Agrupación Señor Serrano

Barcelona, Spain

 

Birdie

 

creation: Àlex Serrano, Pau Palacios, Ferran Dordalt
performers: Àlex Serrano, Pau Palacios and David Muñiz
dizajn svetla:Tom Bevoort
voice: Simone Milsdochter
project manager: Barbara Bloin
lighting design and video programming: Alberto Barberá
sound design and soundtrack: Roger Costa Vendrell
video creation: Vicenç Viaplana
costumes: Nuria Manzano
production assistant: Marta Baran
scientific consultant: Irene Lapuente / La Mandarina de Newton
project advisor: Víctor Molina
legal advisor: Cristina Soler
management: Art Republic
special thanks: José Palazón for the cession of the picture used in the show
duration: 60’
premiere: Grec Festival de Barcelona, 2016
production: Grec Festival de Barcelona, Agrupación Señor Serrano, Fabrique de Théâtre – Service des Arts de la Scène de la Province de Hainaut, Festival TNTTerrassa Noves Tendències, Monty Kultuurfaktorij, Festival Konfrontacje Teatraln
with the support of Cultural Office of Spain’s Embassy in Brussels, Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya, Centre International de Formation en Arts du Spectacle de Bruxelles, Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y la Música (INAEM), Institut Ramon Llullc
mini animal toys donated by: Safari Ltd.

 

Two mirages. In one: wars, droughts, massive deforestation, polluted coasts, labor exploitation, political instability, poor sanitary conditions, persecution, forced deportation, abuse of natural resources, depleted aquifers, food shortages… In the other: stocked supermarkets, safe streets, family stability, good health services, freedom, paid work, respect for human rights, welfare, recycling and renewable energies, prosperity, social mobility… And in between, flocks of birds. Thousands of migrating birds constantly drawing impossible shapes in the sky. Movement. Ceaseless movement. Birds… and beyond, planets, asteroids, raw materials, galaxies, blood, cells, weapons, atoms, electrons, advertising, quarks, ideology, fear, waste, hope. Life. Nothing in the cosmos is quiet. Stillness is a chimera. The only thing there is, is movement. If it is impossible to stop an electron, what’s the point in building fences against flocks of birds? “Birdie” is a multimedia performance with live video, objects, Hitchcock’s “The Birds” revisited, scale models, 2000 mini animals, wars, smugglers, a massive migration and three performers handling this messy world with wit, criticism and commitment with humankind.

 

When we started the project, the refugee and migrant crisis exploded in the face of the ‘civilized’ Europe and we were sucked by the vortex of the moment, the news, the videos and the feelings of anger and shame for what we were watching. Then we started to consume cultural and journalistic products that seemed to calm the anger and the shame by just adding more anger and more shame, or by directly appealing to our sense of guilt. And then we collected facts, statistics, speeches, numbers that were making us feel like we were doing the right thing. This was quiet comforting from a personal point of view, but artistically, in the end, this direct approach to the subject made us feel very empty. We felt so creatively defenceless in front of this mess, of this huge problem that we arrived to the conclusion that a direct approach to the problem wasn’t the right one for us. This is how we work: through metaphors; doing one step backwards to see the sense in the chaos; stripping the facts until we get their essence; suggesting connections between actual events, history and vintage films or fictions to create a new approach, a very personal, fresh point of view. We flee from the here and now and the rush of the news because you can find that in the TV, the newspapers or in documentaries and because we think that the pornography of the dramatic images and the direct approach to the facts activate only one kind of emotional response: rage mixed with shame and pity (all those feelings you can find in the pit of the stomach). Nevertheless, we appeal to other emotions (like compassion, persistence, hope or determination) and above all to the emotional intelligence and critical sense of the audience. We know that nowadays the situation regarding refugees and migrant people is so desperate that it seems it requires a direct and resolute approach. But this is exactly what we want to avoid. Finally, we stopped watching all those videos and pictures with which media and social networks constantly bombarded us because we couldn’t think clearly, we couldn’t see what was lying behind, and we started to think on a different approach, something less direct, less filled with anger, shame and fear, and more with humanity.

 

Founded by Àlex Serrano in Barcelona in 2006, Agrupación Señor Serrano is a theatre company that creates original productions based on stories drawn from contemporary times. The company uses the richness of innovative and vintage tools to extend the boundaries of its theater. Based on creative collaborations, Señor Serrano’s productions blend stage performance, text, video, sound, and scale models to stage stories about discordant aspects of today’s human experience. The company present original creations and tour internationally. The company has received support and recognition from various important institutions in Spain. Agrupación Señor Serrano has been awarded with the Silver Lion 2015 from the Venice Biennale.

 
 

Masters on the simulation of the simulation!
© El País
Puppeteers of the digital age, they manipulate on real-time video, scale models, projections, sounds… and some new resources such as some fascinating light beams. It is a complex staging gear that they dominate to perfection.
© El Periódico de Cataluña
The surprising Catalan company is one of those creative phenomena that are changing the face of the contemporary theatre scene. With a brilliant invention, “Birdie” establishes a parallel between a famous film, Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, and the shot of a photographer where some immigrants are bypassing the fence of a golf course, in front of the indifference of the golf players: the migration of peoples, and those of birds, are moved by the same irrepressible impulse of life, the fear that arouse around them is due to equally obscure and irrational feelings. Rarely – believe me – I‘ve seen the theme of migration addressed in a key so moving.
© Il Sole 24 Ore