Ask me who I am, I will tell you after the elections

The kunstenfestivaldesarts has reached another level of excellence with Mariano Pensotti’s world premiere “Cuando vuelva a casa voy a ser otro” (“When I come home, I will be someone else”) yesterday night at Theatre Varia in Brussels.

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The plot, divided in several chapters, is rather complex, but very understandable. The production is certainly very innovative due to the use of conveyor belts, up to four, that rather than setting the scene in front of you take the actors and props smoothly but constantly towards you. It might seem slightly disturbing during the first minutes but you get used to it quicker than you can imagine. The young Argentine playwright Pensotti, who has created more than fifteen performances in the last ten years, has written a story that, although full of thought-provoking ideas, is no metaphysical drama.

As it might happen in any election (today in Spain, this week in Ireland, this month in U.K, or this year in Argentine) one of the characters is a politician who looses only for a difference of one hundred votes. “It could have been a big change, for me, not for the people”. That outcome could have been used as a pretext to discuss about fate, or hazard, but Pensotti chooses identity as the leitmotif of the play. How does the result affect the image I have of myself, my personal identity? Obviously, you have not changed, but, perhaps because of an imponderable (a bomb or a leak you cannot control) you become the one who was going to be mayor but who failed. Another character, who participates in a TV song contest, is cruelly dismissed as an amateur. She is badly affected but, eventually, she will come back to this same TV show as the guest star.

Some people, all of us perhaps, find an identity that they think suit them and play it ad nauseam. That politician who lost the election could have become a parody of himself if he or she had won and stayed in power for too long. That funny tune you composed with your friends a summer in a garage might turn out to be the main source of your income, the basis of your public image and the most hated part of yourself. We desperately look for an identity we find pleasing for ourselves and the others but the fact that it might become permanent and inescapable might turn out to be a life sentence.

The play is not only about how we change the perception of ourselves according to unpredictable successes or failures, the endless search for public recognition, the thousand tricks that our capricious memory can play on us… it is much, much more. You still have three more performances in Brussels to draw your own conclusions.

Image credit © KFDA