Brighton Festival: My Life After review at Dome Corn Exchange
Lola Arias’ piece begins with tens of items of clothes raining down onstage. Along with many of the objects in the show, photographs, documents, letters, these are authentic items belonging to the previous generation. My Life After is about how we fill our parents’ shoes, or how we come to terms with their flaws, their crimes, even their betrayals. It is a beautiful and tender work, its self-conscious amateurism underpinned by a strong desire to keep the material fresh and direct.
The performers are all young Argentinians who co-wrote the piece with Arias, using their own stories to shape a rich cross-section of voices and perspectives. The piece deals with the Argentinian dictatorship, revolutionary politics, protest and guerrilla movements. Interwoven are memories of parents and grandparents, absent presences projected onto screens or the performers’ bodies.
The autobiographical material is sometimes traumatic, touching on political killings, stolen babies or paternal violence, but the piece is constantly moving between the painful and the quirky or whimsical. Histories are being constructed through memory, imagery and bodies in performance, but provisionally, without a desire to fix or memorialise the past.
The performance takes risk and is inventive throughout: actors jump off platforms, get soaked by water pistols, or a small boy’s live tortoise predicts whether there will be another Argentinian revolution. Old clothes are a powerful stage metaphor and this show’s jumble sale aesthetic shows us how our stories and histories are recorded as much in objects and bodies as in words and photos.
Dome Corn Exchange, May 24-26
- Lola Arias
- Gustavo Kotik
- Blas Arrese Igor, Liza Casullo, Carla Crespo, Vanina Falco, Pablo Lugones, Mariano Speratti, Moreno Speratti da Cunha
- Running time
- 1hr 30mins