PRESENTATION

 

Certain Inhabitants' Theatre reinvents itself once again through an interesting and complex path of quests and encounters. Avoiding common places but tackling on ordinary subjects. Skin, their latest production, is a mirror of one's own history.

 

The whole storyline comes from a laboratory where director and actors were trying different methodologies of work that could take on the immense universe of the skin. Why choosing the epidermis as a vehicle of communication? The idea of choosing a subject so pragmatic as the skin is precisely because of the abstract of its content: a simple vehicle to be able to reach essential subjects to the human being, from the praxis of the acting layout. Dialogues, choreographies and unusual situations were emerging in the course of the laboratory, experimenting with improvisation and constructing the play from its foundations.

 

The result is an absurd game that delivers truth and eliminates masks, in a catharsis in which actors and audiences alike participate in an astonishing symbiosis.

 

Skin is a reunion, a party in the wee hours of the night where a group of friends have come together to celebrate. Hours pass and fears, obsessions and misunderstandings occur one right after another, in the hopes of finding an answer that separates them from their self-inflicted solitude.

 

The skin's truth as some sort of shield that protects us from the outside, where the others are. Five characters: a woman that's always on constant surgeries, constantly using make-up and who is always squeezing herself in order to find the perfect cyborg; her counterpart, a girl that does not want to be touched and who flaunts in her existential neatness, bathed in oxygenated water and covered with disinfected bandages. Three men: a vicious man who collects scars, his' and others'; a pervert that enjoys bonding with strangers; and one last character that asks everyone for a little bit of truth, the very truth which he cannot provide himself, nor does he know how to.

 

Hours pass and the party turns into a labyrinth of passions and encounters in which the skin acts as victims of human being's joys and sorrows.

 

 

SYNOPSIS

 

On an evening, a group of friends meets to celebrate a birthday. In this party something happens, something that makes it different from all other parties: the birthday boy asks for a gift, a unique and real gift. A gift full of truth: he wants to feel his skin, and he wants to feel it differently, he wants to arrive to the deepest sensation, unknown to him... till now.

 

Taking this wish as a point of departure, these friends will make a journey, guided by the desires of the skin. A journey that will lead them to the most profound truth. Because, as they come to realize it, in the skin, within it or behind it, lies something: one's own truth.

 

It is a project where text, direction, acting, scenic space and sound have been created through experimentation and improvisation processes. Far from being about a conventional reality, here lies the opportunity to observe a narrative scenic discourse which is extremely singular and captivating.

 

 

FROM THE PROGRAM NOTES

 

MY SKIN: YOUR SKIN.

 

This play makes sense.

Because it is about that: about reading, without that much eagerness, the meaning of the experiences that come across our lives. It is about assuming that each situation that we do or that comes to us, that each decision taken in sudden attacks of sanity, that each pleasure enjoyed or that each choice that has been overcome in the silence of the night is just that: the meaning of what we are. And, perhaps, that meaning is no more than little things that add up in a single day, in many, in a destiny, in a party.

 

This play has sensibility. Because it talks about the skin, the entrance door to everything that is sensible and, therefore, a direct pathway to the truth. One's own truth. And because, being sensitive, this play is not about much, not that many things happen, just the sensations that occur in one night, to some friends who have conquered such an intimacy that there is not room for deception. And where there is trust and a couch, when there is nothing to keep in silence Well... you can only expect that the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

 

And that is what we are looking for, to make of the skin, the most normal organ in the world, the ideal pretext to arrive to the truth, to that promise sealed in the deepest of our intimacies. Because what you truly are is what is underneath a single caress. And, if you doubt it: try it.

 

Ximena Escalante

Playwright

 

 

SHORT PHRASES FOR PRESS

 

Where are you capable to arrive to with your skin's sensations. A journey guided by the desires of the skin, arriving to the most profound truth.

 

 

HISTORY OF THE PROJECT

 

  • Investigational laboratory: From January 2005 to March 2005.
  • Results presentation: March 6, 2005 at Foro Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.
  • Text elaboration: From April 2005 to November 2005.
  • Showcase presentations: Occurring at the Centro Cultural Universitario and at Diesel stores (in diverse Mexico City's shopping malls), throughout the weekends of March and April 2006.
  • Premiere: Festival de México en el Centro Histórico on March 30 and 31 & April 1st and 2nd at Centro Cultural Universitario's Terrace.
  • Theatrical run at Foro Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.: From April 6 to July 9, 2006.
  • Festival del Desierto: March 29, 2006 at Real de Catorce. April 1st, 2006 at Matehuala.
  • Festival de San Luis Potosí: May 4, 2006.

 

 

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

 

TEATRO DE CIERTOS HABITANTES

 

Established in 1997, Certain Inhabitants' Theatre has been internationally acclaimed due to its productions: Becket or the Honour of God, Monsters and Prodigies: The History of the Castrati, The Grey Automobile and Where Will I Be Tonight? Both the company and director, Claudio Valdés Kuri, have received numerous awards from specialized critics and associations.

 

It has performed in important festivals from the five continents: International Cervantino Festival (Guanajuato), Wiener Festwochen (Vienna), Kunsten Festival des Arts (Brussels), In-Transit-HKW (Berlin), Festival de l´Imaginaire (Paris), Les Translatines Festival (Bayonne), Grec Festival (Barcelona), Ibero-American Festival (Cadiz), Temporada Alta (Gerona), Open Granada (Granada), Ibero-American Festival (Bogota), International Theatre Festival (Caracas), Cultural Carnival (Valparaiso), International Festival Teatro a Mil (Santiago de Chile), International Theatre Festival (Belo Horizonte), Riocenacontemporanea Festival (Rio de Janeiro), International Arts Showcase (Puerto Rico), Singapore Arts Festival (Singapore), Expo-Aichi (Nagoya), National Theatre (El Cairo), Argelia Radio (Argel). In United States, the company has performed in many of the main venues: The Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), The Goodman Theatre (Chicago), Time-Based Art Festival (Portland), Ford Amphitheatre (Hollywood, California), The New 42nd Street Theatre (Broadway, New York), among many others.

 

It has had long theatrical runs with sold-out houses in Mexico City, as well as national tours.

 

Complementary to each project, Certain Inhabitants' Theatre offers a full range of activities in residence including panel discussions, lectures, classes, workshops, radio series, TV programs and interactive compact discs.

 

The company is supported by CONACULTA's México en Escena and by Artes Americas, University of Texas, Austin.

 

Certain Inhabitants' Theatre works under simple principles that provoke ample consequences. Each project is approached considering risks, specific questionings and an open debate. Once these risks and questions have been duly solved, the project is concluded permitting the group to concentrate on another project. We consider that the element of change is the prime instrument for the development of the artistic spirit. Research work is emphasized for each project, avoiding as much as possible the repetition of former presentation models and previous discoveries. At the same time, each presentation is 'polished' during long processes to attain maturity, nourished by the experience accumulated, pertaining to direction, production, creativity and interpreters. Reliance on scenic work is placed entirely upon a multidisciplinary artist, actor/musician/dancer, who will use all of his abilities to the utmost.

 

 

Miguel Ángel Gaspar, director

 

Born in Mexico City, Miguel Ángel Gaspar is an acknowledged artist of experimental theatre. He worked as vocal coach, singing teacher, as well as Music Theory professor at the Centro Universitario de Teatro de la UNAM, in Mexico City. He was a member of the Actors' Studio in Vienna under the direction of George Tabori, Walter Lott and Dethlef Jacobsen. He made independent studies in experimental theatre with Warren Rosenzweig and Soto G. Hoffmann, among many others. He is the founder of the well-known group Carpa Theater, with which he has created more than 20 productions between Austria and Mexico, such as De Memoria and Fausto o la curiosidad mató al gato, plays that premiered and had their respective seasons at the Teatro El Galeón, in Mexico City, as well as in Vienna. He has directed artists like Miki Malör, Akemi Takeya, Tanzfabrik Wien, Konex and Elio Gervasi, to name a few. He presented himself as an actor and as a performer with George Tabori, Nigel Charnok, OYA, Tanz Hotel, Akemi Tayeka, Konex, Berlin's Contemporary Opera, (gegen)klang and the Collegium Novum Zürich.

 

 

Ximena Escalante, playwright

 

Ximena Escalante was born in Mexico City and is considered one of the most outstanding writers of Mexican contemporary theatre. She studied Scenic Direction at the C.U.T., with Ludwik Margules as her guide. She also made a diplomat at the Escuela de Escritores and, she has a Bachelor's Degree in Writing and Theatrical Sciences from Madrid's school RESAD. She has participated in several writing and direction workshops with teachers such as Hugo Arguelles, José Luis Alonso de Santos, William Layton and Juan José Gurrola. She has received diverse grants for her studies and creations; one of these grants being the renowned Rockefeller Scholarship. She currently writes a theatrical critique column in Mexican newspaper Reforma. Escalante is also involved in many publications regarding theatre, especially in the fields of investigation and theory; she writes film scripts and gives Dramatic Literature classes in several acting and film schools. All her plays have been put on stage and many have been published; among them Cary Grant, La siesta de Pirandello, Vacío azul, Fedra y otras griegas y Yo también quiero un profeta. Plays like Fedra y otras griegas have been translated in four languages and staged in France, Montreal and New York.

 

 

Joaquín López "Chas", composer

 

Regarded as one of Mexico's most distinguished composers for theatre today, Joaquín López 'Chas' is Head of Music of INBA' National Classic and Contemporary Dance School's Bachelor's Degree in Choreography. He has used his abilities as musical composer in the creation of varied dance and theatre works, linking his creative skills to groups and artists such as: Compañía Nacional de Danza, Contempodanza, Pilar Medina, Producciones La Lágrima, Quiatora Monoriel, Mordine Dance Company, Claudia Lavista, Alicia Sánchez and Alejandro Aura, between others. He was awarded INBA-UAM's XVII's and XVIII's prize for Best Original Music, at the Third and Fourth Continental Contest of Contemporary Dance. He also joined Rockefeller Foundation's scholarship program for Binational Projects, presented by the Mordine Dance Company, in Chicago. He was composer and sound designer for the play Don Juan Tenorio, directed by Martín Acosta, presented by the National Theatre Company. He was in charge of composition and sound design for John Jesurum's Fausto, also directed by Martín Acosta and presented at the Festival Internacional Cervantino and the Next Wave Festival at New York's BAM.

 

 

Mónica Raya, set, costume and lightning designer

 

Born in Mexico City, she graduates with a Special Mention from UNAM's Faculty of Architecture with the thesis National School of Scenic Arts. With previous studies in England, she receives the degree of Master in Scenic Design from Yale's Drama School, thanks to her design of Mozart's The Magic Flute. She has since worked professionally in the United States of America, Mexico and Central America, as set and costume designer, as well as in the field of lightning in over 90 productions. She has designed Othello, La Malinche, Los Justos and Noche de Reyes for the Nacional Theatre Company; Tristán e Isolda and La Flauta Mágica for the Nacional Opera Company; La Historia de Hassan and El Caso de Caligari y el ostión chino for the Festival Internacional Cervantino; Stabat Mater, La tectónica de las nubes, Gracia y Gloria, Las obras de William Shakespeare abreviadas, among others for the Centro Cultural Helénico and dance for Mexico's National Ballet and for Arizona's Ballet. She has worked with directors like Johan Kresnik, Ludwik Margules, Hugo Hiriart, José Solé, Otto Minera, Iona Weissberg, Antonio Castro and Sergio Vela.

 

Since 1995, she has been a full-time professor at the Dramatic Literature and Theatre of UNAM's Faculty of Philosophy and Literature; and at the National Scenic Arts School since September 2001.

 

In January 2004 she was designated Theatre Director at UNAM and is currently designing Skin, directed by Miguel Ángel Gaspar, for the group Certain Inhabitants' Theatre.

 

 

CREDITS

 

TEATRODECIERTOSHABITANTES

MEXICO

 

SKIN

By Ximena Escalante

Direction

Miguel Ángel Gaspar

 

Starring

Katia Castañeda

Fabrina Melón

Miguel Ángel López

Kaveh Parmas

Claudio Valdés Kuri

 

Director

Miguel Ángel Gaspar

Project director

Claudio Valdés Kuri

Producer

Gastón Yanes / Igor Lozada

General coordination

Fabrina Melón

Set, costume and lightning design

Mónica Raya

Music and sound effects

Joaquín López 'Chas'

Public relations

Itzia Zerón

Artistic assistance

Claudia Mader

Direction assistance

Carlos López

Graphic design

Pablo Labastida

US Representation

Artsource Management LLC

Producers

Dirección de Teatro - UNAM
Festival de México en el Centro Histórico
Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes A.C.

 

 

 

Sponsors

México en Escena - FONCA
Coordinación Nacional de Teatro - INBA
Festival del Desierto
Revista QUO

Diesel