Samuel Sims talks to Barcelona-based theatre company, ATRESBANDES, about the daunting task of working in a new direction, being influenced by Beethoven and the annihilation of individuality:
Ack, those Millenials eh? All iPhone-obsessed, distracted weirdos with more tattoos than sense; a generation constantly shown how anything and everything is on offer and that they can achieve dreams unattainable to previous generations.
What is there to moan about?
According to ATRESBANDES and their new show All In, tons. A sharp and surreal, yet humorous exploration of the millennial condition, All In is a heavily stylistic piece that questions what it means to be under societal control, to be instructed in conformity and whether there is a way out.
Out of my mind with curiosity, I caught up with ATRESBANDES in the middle of their busy tour:
Tell us about your company and All In?
We met each other at drama school nine years ago. Since then, we have made five shows and All In is our latest work. We work as a devised theatre company and we start from scratch each time, using non theatrical material.
This show is a step away from your previous productions – why now?
We always devise our work, so each piece is related to our artistic practice and personal feelings in that moment. Our method of working is an organic evolution. Each show we make is one step forward from the previous show, but we think that with All In we made a step further still. The questions and doubts we had this time, when we began creating, were an aesthetic challenge.
We wanted to work in a figurative language but without a narrative line
What inspired All In?
We are influenced by an enormous variety of disciplines. Our work is characterised by a single constant: advocacy for a theatre laboratory where the process of creation is paramount. With All In, we started with the title itself and that brought us to different references and concepts – Slavoj Zizek, Beethoven, English courses, night clubs, North Korea and so on.
We think our work makes reference to questions and doubts about our daily life, feelings and contradictions. That is a big subject that we don’t pretend to know the answer. We try to put these questions on the stage.
All In doesn’t have a conventional linear narrative. Is this reflective of the chaos that litters the lives of many millennials and the need to be and do it all?
We didn’t intend to talk about the millennial condition (if there is only one) when we started. We wanted to break our own rules in a very formal way. But, as our work is inspired by our personal life experiences and our times, it is our point of view about the contemporary society.
For us, we’re interested in the contradiction between the contemporary crowd movements and the need to be yourself as a unique being.
Do you think it is possible to be free from social control and indoctrination?
Hmmmmm… That is a very interesting question that we’ve tried to put on stage in All In. The answer? Let’s have a few drinks and talk about it…