This powerful performance fuses dance, film, music and lighting around the concept of collective catharsis through live music . Created and performed by Pablo Esbert, with audiovisuals by Federico Vladimir, the show touches down for 3 exclusive nights at Sala Hiroshima from the 6th-8th May.
Esbert is not of a star-struck disposition, admitting that the only star who has ever truly inspired him is David Bowie. “We all create a persona based on what others project on us,” he reflects. “One day we hit a crisis – we don’t recognise ourselves and look for another ideal that reflects this new part of our journey.”
Identity is created through a constant negotiation with other people and with situations that often go far beyond our expectations. Cue a deliciously surreal storyline about a peaceful race of choirgirls destroyed by alien invaders, leaving just two survivors. Bravely stepping forward into the evolution of their species they now face a reality that includes sex and death, not to mention an epic techno soundtrack.
Esbert shares that the project began two years ago with an investigation into how music can catalyse a collective and ecstatic experience, typically facilitated by a pop star or DJ with somewhat shamanic characteristics. In fact, it’s nothing less than a contemporary mythology with much in common with the archetypes and myths of other cultures, as explored by writers such as Jung and Campbell.
“People can project their most intimate desires onto the stories and bodies of these characters, that’s why they are so often connected with sexuality or a supposed freedom, as well as their fears,” suggests Esbert.
Bright stage lights all point to the star. He punches the air, his arm marking time with the powerful rave music. Flamboyant costumes, strong and agile movements, a self-assured gaze in firmly set eyes. A surge of adrenaline sweeps through the audience. The lights go out and his shoulders drop as his offstage persona washes back, like the ebb of the tide against the shore.
We tend to think of a star as someone who faces a crowd of ten thousand, all singing his words and repeating his actions like robots, yet there’s another side to the story. The gestures may be identical, but each individual is elaborating and re-contextualising their own interpretation, grounding it in their own personal narrative and experience. This holographic aspect which speaks of the universal and personal takes unexpected twists throughout the performance, evoking laughter, awe and tenderness against a constantly mutating backdrop of rave music, lazers, lighting, and video clips.
Did Esbert discover anything unexpected through this project? “Yes, plenty. On a personal level it was a very enriching journey as we invited many people to participate, and one of them was Federico Vladimir who is now my partner. He created the videoclips which are an integral part of the show, as well as a film which was produced as part of the project.” The film shows the making of the performance, but it also tells their story of falling in love. “I never expected that to happen,” smiles Esbert.
Does this mean he discover that he’s the star? “Well, we’re all the star,” he specifies. The star is just a tool through which we can make sense of our own experiences and inner narratives, which has always been the function of myths. It also belongs to the person who is mirrored, and that’s why the character is called “Introducing the Star” and not simply “The Star.” The character is constantly introducing the possibility of becoming “the star,” but never fully embracing it. It’s nothing less than an invitation to everyone to construct their own history.