Mariano Pensotti / Grupo Marea
Simon Frank, a Pole of Jewish origin, arrived to the small town of Sivori, in Argentina, in 1962. He was the only one of his family to survive the Nazi camps and he was deeply affected by it. A few years after arriving he began to build a strange structure in his field, a scenographic reconstruction of the house where he lived in Poland. He did not build it to live in it. But to represent something. A play. He invited the neighbors to see it.
The play, a monologue performed by himself, recounted his life before the war, using the reconstruction of his house in Warsaw as a set. Everyone who went was moved by the story. He began to dedicate his time and money to building other sets, all very realistic and larger each time, with the aim of representing his play. The field was populated with scenery reminiscent of places in Warsaw. As a sort of a big film set. Little by little, at Simon’s request, the neighbors began to participate in it. He was incorporating the inhabitants of the town in different roles of people linked to his own past, he wrote scenes, dialogues.
Participating in the play was transforming the lives of the inhabitants of Sivori. Initially it was just an eccentric hobby, but at the behest of its creator they began to face it with increasing seriousness and intensity. During the year each one had their usual job, they lived their routine lives largely linked to the agricultural production of the area, but during the week where the play was represented everything was transformed.
But one day in early 2005, federal police arrested the Pole, who was then a very old man. The truth about his life was very different to what he has been representing.
In early 2019, Walid Mansour, a theater director based in Europe, began investigating the story. In 2020 he went to Argentina with the aim of doing a play about it. To carry it out, he manages to bring to the stage five inhabitants of Sivori who performed in Frank’s play, so that they narrate and re-enact their experiences and see to what extent their lives were affected by it. Walid Mansour himself is present on stage, reflecting on his investigation, his trip to Argentina and how ultimately that unfolded something buried on his own past.
In “La Obra” , a project with baroque characteristics that finds the traces of the violence from the past in the present, Mansour creates, precisely, a play about the play.
Text & Direction: Mariano Pensotti
Cast: Rami Fadel Khalaf, Alejandra Flechner, Diego Velázquez, Susana Pampin, Horacio Acosta, Pablo Seijo
Musician: Julián Rodríguez Rona
Set & Costume Design: Mariana Tirantte
Music: Diego Vainer
Artistic Production: Florencia Wasser
Lights: David Seldes
Video: Martin Borini
Direction Assistance: Juan Francisco Reato
Dramaturg: Aljoscha Begrich
Script & Direction: Mariano Pensotti
Art Direction: Mariana Tirantte
General Production: Florencia Wasser
Cinematography / DOP: Soledad Rodriguez
Camera Assistance: Maria Eugenia Brigante
Gaffer: Eugenia Gargano
Direction Assistance & Edition: Ignacio Ragone
General Assitance: Juan Francisco Reato
Art team: Lara Stilstein, Tatiana Mladineo, Luli Peralta
La Obra is co-produced by Wiener Festwochen, Athens Epidaurus Festival, Festival D’ Automne à Paris, Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatro d’Europa and Printemps des Comediéns Montpellier
Collaboration: Grand Theatre Groningen
Premiere June 2023, Wiener Festwochen