False Spectacle

artistic disasters, let's have them!

Falso Espetáculo [False Spectacle] has three performers placing themselves in situations of admitting failure, error, and inadequacy. Their concern is with “not knowing” on stage, i.e., with artistic catastrophe, the outlandish status of a body that intends to dance and act rather than a body supposed to be ready to do spectacular stuff. Their concern is with a kind of body that internalizes a certain helplessness or weakness, sham or insinuation that is itself ironic might, worldview, state of being. Artists are often terrified of accepting their own limits. However, depending on the gaze, these limits may be of considerable more interest than the so-called “presentable”. “Speak in the name of absolute incompetence,” as Gilles Deleuze puts it. Speaking in the name of absolute incompetence, here, to minimally disrupt the burden of that is given, of stability formatted, of artistic stereotypes. Make breaches for silhouettes, possible or impossible, true or false, optimistic or pessimistic, that may be open for an instant perhaps to experiment, visual-artistic freedoms, or to Spinoza’s question: “What can a body do?”

False Spectacle is a conceptual exercise that attempts to blur dichotomies and pose aesthetic reflections about life’s ambiguity and complexity. “False Spectacle” for the title turns out to be a sort of trap: in the course of the play, true and false are framed in a different setting of ambiguity. In this production, theater and dance are treated meta-linguistically in their specificities, a theater that analyzes its own assumptions and does the same for dance. The means of organizing this information on stage, however, relates closely to performance and its radical extremes, self-irony and investigation of language.

Creation, concept, direction, writing, sound design: Elisa Ohtake
Performance: Emerson Meneses, Ricardo Oliveira, Elisa Ohtake
Part in video: Sheila Mello
Set design: Elisa Ohtake and Cesar Rezende
Set construction: Mateus Nanci
Light and sound operator: Ricardo Gelli
Production: Elisa Ohtake and Escritório das Artes
Photos: João Caldas and Lenise Pinheiro


“I had heard from friends that this was a real find in performance. And delightful it was, indeed. False Spectacle is intelligent, fun, audacious. It is always on the verge of inconsistency, rejecting spectacle but dodging all the prat falls or “artistic disasters” that performance itself sets up. As mentioned, it swings from impossible to possible and back. Playful but not at all naive, it knows what it is doing by playing on real and false in ‘everything’.”
Nelson de Sá – Cacilda Theater Blog

False Spectacle is a self-assumed bluff in the Futurist or Dada tradition of disruption. Like Duchamp taking a urinal to be displayed at a museum, Ohtake has the candor of children showing off to visitors, exposed to all ridicule; those who least expect it will find her intelligence contagious.”
Sergio Salvia Coelho - Folha de S. Paulo

“Celebration of uncertainty” as its creator Elisa Ohtake says, or paean to precariousness, False Spectacle is a fine example of the opportunities open to the performing arts in this post-modern age. Turning away from the Enlightenment and from Cartesian determinism, our own everyday bankruptcy may be confronted without intellectual shame or existential fear. False Spectacle's three performers seem to be proclaiming “We are fallible, thank God!” – and taking an almost sensual delight in doing so.”
Sebastião Milaré - Anta Profana (electronic review)

“A forceful and competent discussion of issues usually posed by thinkers interested in explaining the complexity of life, such as Spinoza, Prigogine or Deleuze. (..) The audacious proposition of perceiving that we live in an ‘in- between’ state of total simultaneity between joyful doubt and hellish uncertainty. Each deliberate intonation, gesture or movement weaves a succession of surprises. Perhaps the greatest of them is that such complex issues have been so seductively organized.”
Helena Katz - O Estado de S. Paulo