The passage of time is “practically an obsession” for the Argentinian director and playwright Mariano Pensotti. It is also the guiding thread of the show Los años, which arrives this weekend at the Temporada Alta festival. The proposal divides the stage in two, a more common resource in cinema, to simultaneously explain the life of an architect in two specific periods: the year 2020, when he is 30 years old, and the year 2050, when he is 60. And to this duality is joined by a third leg, which is a documentary he made when he was young collecting the life of a boy who lives alone in a depressed neighborhood of Buenos Aires. With this approach, Pensotti addresses expectations, memory, utopias and reunions.
30-year-old Manuel and 60-year-old Manuel live together on stage. In between, three decades have passed. Los años is about the expectations of the future and the recreation of memory. Its director and playwright explains that it is a “quite peculiar” work because, unlike other proposals (some of which also went through Temporada Alta), it leaves behind the “multitude of small stories” to focus on a alone and in a linear way: “He is a character in two different moments of his life”.
And another peculiarity is that he “thinks about the idea of the future”. Pensotti himself acknowledges that perhaps it is because he gave birth to the work during the pandemic, when it seemed that “there would be no future”: “The idea of thinking about what a person transforms into over time, the future of the cities we live in and how the present will be remembered from the future. It’s one of the concepts that obsess me.” A first version, before the impact of covid-19, placed Manuel from the 60s to the present day, but the final version places the architect at 30 years old in 2020 and, therefore, the 60-year-old character lives in 2050.
The scenography is divided in two and you can see “the young and the old” at the same time, and a third element is added to it all: a documentary that the architect made when he was 30. As Pensotti has explained, the protagonist I had the idea of doing a report on the buildings in Buenos Aires that are “deformed” copies of European buildings, somewhat with this “failed” idea of building Argentina as a “utopia”. In the process, however, he finds a boy alone, without family, and living in a semi-abandoned building in a very poor part of the city: “He starts following him, tries to help him and ends up making this documentary about the boy , instead of on the buildings».
30 years later, the architect returns to Buenos Aires and tries to find out what happened to that boy. Fragments of the documentary are also shown on stage with the aim that the spectators can act as “editors” and give meaning to everything they are seeing on stage: the protagonist as a young person, as an adult and the dialogue with the projection.