Writing Realness: Berioska Ipinza

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The day was very cold but it did not impact the large audience that came to view luciana achugar’s Otro Teatro: The Pleasure Project.

I entered the space and couldn’t stop looking at its architecture: high ceilings with some fluorescent lights on, ropes, a metal shutter, stage curtains, exposed brick.

The audience sat along the edges of this space, forming a loose circle.

As more and more people came to join, the circle lost its shape.

Bottles of whiskey were passed around.

Some people drank, some people didn’t.

But the smell was in the air.

The atmosphere was relaxed, communal.

Suddenly, a performer in the audience started to move and moan.

Another repeatedly slammed against a metal shutter, creating a loud and intense sound.

The rhythm was constant with a monotone beat.

Like a mantra.

My attention was drawn to some performers who were crawling around on the floor, moaning, burping…

A woman next to me started moving viscerally, sensually.

I observed this primal display for a while.

It seemed like anyone could be a part of Otro Teatro, so I was very alert.

A few people from the audience walked around to see the movements from different perspectives; others stayed in their places.

Abruptly, the lights went out.

There we were, all together in the darkness.

I could hear strange sounds and felt more people moving around.

Someone crawled almost on top of me.

The darkness provoked uncertainty.

Someone accidentally spilled a bottle of whiskey on the floor.

The smell was intense.

The lights came on again.

This was a relief.

Now I could see some naked performers, two of them with long, messy hair that almost covered their faces.

They stomped the floor, jumped up and down and gradually opened the stage curtain.

To my surprise, I was on stage throughout the entire performance.

When the curtains were finally open, I could see the seats for the audience on the other side.

I went down to sit in the audience so that I could view things from another perspective.

Here, I was able to see some of the performers in sleeping gowns and the others naked.

They began walking around and some of them started climbing on top of the seats.

Their bodies were subversive: naked bodies portraying not just freedom but the search for the utopian body.

A body released of worry about conventionalism, prejudgment or taboo.

One of the performers went out to the lobby and said, “It’s cold out here!”

I understood it as and end.


Berioska Ipinza is a performer and creative producer originally from Chile who loves writing and contemporary dance. She is a co-founder and director of LaMicro Theater.

(a note from CLR: these Writing Realness pieces came out of TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, a Movement Research writing workshop I taught in conjunction with American Realness 2015)

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