Experimental Catalan company, ATRESBANDES, forge an epic journey through 21st century life that encompasses dictatorships, national anthems, education, self-help manuals, nightclubs and love in new show All In
In what at first appears an abstract selection of separate scenes ranging from stilted lunch dates in a newly-learnt language to an inventory of objects hoarded in a storage unit, the underlying theme of the individual versus the mass is revealed. As the action unravels, one character reappears, an outsider to the main group who attempts to assert his independence despite the pressure to follow the crowd. Signalling a new direction in the company’s style and approach, the show uses carefully integrated lighting, soundscapes, visual effects and video to propel its protagonist through vastly different but interconnected scenarios.
Mònica Almirall Batet from ATRESBANDES tells us more.
Can you summarise what the show’s about and how it came to be?
How it came to be, even we don’t know. ALL IN is the result of more than 2 years of work; different materials, different life experiences, different shows that we have seen during this time… It came from things as different as Beethoven, North Korea, Slavoj Zyzek, English language courses…
What is it about? ALL IN takes a wild ride through vastly different, seemingly unconnected worlds. These worlds are all incarnations of the tyranny of the crowd that annihilates the individual, from dictatorship to national anthems, education to self-help manuals and love as a marketable commodity. We consider ourselves to be free from indoctrination, but with this freedom comes the choice to participate in other systems of apparently harmless social control.
What do you hope that audiences will get from the show?
That’s always a difficult question. I’d hope that they get the same I want to get when I’m going to the theatre: questions and beauty. I hope people go out of the theatre with questions, thoughts and doubts. And with a warm experience of beauty for sure. When I use beauty, I’m talking about an aesthetic experience that warms you inside (that has nothing to do with the canons of beautiful and ugly), closer to the beauty of the poetry.
What are the highlights and challenges of creating and performing this show?
Creating a new show is a big challenge in itself. And to create from an idea, in the “shadows”, is the highest challenge, but our way of creating is related to our way of life. The challenge during the performance is be there in present time, being honest and putting in the present all this work you already made. We enjoy performing this work a lot, so there’s highlights everywhere.
What do you look forward to about touring in the UK?
To show our work abroad is always amazing. This show was born thanks to a UK venue, HOME in Manchester. People in the UK have always been very supportive of us, so to tour this show in the UK is a gift.
What’s next for ATRESBANDES?
Right now, we have just premiered an adaptation in Spanish of The Last Supper by Reckless Sleepers. We’ve been working on that with them and we are very happy with this new project, as it puts us in a different pattern of creation. Now we need a small pause, after the process of ALL IN (which was beautiful but veeeerrrryyyy long). But, we’re always thinking of a new, new thing… Our minds never stop.
All In is touring 23rd October – 11th November more details here.