Yo En El Futuro (Me in the Future)

The performance began as we entered the room of a small theater in Buenos Aires. In the spotlight, a frail old woman with a full white hairpiece and antiquated gown plays a familiar tune on the piano. Once the audience is fully seated, a projection screen is revealed, setting the scene for the multimedia performance that is to occur within the walls of this humble, less than 100 person occupancy, independent theater.

On stage during most of the performance we see three children, three teenagers and three elderly, all representing the same three people at different stages of their lives. The characters at staggered by age, wearing similar attire and the projection screen behind them is filled with home videos throughout the play. Different variations of the same simple gestures occur both on live on stage and on the screen. Repetition confuses the past with the present with the future.

The interactivity between the real-life actors on stage and their video selves on screen hold equal weight; dialogue plays little to no importance. It seems that the actors were less interested in presenting themselves to the audience as they are in interacting with each other (before an audience) in their past, present, and future forms.

The old couple slowly motions for the children to watch the teenage replicas on the screen.  The teenagers would enter the stage, all mimicking their own moves on the screen precisely.  Passing the cigarette from the old man to the teenager, the boy motions as if he were smoking a cigarette as well. The audience smiles. The projection on the screen zooms out from the scene, taking the same images further back, repeating until what seems like forever.

A frame within a frame within a frame takes us backwards through the past to the present, were I now sit. I remember just how strange it felt, to be a member of the audience feeling like merely another layer in the frame beyond the one we see.

Yo En El Futuro (Me in the Future) lies somewhere between a performance and a play, and leaves the audience caught in that space. The simple plot addresses complex concepts such as what it means to grow old, be bound to the past, and how this affects the present, and how we remember, modify, and forget.

The performance will continue playing at El Camarin de Las Musas Theatre in Buenos Aires until December 12, 2010.  It toured extensively in Europe, but has not yet made its debut in the US.  Director Federico León has also directed films such as Estrellas (Stars) in 2007, and Todo Juntos (All Together) in 2002.

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