Real Self: a show to dare to be someone else, behind a mask

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A device to feel. This is how the director defines it Javier Drucaroff proposal real self, an immersive show that will be presented at the City Convention Center from June 2nd. Masks, coveralls and gloves; mapping, animations and surround music are part of an experience in which each participant in the audience will be camouflaged in total anonymity.

-How much play, how much show and how much therapeutic practice does “Real Self” have?

-It is the sum of many experiences during my life. I travel a lot and I usually do it alone, as a backpacker, and so I had one of the best sensations, that of total freedom, without worrying about the gaze of others. To this I have added other areas of my life such as projections, mapping, music. I am passionate about mixing art and technology and ceremonial as well. Everything is united in this show.

Javier Drucaroff, director of Real Self, a traveler, who combines his experiences in "Real Self".  Photo: Emmanuel Fernandez

Javier Drucaroff, director of Real Self, a traveler, who combines his experiences in “Real Self”. Photo: Emmanuel Fernandez

-Why the idea of ​​the mask and anonymity that this experience proposes?

-It’s like going to a place where no one knows you and from that anonymity you allow yourself to be real, play for a while to be someone other than what you are everyday. Says Oscar Wilde, “Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth“. This experience puts it into practice. And herein lies the power of anonymity, at least during the 75 minutes that the show lasts.

a globetrotter

Drucaroff has worked on this type of experience in the United States, South Africa, India, England and several Latin American countries, as well as designing structures for Virtual Reality experiences. He has also won various awards at Sundance, the Venice Biennale and the National Art Festival in South Africa.

This show, which he has been working on for three years, has the overall coordination of Barby Esses, original music by Dylan Lerner and production by Ozono Producciones and Preludio Producciones.

The development of this idea was delayed by the pandemic, but at the same time it also served to deepen some concepts. “With imprisonment, the the need of people to find each other in a real and not virtual wayand it reinforced the idea of ​​collective play that the proposal has, “he says.

-Does the mask work as a protection or rather as something playful?

– It works like this together. Each spectator is given an airtight kit of suit, mask, gloves, ankle boots, all disposable, which he then takes home. It is interesting to think about the fact that wearing a mask can help us take off othersmore subtle, with which we live daily.

-In this sense, the mask and the romper all unite.

-During the experience there is no distinction of sex or age, we are all the same. We do not even use the voice because it would be another possibility of recognition. And you leave thinking about things that you only thought had happened to you, and you control everything you have in common with others. We are much more alike than we think, and this experience makes you see it.

Javier Drucaroff, his proposal in Real Self is that of an immersive experience in which you are a participant and an audience at the same time.  Photo: Emmanuel Fernandez.

Javier Drucaroff, his proposal in Real Self is that of an immersive experience in which you are a participant and an audience at the same time. Photo: Emmanuel Fernandez.

how is the show

In a space of almost 500 square meters and 14 meters high, the participants will be surrounded by visual and sound animations and by voices that will guide them during the experience. “Everything is projected onto the walls, the floor and the moving bodies. It is very minimalist and at the same time very developed and designed to accompany the different situations and emotions that arise”.

-In this experience, are the participants actors and audience at the same time?

– Yes, there is interaction between the participants, all the time they are asked to ask themselves if they want to make the proposal, or continue with the dynamic. The roles are blurred, the spectator as such does not exist but is a participant; there is a text, that of the voiceover, but it is completed with the action of each participant, which is individual and collective at the same time.

-If one participates in such an experience, it is assumed that he is predisposed but even so he can regret it or not feel intimidated, what happens in those cases?

-It is good to clarify it it is not compulsive at all. You can just keep watching and it’s very cool and you can enjoy that role too. It depends on the desire of each at each moment. The main goal is to discover yourself through what you feel and want to do during the time you are in.

In this game between the individual and the collective of the proposal, Drucaroff explains: “What changes a lot is also, if someone decides to come alone or with their partner or with a friend, beyond the fact that there is no recognizes from the mask, knowing that there is someone known in the group or not changes the experience “.

In every function of real self 150 people will participate. “We did several rehearsals, with 35, 45, 65 participants and now we have reached 150. I did about 12 performances as a rehearsal. I did it with my sister, with my partner, with my mother, on several occasions and I did. Nobody knows you are behind that mask and you can’t identify anyone else in there.

appealing to emotions

-This experience seems to appeal above all to the emotional.

-It is what you are looking for, to generate emotions and sensations. It does not try to make you feel anything in particular, but the experience moves you into something, and it will depend on each what it causes. It is a device to feel. The primitive of meeting strangers unites to share an experience with something more moderncrossed by technology.

-In the test functions, how was the reaction of the participants?

-People leave elated. This is another thing I wanted to demonstrate, that it is not necessary to consume anything to enter a state of ecstasy. If you see a moment of the experience, you say “they consumed something “ and what they consumed is “feel a lot”.

Javier Drucaroff defines his show "Real Self" as "a device for hearing" Photo: Emmanuel Fernández.

Javier Drucaroff defines his show “Real Self” as “a device for hearing” Photo: Emmanuel Fernández.

-In other words, the experience is an invitation to break down social barriers, self-censorship and for those who are a little “paranoid” or very shy, is it advisable?

– That’s what assistants are for, therapists, in case anyone needs to chat for a moment. The same if someone tries to pass. But it didn’t happen, there is some respect once we put on the suit, because we are all in the same situation. Most of those who attended have left thankful for the chance, it is very therapeutic and cathartic.

-Is that effect particularly sought after?

-It is not meant to be therapy, but is born from the game. I insist that no one is forcing you to do anything here, it is simply letting other energies move by participating or just observing. Also, We advise not to spoil the experienceif you think it can do someone good, advise it but don’t say it.

After the performances in Buenos Aires, Drucaroff and the production team plan to take the immersive experience to other cities around the world. “With Madrid, New York and Miami there are advanced conversations. It is something universal and, at the same time, it will be interesting to see how it works in other cultures,” says the director.

-The immersive experience seems to be in fashion.

-No doubt, It is an expression that is in fashion even if it is not a genre in itself. I think to really fulfill that condition you have to take it completely, not just through sight or sound, but to be really involved in a whole that is going on. That is approached through all the senses and that moves things within you.


real self It will have functions on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, at 8:30 pm and 10:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday, at 6:30 pm, 8:30 pm and 10:30 pm at the CEC (Buenos Aires Convention Center), Av. Figueroa Alcorta 2099 (next to the Faculty of Law). Tickets: $ 3,900 (with service charge included), can be purchased on Only for people over the age of 16.


Source: Clarin

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