CONATUS, TEATRO FÍSICO Francisco Córdova & Alberto Pérez

Text by Stéphanie Janaina

We say our will to live is instinctive. This will is what makes up a body’s conatus. Conatus – Latin for “effort,” “endeavor,” – is the innate tendency of the mind to keep existing and improving so that all living things can prosper. For humans, “existence precedes essence” (Sartre), that is to say that no human nature defines individuals, it is their actions that determine who they are as well as the meaning of their lives. It is not through thought of oneself that one exists, but by making thought come to life in a concrete and coherent manner, that is how we obtain self-assurance and reason of our existence. In the performing arts, the performer think through movement and confirms his existence through his art, which is his body. He thus assures himself, by simply being, and that is what makes him be.

In Conatus, the stage co creation directed and recommended by Beto Pérez (Proyecto Itaca) and Francisco Cordova Azuela (Physical Momentum Project), aims to provide another definition to the body’s conatus. This piece is usually staged inside a black box. In the middle of the forum, a movable square structure; one could imagine seeing the platonic myth of the cave where the light only allows us to make out the shadows of the people. This structure protects the light, as if it were a precious object, and at the same time, it makes us bear witness to the duality of man that exists in all of us. Through a real time exhibition of images, different environments are inhabited where concrete actions are taking place. This piece is a study of BEING, as is everything, “with or without God,” in the great void of the universe. The body ceases to be defined, it appears and disappears with the minimum effort in an environment that is not auspicious to move around in.

There are no characters, no drama, only an idea that builds a moment, a place, a body, light. The effort this construction has comes from through, from the need to be liberated from an established and learned identity. To understand oneself it is necessary to trust the other: both creators learn to trust each other’s looks, turning a play into a poetic piece to indulge, to strengthen the human body and the light it creates within absolute darkness.

In this chiaroscuro, there is a peaceful atmosphere. Through the evolution of these images, complicity is created between the spectator and the creator. It’s not about understanding what is happening in front of us, it’s only an occurrence, and what one sees is what will come to light. As a spectator, I learn to play with what I am, with what I have, with what I feel in my own body, both what I like and dislike… to face and live these feelings that my own flesh provokes, my skin, my shapes. This is how one finds that we do not lack anything, what we lack is desire. Once I finish breathing, I have completed the mission of my existence, and finally, I am free to do anything, or nothing at all.      

Stéphanie Janaina is a contemporary dancer in the Contemporary Dance Production Center (CEPRODAC).


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