soon as politicians began acting like false spectators and amateur actors, aided and abetted by the supposed democratic truth and honesty of drama. In any case, how can dyslexia be avoided when external agents are so absurdly outrageous in regards to the miserable interface of today’s parliament? And above all, why dream that the inner show is true (or truly false)? Why dream that fiction can effectively transform the truth of things, when things, out there, have lost all truth, when the status quo is already, without exceptions, putting on a show for itself?

In today’s politics, the purpose of words is to not convince anybody, while things change, driven by powers that do not speak, and that do not dialogue after all. Let’s see what happens if suddenly, the word – given the lack of effective power – returns to its exquisitely, originally, political role of convincing the listener. Perhaps the last expanse of true politics can be found in this total lack of practical power. Parlament tries to be this last expanse. Not the false version of a true parliamentary debate, but the true version of the current false debate. Not a fiction of politics, but a politics of fiction: true politicians against true politicians; or true politics against all types of realpolitiks.

Immersive theatre? More like, emersive theatre.

Out of all the things that can emerge from a hole, the word and newborns (not necessary in that order) are still the best option.

Roberto Fratini, Lecturer in Dance Theory, Institut del Teatre de Barcelona.

DEVICE

(…) accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Unitde States declaration of independence, July 4, 1776

 

TEAM

By Roger Bernat. Dramatist: Roberto Fratini. Data visuals: Mar Canet. Data devices and software: Jaume Nualart. Music: “The Sinking of the Titanic” by Gavin Bryars, PatchWorks, etc. Sound design: Juan Cristobal Saavedra. Lighting: Ana Rovira. Assistant and technical director: Txalo Toloza. Stage graphic design: Marie-Klara González. Special effects: Cube.bz. Programming assistants: Pablo Argüello, David Galligani and Chris Hager. Content consultants: Oscar Abril Ascaso and Sonia Andolz. Producer: Helena Febrés Fraylich. Acknowledgments: David Cauquill, Raquél Gomes, Marcela Prado and Magda Socias.

MORE PHOTOS MADE BY THE GREAT BLENDA here.

Coordination: Helena Febres. A coproduction by Centro Dramático Nacional (Madrid), FundacióTeatre Lliure/Festival NEO and Elèctrica Produccions (Barcelona) with Manège de Reims-Scène Nationale/Reims Scènes d’Europe, Manège de Mons/CECN, TechnocITé in the Transdigital project supported by the european program Interreg IV.

PRESS

Un théâtre de “spect’acteurs-citoyens” orchestré par Roger Bernat par Cristina Marino en LE MONDE (fr)

El show de Roger Bernat por Bernat Puigtobella a Núvol.com (cat)

Can a system interface alone engage a theatre audience? by Elena Pérez (eng)

Pendiente de voto, ¿realmente importa lo que pensamos? por Javi Álvarez (esp)

ON TOUR: Madrid> Montpellier> México DF> Barcelona> Ljubljana> Terni> Gent> Paris> Marne la Vallée> Reims> Santiago de Chile> Saint Médard-en-Jalles> Utrecht> Alès> Brasilia> Londrina> Wien> Olot> Belfast> Lyon>

 

  

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