Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

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'Purgatorio' Review

Source: Enrique Centeno.
Found By: Translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
Categories: Purgatorio
Many thanks to Ollie and Rio, with assistance from Zoe, for translating the review from the theatre critic Enrique Centeno:


Hatred and Forgiveness

Rehearsals - October 2011
Rehearsals - October 2011
Image Andrés de Gabriel.
© Teatro Español.
It´s already close to the end when we understand we are not before a Purgatorio Mental Sanatorium. In his spotless consulting room, a typical doctor, white coat, notepad in hand, will begin to question the usual patient. He is taking notes during the continuous interrogation, becoming increasingly demanding, violent and accusing. Hammering, key by key, until reaching the highest pitch of tension. As we will see repeatedly, it´s the method used for the confession of errors or sins of hatred. The one who endures it is defending herself and recounting her inner lives. Later, the unexpected will begin.

Ariel Dorfman always writes his plays in an almost exclusively textual manner. Furthermore, on enclosed stages. He is an author who always enriches the language: its rhythms, its decisive moments, its literary richness, and perhaps the most difficult, to sustain only two characters. In the aforementioned first scene, she - no name is mentioned, not even to the individuals referred to - will end up defeated in spite of her defence. Is it true she still keeps her rage intact? Maybe justifying her savagery? It´s he who perhaps seeks revenge, hatred and mental cruelty.

There are no windows here, nor any air beyond the walls. A [place with] No Exit (Sartre), but which is observed: the public, around three sides of the stage, watches it from very close up. Dorfman must be truly proud to rely on this cast. Here is Elias, one of the great actresses of our stage; I was so close to her this time that, yet again, I was left astounded. The well-known film actor Viggo Mortensen does a magnificent piece of work, which starts from the moment he pretends to be the psychologist. He has a warm voice and a wealth of technique; he takes advantage of his Argentinian speech, especially in this false character, just as he does in the later ones.

The author makes us wait for him to turn the tables: he has them leave through the fixed entrance, and scarcely a few moments later, Elias appears, transformed into a psychologist, together with the agreed upon patient, Mortensen. Now it will be she who pulls on the boxing gloves for the mental battle, unrelenting, blow after blow, in her questions about his injustices, his invading belligerence. Until she wears him down, cornered and exhausted now, crouched against the wall. The battle will not end here, the role reversal repeating itself, as was agreed upon, with this sort of Medea who confesses to the murder of her two children.

It actually was a couple seeking their own recovery. Dorfman wants to forgive the dictatorships, the crimes in his own land as well as the ones in Central Europe with a Purgatorio of sins. He didn´t do it in his previous social theatre, and now, as a sensitive man, he prefers forgiveness, achieving rehabilitation, absolution and reconciliation. We would like to see this play in his Chile and Argentina, or in Bosnia and Serbia.

Fascinating text which Josep María Mestres has directed brilliantly to achieve passion for more than an hour and a half of this face to face confrontation.

© Enrique Centeno. Images © Teatro Español.

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Viggo At Stockholm Film Festival via Skype

Source: Stockholm Film Festival.
Found By: Chrissie and mums
Thanks to Chrissie and mums for the find.

Viggo made an appearance at the Stockhom Film Festival via Skype to promote A Dangerous Method. Click here to see more pictures at the Stockholm Film Festival site.

© 2011 Stockholm Film Festival . Images © Carla Orrego Veliz.

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'Purgatorio' Video

Found By: Dom
Categories: Purgatorio
Our thanks to Dom for bringing us this great video of interviews with the actors and author and excerpts of the play.

Mi reino por un caballo - 14/11/11

Rehearsals - October 2011
Rehearsals - October 2011
Image Andrés de Gabriel.
© Teatro Español.

Viggo Mortensen y Carme Elías protagonizan el estreno mundial en castellano de Purgatorio del autor chileno Ariel Dorfman. Las naves que el Teatro Español de Madrid tiene en el Matadero de Madrid acogen esta obra que, de alguna forma, coquetea con el mito de Medea. Hombre y mujer, Jasón y Medea quizá, encerrados en un más allá tienen que pasar una serie de pruebas hasta que se perdonen el uno al otro. Sólo si son capaces, podrán comenzar una nueva vida.

El grupo Els comediants, siempre interesado en temas universales, nos habla esta vez de la muerte en su Perséfone. Esta obra, que se representa en el teatro María Guerrero de Madrid, nos muestra los mitos, leyendas y creencias que en nuestra cultura se generaron alrededor de la muerte.

Ha comenzado Madrid en danza. El crítico Roger Salas destaca los espectáculos más relevantes: New Work by Èdouard Lock de la compañía canadiense La La La Human Steps, Far del coreógrafo británico Wayne MacGregor, I rimasti de la italiana Simona Bucci y Tris tras de la española Monica Runde.

Click here for the video. It's the first part of the program and it lasts around 8'-9' minutes after the presentation.

© Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española 2011. Images © Teatro Español.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Categories: Media Quotable Viggo

Words - Viggo's head must be full of them at the moment as he interprets Dorfman's compelling and complex play in Madrid. We all know how important words have always been in Viggo's creative life. He runs a publishing company, he writes whenever he can, filling his journals. He collects poems and quotes. Words even appear in his paintings, sometimes coming to the fore, sometimes scrubbed over. Single, strange words often catch his eye and appear in his photos in unusual places. If anyone is in love with, words, Viggo is.

I value words. I am curious about the way words sound, how they draw pictures and provoke unexpected emotional reactions A single disconnected word or phrase can stop you cold, give you a new world to live in.

Introduction to Best American Nonrequired Reading 2004
By Viggo Mortensen
The Best American Nonrequired Reading (ed. Dave Eggers)

"I have written since I was a child. At six or seven, I did my first little stories. I talked about animals, kid things. At about 15, I started with poetry. I always write. In airplanes, in bed, in the bathtub."

Viggo Mortensen
"Writing and acting are like being a kid again"
By Eduardo Bejuk
Gente Magazine - translated by Zooey
September 2009

"I've always liked to write stories and poems," says Mortensen. "I learned watching other people do it and by trial and error, just like acting."

Could Viggo Mortensen Be The Perfect Man?
By Nathan Cooper & Mike Glynn
23 December 2003

Before becoming an actor, he was a published poet, and he still carries a notebook wherever he goes 'just in case a moment presents itself to be stolen.'

The Appealingly Weird World of Viggo Mortensen
By Amy Wallace
March 2006

'Words were everywhere I looked, filling dreams, giving me names for everything. It was all I could do to keep up with them, catch a few as they drifted through me, fell now and then from clouds, from my eyes to the table, onto my lap or became tangled in horses' manes. Most of the words got away, as they usually will, but at night I regularly managed to gather them in bunches.'

Viggo Mortensen
Introduction to Best American Non-Required Reading,
Houghton Mifflin, 2004

Did you ever read or write a sentence without a thought for the origin or reason of any of the words from first to last, simply because you felt like doing so? Don't you snatch words impulsively or intuitively from road signs, songs, newspapers, magazines, television shows, Web sites, overheard sotto voce disagreements - from your own decaying, hodgepodge record of all that happens? Individual words and phrases can stand alone and satisfy a reader in even the longest story, regardless of context. When we read willingly, we can get lost in the beauty and rhythm of words before we look for any satisfaction in the significance of their ordering.

Viggo Mortensen
Introduction to Best American Non-Required Reading,
Houghton Mifflin, 2004

"I stay with the words of Federico García Lorca, who said that `Poetry is the union of two words that you never supposed should get together and that form something of a mystery.´ Poetry doesn´t have adepts; it has lovers".

Viggo Goes Poetic
By Natalia Torres - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
Día a Día
3 December 2010

'I'm always looking at things that I write and going 'what can I take out of that and [make] it still work'. And then, years later... I might look at that poem again and go, 'You know, I can still take out two words.'

Viggo Mortensen
The Fire That Fuels an Artist's Heart
by Carnell
Carpe Noctem magazine #15, 1999

'His words are simple and vast...'

Best books: Recent Forgeries ... chosen by Neil LaBute
The Week
3 April 2009

...a real travel notebook; an illustrated journal that tries to perpetuate life and experience, emotion and memory intact, in order to leave no gap to the inevitable final touches that the memory makes use of. His words are emotive, and the image strengthens even more that desperate attempt to retain what he has experienced.

Review of Linger
Linger: The Traveller's Journal
By María Dolores García - translated by Paddy
Diario de León
27 August 2006

How much of your life is in your stories and poems?

Like all writers, I write many different things, but you always create using your own life, even if everything is imaginary on the page. As much as you invent a totally distinct world, there's always something of yourself, even if you don't realize it.

Viggo Mortensen - All of Us are Mestizos
by Carlos Shilling - translated by Ollie, Remolina, Rio and Zoe
November 2010

'A lot of people that were here tonight said something about their writing, but were too embarrassed by it. And I'd ask them about what they write and encourage them to pursue it. People sometimes seem to feel that poetry is just this little thing you do privately, like your diary. But in reality it's something that you can work at in many ways, that you can share, that you can take as far as you like.'

Viggo Mortensen at the Midnight Special reading
A Religious Moment Where Something Might Happen
Scott Thill
Morphizm 2002

"Patches of recorded feeling vanished, irretrievable. There is no point in trying to remember and rebuild the word houses, word hills, word dams, or word skeletons like some sort of archeology project. There may be pieces I recall or inadvertently retell, but every word will be new, will go somewhere, will die no matter what I might do to tame or hold it."

Viggo Mortensen on his lost writings
Introduction to Best American Non-Required Reading
Houghton Mifflin, 2004

As always, you will find all previous Quotables here in our Webpages.

© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe . Images © Estudios Picasso / Origen Producciones.

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Mortensen and Elías open in the Spanish "Purgatorio" to public acclaim

Source: EFE/Concha Barrigós.
Found By: Translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
Many thanks to Ollie, Rio and Zoe for translating this review at EFE.
Having the person who has hurt you most in your life at your mercy and being at the mercy of the person you have hurt the most, alternating torment in an endless cycle, elevates the Purgatorio in which Viggo Mortensen and Carmen Elías have been, successfully, imprisoned tonight in the world premiere of Ariel Dorfman's play.

This mirada oblicua* challenge, undertaken "poetically" at the Matadero del Español, was complicated by the difficulty of the text, a "flowering hell" halfway between a bolerazo** and Sartre, and by the vicissitudes suffered by the play since it was announced that it would open back in 2009, and which kept being postponed by various problems.

The actress who initially was going to star in it, Ariadna Gil, sitting between the author and the film director Agustín Díaz-Yanes, has been a privileged witness to "the tour de force" performance offered by Elías and Mortensen, the New Yorker raised in Buenos Aires, who occasionally failed to find "le mot juste."

The Aragorn of Lord of the Rings and Capitán Alatriste has managed to solve the omissions, we don't know if as a result of bilingualism or his own memory, with such stage presence, especially after the second scene, that it made it impossible to believe that 23 years have already passed since he set foot in a theatre.

But presence, presence, the presence of Elías (Barcelona 1951) who confronted the difficulty of a play in which a man and a woman can't stop seriously wounding themselves while they try to end their torture on terrain that, when it's not slippery, is dangerous.

With emotional power, the actress has managed to resolve the most difficult passage of the whole play, that of the memory of her children's murder, from which she must emerge "as a soul" and not as an executioner.

Mortensen (1958) and Elías, directed by Josep Mestres, fold and unfold time, on a set occupied only by a table, two chairs and a cot, to ask themselves over and over if forgiveness is possible and if love is capable of surviving any tragedy.

Dorfman doesn't want to be heterodox in his usage of purgatory, a place of expiation to which go only the souls of those who have not committed a mortal sin and although he does not put a name to his characters, he gives all of the clues [necessary] to know that they are mythological and that he is dealing with Jason, he of suicide and the golden fleece, and Medea, the "witch" and murderer of her children.

Dressed in contemporary clothing reminiscent of straitjackets, which alternates with the use of doctor's coats, the actors have acquitted themselves brilliantly in the "oldest institution there is," that is to say, in Dorfman's words, purgatory, the "middle ground" where bodies are husks waiting to leave that wrapping to be reincarnated.

For a long time, the Argentinian author had fantasized about the idea of a pair of characters in the afterlife, confronting and interrogating each other without knowing each other's identity and who, in addition, would live the tragedy of the conquered, of those who, by satisfying the other, end up betraying their own.

Diabolical and full of hiding places and traps for the actors, who have to repeat "in the other's skin," the text they just heard, but turning it completely around, the play goes on just like real life does, with the thought that, at any moment, this psychological thriller about forgiveness could slip through their hands.

The audience, among whom was the writer Javier Marías but not Emma Suárez, the actress who was to substitute for Gil a year ago, appreciated the effort and with their applause and "bravos" forced the actors, author, director and stage crew to come out and bow on several occasions .

* Translators' note: Mirada obliqua: literally, a sideways way of looking at something, often used in reference to literature, art, cinema, etc. to express a concept that includes looking at things in a different way and from other perspective. The writer José Saramago says (translation by Rio), "The mirada oblicua is that which is crossed by error, doubt, and suspicion; it's that which puts into question what it is that one is looking at or which makes one think about the possibility of another response to the established response, to think that there are no definitive truths."

** Translators' note: bolerazo (also bolero): a form of melodic, slow-tempo Latin music, with a theme of love.

© EFE/Concha Barrigós.

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Last edited: 21 October 2018 11:18:58