The small room comes to life as electronic music begins to pump rhythmically. The body lying on the floor slowly sits up and begins tapping its foot, which gradually begins to take on a life of its own. It dawns on the audience that there is something strange going on, and then the body suddenly splits into two, revealing a woman who had been under the man the whole time. Thus begins the contemporary theatre dance show, Despoblados.
Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Despoblados was a dance duet featuring Bárbara Achondo and Roberto Parra that described the elastic moment at the end of a relationship. The act is based on texts by Samuel Beckett - whose work is known for its ability to impress, shock and confound and for its bleak outlook on human culture.
Despoblados addresses the absurdity of human relationships from a critical and poignant point of view and explores the need to share experiences with others. Andrés Cárdenas presents this jarring and captivating piece in such a way as to allow the audience to interpret it as they will.
Cárdenas incorporates live electronic music that complements the movements of the dancers, whose strong and sudden movements seemed dictated by the pulsing music. Sebastián Carrasco, Andrés Abarzúa, Eric Rodriguez and Nicolás Plubins create an intense rhythm that shakes the eardrums and holds the audience captive.
The combination of powerful music and passionate dance made the performance riveting, hooking the audience from the get-go. The dancer’s strength and flexibility inspired and amazed the audience, who could not take their eyes off the spectacle. Achondo demonstrated her incredible strength by lifting Parra horizontally across her body using only her arms. Some of the moves even dumbfounded the audience – such as when Parra lifted Achondo using her head.
The show juxtaposed bold, abrupt dance moves with slow and loving interludes; shots of adrenalin with moments of comic tenderness - and succeeded in thoroughly engaging the spectators. They gaped at the acrobatics, jumped at a sudden, piercing scream from Achondo and laughed when the couple made a heart-shape in the air with their cupped hands.
The props were minimal without being incidental; the most important were the walls of the room, which they walk along horizontally, and a long piece of rope which ties the couple together until the woman breaks their figurative bond.
Despoblados was a small theater production that made a bang in its interpretation of Samuel Beckett’s work. Achondo and Parra had a great onstage connection that added to the performance and engaged the viewers. Intense in its music and storyline, this show is sure to leave its footprints in the memories of those who see it.