Irene Ros is writer and director of Marcel Vol 1, a surrealist show that attempts to turn the Berlusconi sex scandal into art. Pete Shaw chats to her about Dadaism and why experimentation is important in theatre.
Experimentation in theatre is everything. What I mean is that if you don’t experiment in theatre you'll put on a show which won’t add any experience to the reading of the script.
Tell us about your Edinburgh show
“Marcel vol I is performed by an ensemble cast and features two parallel stories: One is the tale of two women in an apocalyptic setting where the stage is invaded by half men half-machine characters, The other, the grotesque nightmare triggered by Italy’s ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi‘s Ruby sex scandal of underage sex with a Moroccan teenager. Interestingly the narrative to the nightmares is constructed verbatim from translated transcripts from the Silvio Berlusconi pre trial and subsequent trial. Overall we are hoping that the show will shine a thought provoking spotlight onto the impact greed, obsession and power can have on the human condition if it remains unchecked.”
Why a Dada performance?
“The Dada movement was a literary and artistic revolution born out of Europe's negative reaction to the horrors of the First World War. In a literal sense it could be described as a creative portal through which artists could remonstrate against the world crisis. Abstraction and Expressionism in literature and Art were the main beneficiaries of Dadaism. The current political landscape with its many layers and guises lends itself beautifully to this type of performance treatment. As an experimental theatre group we are very excited to bring a very different, very challenging yet edifying piece of theatre to the Edinburgh Fringe. We feel that Marcel vol I is incredibly relevant in these changing and difficult times. The fact that the Dada movement was created at a time when the world was in a moral and economic crisis - much like today, does not escape us.”
What inspirations have you pulled on to create Marcel Vol I?
“As an Italian national living in The UK, world politics and in particular, Italian politics is a great source of inspiration. It is a gift that keeps on giving especially in these troubled times. Politics gives us an opportunity to see many aspects of our humanity or lack thereof. When I first read the published evidence which led to Silvio Berlusconi’s court appearances I was fascinated and felt that it read like a ready-made script. Everything about the evidence which was presented to the world through the court papers screamed "this is Dada at its best" - the absurdity, the whimsy, the abstract and the grotesque. Put another way, today’s politics when seen though a Dada inspired lens can throw up a very different conversation and one that makes you look at the world differently. My greatest wish in writing and developing Marcel vol I is that I would like audiences who experience the play to reconsider - if only momentarily - their thoughts on "what evolution really is".”
How important do you think experimentation is in theatre?
“Experimentation in theatre is everything. What I mean is that if you don’t experiment in theatre you'll put on a show which won’t add any experience to the reading of the script. Ok, take Hamlet as an example, If you base yourself only on the script and you don’t read the subtext of it or you don’t try to investigate the deep meaning and its relation with the world around you it remains that, a script. On the other hand when you experiment, you add collaborative layers and textures to the script you present on stage. I believe that one should work on a script only if you deeply feel the need to do it. If you put on stage Hamlet simply to do another version of Hamlet, I really won’t care and I'd prefer to stay home to read the script, if however you put on stage Hamlet because you feel the need to talk about power, or about some philosophical questions, it'll be more interesting and I'd come and visit the show!"
Marcel Vol 1: Italian Politics as a Work of Art
theSpace UK on North Bridge, Theatre 2
01 - 16 August 2014 17.40 – 18.30 (Running time: 40mins)