Dystopia Poster
Dystopia, by Juan Pablo Mendiola (2016)

"I know what you need. A gentle sway. A little push to get you moving.”

A fragment of an unfinished room, in the middle of nowhere. A Ford Escort from '84 on the road, at night, without a final destination. The exit of a karaoke bar. Three spaces, three stories that intersect to construct a puzzle formed by only two characters. We delve into an emotional labyrinth where memory, reality, and fiction are in constant struggle. Our characters are also under construction. What do you do when you believe you live in a present that does not belong to you?

We embark on a journey in search of an ideal reality. In the words of its author, "the show demonstrates our need to construct a parallel reality when everything around us is falling apart, when our present seems like a dystopian future of our past."

A story about the fear of making decisions and the need to do so for something to change. The girl of your dreams escapes and you decide to do nothing.
Over and over again.

DYSTOPIA delves into the search for a unique language where dramaturgy, dance, live cinema, and video mapping intersect to shape this scenic puzzle with a surprising ending.

Show with text in Spanish, with possibility of English surtitles

playwriting / direction / video design
Juan Pablo Mendiola
performers
Cristina Fernández Pintado / Àngel Fígols
choreography
Cristina Fernández Pintado
direction assistant
Joan Ballester
music / sound design
Damián Sánchez
set design
Los Reyes del Mambo
costume design / makeup
María Almudéver

lighting design
Manuel Conde
motion graphics
José Ábalos / Laura Cuello
video system design / programming
Manuel Conde
audiovisual technicians on tour
Manuel Conde / Juan Pablo Mendiola
poster / program design
Assad Kassab
photography
Jordi Pla
video recording
José Ábalos / Laura Cuello

national distribution
A+, soluciones culturales
production design
Margarita Burbano
production
PanicMap
supported by
Las Naves - Espai d’Innovació i Creació 
IVC - Institut valencià de Cultura
INAEM - Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes
Àrea de Cultura - Ajuntament d'Alboraia
Ajuntament de València
aknowledgments
Blanca Torres / Flavio Burbano / Ana Campos

  Festivals and fairs

  • MADFeria 2017

  • Escena Abierta Burgos 2017

  Awards and Honors

  • Finalista Premio AAPV ’17 - Mejor Interpretación Femenina (Cristina Fernández)

Reviews

Mendiola creates a show where theater, technology, and choreography unite to search for new forms of expression. The result is often of a surprising beauty, akin to a piece of video art. That wall of the house that cracks and peels, that head that becomes multiple, her dance over those math equations projected with light, or the painting by Dalí ("A girl looking at the sea") that mutates and transforms. Mendiola doesn't use these resources in a formalist manner but as a means to talk about our instability. And, naturally, to point out the aesthetics that can express it, a quantum aesthetic that seems to be one of the languages of our time.

(…)The interpretive work demanded by this device is substantial, and both Cristina Fernández and Àngel Fígols rise to the challenge. This means there is a physical and mental emptying, a tension that is very well resolved by both actors. In Mendiola, technology and theater are one, especially because he knows that technology, through the sublimation of the imaginary (science is also part of the imagination, as is the case in the best fictions of our time) questions culturally institutionalized ideas of time, space, identity, or reality. A powerful proposal.

Óscar Brox
(Revista Détour)

With "Dystopia," Mendiola and PanicMap have created a small theatrical show to reflect on the plasticity of the Self, its limits, and its contradictions, in a contemporary world accustomed to finding in technology the best medium to express any kind of thought, from the most significant to the most trivial.

From this cognitive challenge, so dear to metanarrative experiments, a performance is born that uses tools and new formats in an intuitive and restrained manner, giving the audience the authority to discuss the limits and context of this world of repetitions, gaps, and anxiety in which the characters are immersed. It's a journey to the depths of the mind where it's the dancing bodies and the chained words that shed some light on the path.

Juan Pablo Mendiola has not only written a daring and intelligent text but has also directed a coherent and extremely precise production, exact in its execution. That is, he plays with elements and media with absolute mastery, assembling images with words and body language.

The show functions as a performance that amazes with the magic it conveys. The projections intertwine with reality, creating spatial and scenographic illusions that engage in a dialogue with the concepts of space/time that serve as a guiding thread.

From this perspective, "Dystopia" proposes the eternal reflection of theater from Aristotle to the present. The author delves into the proposals of Einstein and Stephen Hawking, the theories of relativity, and black holes from a philosophical and social standpoint. The memories about memories, and these memories about other memories – to infinity –, represent the confusion or confluence between what has happened, the future, and reality.

The human mind harbors a sublime complexity that leads us to analyze everything we cannot understand. In Juan Pablo Mendiola's production, "Dystopia," the protagonist believes that the life he is immersed in is nothing but a reality parallel to another existence that unfolds in a completely different manner. Or not; or perhaps there are common points between the two, and he finds himself trapped right at that spot where he is unable to discern which moments are real and which have been altered by his memory.

(...) Through video mapping (by Manuel Conde), for example, the space is given form or, on the contrary, it is stripped of any semblance of logic. Also, the live video images (the scenes of the car journey, for example) contribute to the production the sensation of witnessing a dual reality. Cristina Fernández and Angel Fígols are wonderful and navigate with equal success through the different languages presented on stage. There are times when, through dance (the choreography is by Fernández), they truly transform into another person. A more than suggestive proposal that challenges the spectator's rationality.

Vanesa Martínez Montesinos
(afandeplan.com)

Through dramaturgy, technology, dance, and deliberately cinematic resources, they immerse us in a loop where the protagonist tries to construct an ideal reality, believing it to be as easy as rewinding a tape and recording over it in a new attempt.

[…] This dystopia doesn't speak of the consequences of projecting utopian societies, but of the construction of the future of an individual who tries to repair a present shattered to pieces.

The use of technology by the director is exceptional because his priority is not just for it to be a visual experience - which it is - but because he makes it a powerful tool at the service of creativity and emotion. Mendiola manages to integrate these resources as a very notable part of the delightfully disordered and uncompassed amalgam that is his text.

And the feeling that remains at the end is that the director has known very well what to tell with words, what to tell with the body, and what to tell with the support of technology. I'm going to insist and say it again: the use of video mapping in Dystopia is impressive, both visually and narratively.

J. Vicente Peiró
(Las Provincias)

Cristina Fernández and Àngel Fígols, with their gestures, words, movement, and singing, along with the help of Damián Sánchez (music and sound space) and Manuel Conde (lighting and video mapping), construct a labyrinth (or several) of memories, emotions, sensations; a world of fragmented dreams and desires, of vagueness, doubts, reiterations, and uncertain detours, culminating in an unexpected goal. But let's not reveal the surprising ending.

When Àngel Fígols and Cristina Fernández step onto the stage, the magnetic force of the first encounter of the characters in this dystopia begins to envelop the audience, quite early on, like a spiral, drawing us into the fiction of the physical and mental contact of these characters' emotional environments. From that moment, the narrative is woven and interpreted with converging and diverging paradoxes through the resources of words, dance, light, music, objects, costumes, live cinema, and video mapping, so that we feel the different emotional states in our skin and bones as a scenic truth.

The dramaturgy and direction of Juan Pablo Mendiola are syncretic, as it could not be otherwise to face the communication between such diverse artistic languages, although for him this complexity might be the natural habitat from which to offer us his theater, and I say this considering his extensive training as an actor, author, director, and mastery of lighting and technology in stage creation, a field he traverses like few others.

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