PRESS SYNTHESIS

"Internationalist theatre" probably does not exist except as an invention of an artistic fad, but it is certainly true of the play Where Will I Be Tonight? by Claudio Valdés Kuri and Maricarmen Gutiérrez whose concept is based on a multicultural philosophy. After mounting three successful plays that were acclaimed in Mexico and abroad - Becket or the Honour of God, Monsters and Prodigies and The Grey Automobile, once again Valdes Kuri consolidates his professionalism.

Vera Milarka
Reforma, Mexico City, March 30 / 05


This is Art gentlemen! Claudio Valdés Kuri creates considerable envy in the Mexican theatre world. He is a director who, with his company, Certain Inhabitants Theatre has achieved international renown in the most demanding artistic circles. His projects are not only impeccable proposals and productions, but also of a kind that can be successfully performed in the best international forums as well as in Mexico. Every time I go to one of his productions, I can not recall one in which the audience hasn¿t given a standing ovation. During this new performance, a man in the audience, who had nothing to do with theatre, jumped up and shouted excitedly ¿This is art, gentlemen!¿. What makes his work so transcendental is his philosophy about theatre. Claudio enjoys experimenting and he intuitively recognizes his need to search for ways of establishing a really intimate link between the spectators, the actor and the beauty of the theatrical script. Where will I be Tonight?, based on a favourite literary character, the tragic story of Joan of Arc is an example of this search and is the result of hard work and various months of research and discussion. Without recurring to any political or moral postures, Valdés Kuri places the character firmly in her faith, capable of moving anyone¿s spirit, including the spectator, who suddenly finds himself involved in a war on stage. It is because Kuri manages to wrap round us a ludicrous universe involving our imaginations. Valdés plays with the didactic theatre themes proposed by Brecht, where the artifice of theatre is openly exposed and the actors are constantly entering and leaving fiction. Claudio Valdés Kuri¿s conception and structure of the show is brilliant.

Silvia Ortega
Chilango / Time Out, Mexico City, March / 05


Can one really say these days what has not already been said about Joan of Arc? One would assume that the answer to this question would be a resounding NO; and yet, after seeing Where will I be Tonight?, one can only conclude that YES!, something else can be said and in what a way! And this is the great merit of this theatrical work: the way in which it is conceived and projected, in other words ¿the staging, as it is known in the theatre. In fact it really seals the prestige held by Certain Inhabitants Theatre in dramatizing their chosen theme in such an unusual and innovative way as to cause great impact. Today, with their presentation of Where will I be Tonight?, Certain Inhabitants Theatre have once again proved their constant search for new theatrical expressions. This theatrical work written by Maricarmen Gutiérrez and Claudio Valdés Kuri, who also directed it, is the maximum expression of how such a well known story such as Joan of Arc can be revolutionized into a highly relevant modern production. Here we see the character¿s hallucinations, the voices she heard, her fight for the liberation of France, her trial and later imprisonment but all presented in such an unusual way that the spectator feels he is seeing it for the first time. Valdés Kuri surprises us once again with his capacity to create beautiful images, but more than anything, with his talent at involving the public in the show. The program notes explain that ¿the set design totally depends on multidisciplinary actors, actor-musician-dancer, who use all their abilities to the utmost¿, in the Certain Inhabitants Theatre and they certainly manage it: each new interpretation is memorable.

Hugo Hernández
El Universal, Mexico City, Feb 25 / 05


The dramatization is stunning. As in all the work by this director whose musical education is also reflected in the actors, part musicians and singers whose excellent corporal expression is comparable to ballet. They play both the long trumpets and the bagpipes before the extraordinary scene of the siege of Orleans where they demonstrate their formidable, almost athletic prowess. It is true that Claudio Valdés Kuri leading his theatre group Certain Inhabitants runs constant risks with such a variety of dramatizations, which never repeat solutions already achieved. But it is this that makes him a truly creative dramatic art director, a flair which he has shown for a number of years and his previous three theatrical works. Where will I be Tonight? confirms this astonishing talent.

Olga Harmony
La Jornada, Mexico City, Nov 25 / 04


Claudio Valdés Kuri¿s production is innovative and by using the successful combination of ideas drawn from different periods he has produced an extremely intense, concise and fascinating show. It is not just the scenic design; it is also the organic aesthetics of the play itself which are entirely different from anything else produced on the same subject.

Reyna Barrera
Unomásuno, Mexico City, Nov 20 / 05


Certain Inhabitants Theatre presented their performance of Where will I be Tonight? in the Teatro Principal in Guanjuato and it was a resounding success. In a very stylized way it tells us the story of the French martyr who raised the siege of Orleans and died at the stake as a heretic. The actors María Teresa Dal Pero, Gibrán Galaviz, Carlos López, Miguel Ángel López, Fermín Martínez, Cristian Mercado, Ruy Olivares, Kaveh Parmas and Gastón Yanes display their scenic capacity in an original staging that captivates the actor-spectator for more than two hours. Choreography, scenic juxtapositions, circus-like acts; it is all like a dream in which the actor-spectator begins to get involved, through the text which draws him into being part of the jury, a courtesan and soldier. A soldier praying besides a river, wittingly poetizing in the hopes of a miracle¿ a kingfisher, towers, canons and fortresses recreated in each of those present; the anointing of a paraplegic king and the ascent to heaven of a woman who knew how to put into practice what her voices had told her, her guides, who left her with her recantation under oath¿ repentance always brings a heavenly reward.

Mauricio Ruiz Salcines
 Excelsior, Mexico City, Oct 10 / 04


Mexican director Claudio Valdés Kuri¿s theatrical language gives privilege to the presence of the actor as axis of his proposals, with a poetic sense of what scenic is, where the music, or, better said, the musicality, plays a central part as spinal instance of the dramatic structure.

Javier Barreiro Cavestany
El Universal, Ciudad de México, Oct 10 / 04


Intimate and revealing at the same time universal and disturbing, the performance of Where will I be Tonight?, staged by the theatre company Certain Inhabitants received a standing ovation from the spectators at the world premier performance of this contemporary version of the life of Joan of Arc, known as the Damsel of Orleans. It was presented in the Teatro Principal as one of the most anxiously awaited performances of the XXXII International Cervantine Festival. It has a strong dramatic plot in which the high quality acting of 10 actors of different nationalities combines with an histrionic, vocal and almost aerobic quality. One never knows what to expect in the performance whose constant pace is both vibrant and subdued; the same with the lighting when darkness becomes another factor in a three minute blackout before the lighting turns on again when the whole place seems to be on fire and filled with smoke. Where will I be Tonight? also has its risks for the performers for they enact battle scenes on ladders, climbing to the highest point and practically freefalling, with just a security rope. Moreover, it incites the spectators to participate and become actors. It is not the traditional and chronological view of the life of Joan of Arc but rather what it extracts from one¿s being, one¿s consciousness, one¿s heart, of the need to achieve a more just and egalitarian world, and it is in this where its present day relevance lies. The theatrical performance alludes to the most human sentiments of tolerance, confidence, liberty and above all, an internal dialogue with a supreme being.

Yante Aguilar Sosa
AM, Guanajuato, Oct 10 / 04


Yesterday you talked to me. Loud and clear. They were not like the voices that visited you in Domrémy when you were little - Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, who told you when you were 13 that you should lead a pious life. Neither was it ghost because it had a body, contained in a little actress like you, María Teresa Dal Pero. The venue: the Teatro Principal in Guanajuato. The company: Certain Inhabitants¿ Theatre. The director: Claudio Valdés Kuri. The play: Where will I be Tonight? At the entrance they had insisted over and over again, not to leave the theatre at any time. Who would wish to leave, and who could honestly not wish to describe it, after being subjected to what was to occur inside? A phrase uttered from the stage at the beginning warns what might happen: ¿I have the feeling that you might discover something in yourselves¿. Life is there among the actors, but also among the public who slowly get involved in the plot, by wishing to tell your life story, your visions. Don¿t worry Joan; Valdés Kuri and Maricarmen Gutiérrez, the authors of the text, also have their visions which the actors have given multiple lives. Maricarmen Teresa Dal Pero literally grows in front of the audience¿s eyes and their other senses: from the little girl who began her crusade to the saint crucified by the inquisition who may have many names at different periods of time. Gibrán Galaviz, Carlos López, Miguel Ángel López, Fermín Martínez, Cristian Mercado, Ruy Olivares, Kaveh Parmas and Gastón Yanes multiply to form an army, establish a tribunal, to form visions. Where will I be Tonight? talks with many voices, some not even produced through the mouth, they seem to emerge from nothing. Some may call it the conscience, others prefer to ignore that there is something floating around in our heads. Unshaken, faithful to your voices, firm in your principles, Joan of Arc, you visit us through this performance and you put us in a predicament. You invite us to listen, but also to speak out and not to keep silent. Where will we be tonight? And tomorrow night? I see a woman who was invited among others to participate in the show and was asked to move to the opposite side. When she returns at the end of the show her expression has transformed. She collects her things and with a voice filled with feeling she declared to no one in particular: ¿They changed me from the inside out.

Xavier Quirarte
Milenio Diario, Mexico City, Oct 9 / 04


This staging is a response to the meaning of human existence. A splendid cast demonstrates artistic talent, tenacity and courage. The world premier staging of Where will I be Tonight? on Thursday evening in the International Cervantine Festival was an historic achievement: that is, inscribing Mexican theatre in the world forum of human creativity with a magnificently artistic work of truly international dimension. The new theatrical proposal by the young director Claudio Valdés Kuri with his extraordinary theatre company known as Certain Inhabitants Theatre, not only reaffirms the well deserved renown for his previous work, but also demonstrates his increasing artistic flair in which all the actors display their magnificent contribution to truly creative achievements. Eight years ago this company surprised the world with their stellar performance of Becket or the Honour of God. They continued this high standard in subsequent works: Monsters and Prodigies, that remarkable staging based on the history of the castrati, which in fact caused overwhelmingly profound reflections. And more recently The Grey Automobile. Therefore, it would not be surprising if this new theatrical spectacle Where will I be Tonight? were to receive all sorts of international acclaim, renown and awards, as it brings together the collective efforts of the Certain Inhabitants Theatre whose vigor and tenacity and above all their remarkably extensive talents, have inspired the support of various institutions in Mexico, Belgium, Germany and Austria. They produced a truly marvelous display of theatrical art on Thursday evening: well rounded contained content, its conception and performance creating an influential sphere. Using the superb performance of the actors as a basis, the co-authors of the text, Claudio Valdés Kuri and Maricarmen Gutiérrez, develop an extraordinarily profound reflection, yet astonishing simple in its truth: that the spectator should search to find his only true enemy during his life span: one¿s only enemy is oneself. For this purpose, they use the well known story of Joan of Arc, considered the most successful icon in history of the fight for social and human justice. The narrative structure of the story of Joan of Arc in Where will I be Tonight? is used as a pretext to express something much more fundamental and stimulate existential questions such as ¿Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? It stimulates us to question, to constructive thinking and to define what makes us human. On the stage Joan is an angel disguised as a warrior. She is the victorious warrior who resolves the little understood concept of victory over death. She epitomizes the fact that there is no spiritual preparation in the western world because everything is reduced to trivialities and money. The message in Where will I be Tonight? is remarkably simple and the answer to what is the sense of existence is shown to us in a passionate flesh and blood rendering of enormous talent and honesty, with truly fruitful results. Should you, dear reader, be fortunate enough to attend this sensational and heart-rending performance, you might ask yourself that question. And, you might have the opportunity of finding the answer. Gloria in excelsis.

Pablo Espinosa
 La Jornada, Ciudad de México, Oct 9 / 04


MObserver and observed begin a game of undefined functions. The audience is divided into two facing sections ¿ masked? And we can say the scene develops more or less in the centre, although it is not exactly so. We, those who have gone to watch, are part of the performance, a tremendous performance which goes beyond the moment. Certain Inhabitants Theatre presents in the XXXII International Cervantine Festival an extremely dynamic, surprising, probing performance. They take the story of Joan of Arc as a pretext and the apparent dispute between England and France, but where a native Indian from the Yucatan leads the troops, who explains in his broken Spanish the peculiarities of the ¿mad woman¿ and where the event happens in an absolute jumble of eras and nationalities where the past and present walking hand in hand. The French king is literally a cripple whose throne is a wheel chair, and he has great difficulty in speaking. At the time, I don¿t know if it is an actor with different abilities or if he is an actor acting, interpreting a real character. It is only at the end when I realize it is the former, but also the latter. The result is to emphasize phasing demarcation limits, fading boundaries; languages that intertwine, also music, Butoh dance movements with street fights; filming techniques such as slow motion with the actors on stage; drama with farce; the serious with being part of a carnival. And we are in the middle of all this, those always waiting, expectant spectators, are left between being disconcerted and certain.

Lilia Solórzano
Expresso, Guanajuato, Oct 9 / 04