Circus

Theater

EL ÚLTIMO APAGA LA LUZ

Written and directed by Andrés Labarca

Chile

  • Spanish
  • 60 minutes
  • +10 años

Advertencia +7. Includes loud music and occasions when it’s pitch black. Due to the show’s technical nature, no late entry is permitted and it’s not possible to leave once it has started.

Vertigo, humor and reflection come together in this acclaimed piece of contemporary circus portraying the effects of the solitude of life today.


El último apaga la luz is inspired by Diogenes syndrome (senile squalor syndrome), a disorder characterized by the compulsive hoarding of things. Using a mixture of contemporary circus, visual arts, music and film, the issues of abandonment and loneliness are tackled - absurdly and sometimes mockingly - as being the underlying causes of this problem, which is more common that you’d think. The show knocks the audience sideways with its visuals, sounds and physicality. All of these create a kind of ‘tragic joy’ that is both vertiginous and reflective. The stage is a dark, dirty and forgotten place, on which we can make out the shadows and lives of a mess that is completely deliberate. In the gloom, a man has only his solitude for company. The only light comes from the street, a couple of old lightbulbs and his imagination. El último apaga la luz was created by Ni desnudo ni bajando la escalera, a company dedicated to combining acrobatics, sound, physical theater and the visual arts on stage.

Written and directed by: Andrés Labarca | Cast: Andrés Labarca | Stage handling: Jean Paul Mengin and Esteban Amaya | Sound, music and lighting: Lola Etieve | Art director: Gabriel Tondreau | Set designers: Espacio Checoeslovaquia, Jean Paul Mengin, Gabriel Tondreau | Technical manager: Rodrigo Leal | External consultant: Francisco Arrázola | Sound and musical designer: Lola Etieve | Manager and producer: Macarena Simonetti | Company: Ni desnudo ni bajando la escalera | Coproduced by: Espacio Checoeslovaquia.

“An excellent example of visual and physical theater, stained with surrealism and the absurd”.

—El Mercurio

“Objects of all shapes and sizes account for the accumulation that gives the stage a depth worthy of the retouched backgrounds of Ghibli Studio films”.

—Arte al límite

“This play - directed and performed by Andrés Labarca - turns the spotlight onto the circus scene in our country, critiquing what I’ve foolishly talked about in these pages: the here and now”.

—El Mostrador

As well as talking about a mental health issue, the play deals with universal issues all audiences can identify with, such as abandonment, especially that felt by senior citizens; loneliness; ‘programmed obsolescence’ and the feeling of emptiness contemporary life leaves us with, which people often try to mitigate by accumulating material things.

—This production confirms Ni desnudo ni bajando la escalera as different to the companies normally found in contemporary Chilean circus.

Its star and director, Andrés Labarca, is an acclaimed circus artist who has made a career for himself in France, where he’s a member of the KIAI and MPTA companies. His aim is to replicate some of what he’s learned there in Chile. “This new format and the fact that it’s something different for the country’s cultural agenda means we should be able to create and open up new places to perform circus in Chile”, he says.

—Physical theater: This is a kind of theater based on the body’s expressive and communicational abilities, in performances whose aim is to tell a story using corporality. Its roots are in Japanese nō theater, Italian commedia dell’arte, circus acts, certain types of Asian theater and mime. Its modern-day version is usually said to date from the first half of the twentieth century.

—Clowns: In the words of Argentine actor, director, clown and teacher Marcelo Katz, “clowns make us laugh with their take on the world and attempts to rise above their failures. The clown technique is profound, crazy and unexpected”, he confirms. What makes them different from buffoons is “a big technical difference. The buffoon uses universal archetypes of ridicule (such as tripping), whereas clowns work with and draw from their own fears, dreams and obsessions”.

—Diogenes syndrome: Diagnosed mainly in senior citizens, this condition is characterized by a lack of self-care, social isolation and the extreme accumulation of garbage and objects. It’s believed that between 30 and 50% of those suffering from it also have dementia or some other kind of mental illness. It was first recognized in the sixties and is named after the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, who lived the completely opposite kind of life, hoarding nothing and barely meeting his basic needs.

—Planned obsolescence: This is the name for the useful lifespan given to a product by manufacturers, so that it becomes obsolete or no longer functional. It is mainly used in the world of technology to refer to telephones or computers that, for example, become incompatible with new applications, accessories and programs after several years.

—Contemporary circus: Also called new circus (nouveau cirque in French), this performing arts genre - developed in the middle of the twentieth century - is characterized, among other things, by basing itself on a story told through different circus acts and disciplines. The focus is on making an esthetic impact and on a performance that tells a story, sometimes using theater techniques as well.

—The Ni desnudo ni bajando la escalera company’s website

—Find out more about Andrés Labarca’s work in this video

Trailer of El último apaga la luz on Vimeo

El último apaga la luz on social media:

On Instagram, @nidesnudonibajandolaescalera

On Facebook, nidesnudonibajandolaescalera

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