—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.