In 2001 Motus took up its nth new work itinerary with a complex and multiform project that sets out from theatre and the experiences accumulated with previous shows and installation events and opens up to various disciplinary contexts with view to focusing decisively on the “polymorphic” nature of the group which after ten years of work and experimentation is increasingly oriented towards a method of exposition that succeeds in taking in all the richness and originality its creative processes.
ROOMS was structured as a work itinerary that was dynamic and continually “open” to new forms of collaboration and artistic involvement that went well beyond the consolidated structure of the Motus “group”.
The whole project had been conceived with view to considering ourselves the fulcrum of moments of study and work, also in tandem with the organisation of lectures, film and video screenings, workshops with architects, set designers and web graphic artists, as well as with young writers and musicians…..
A “thin red line” linked ROOMS to the Orpheus project (Motus’ last theatrical production): research into interior space, into sounds, into fragments of existence consumed within rooms, hotel or motel rooms, anonymous and disturbing Rooms, intimate and interior spaces, inhabited by people on the move, without fixed abode… “with that smell which trains leave on the hands”….
Exterior and interior, cities and fitted carpet and wallpaper and lights that don’t work and paintings in bad taste, delimited spaces, closed, empty and full of that WHITE NOISE of the air conditioning which makes the environment aseptic, alienating.
We were in Los Angeles in August 2000, wandering around the dilapidated downtown motels and hotels collecting images and sounds, as always, collecting digital shots of contrasting scenarios, city and dazzling deserts, in the suffocating August heat, engulfed by the smog and the traffic, slow as a drugged pachyderm.
We went there without knowing exactly why, seeking as always and as always finding… often finding similarities and embarrassing cases of déjà vu in connection with the low linear towns of Romagna, with the Riviera hotels, with the souvenirs of San Marino which seemed to be multiplied infinitely amid the mirrors of the Mexican shops….
How strange: you go away to get out, whereas often you go increasingly into
into what you already know!
….And when you go and shut yourself in your hotel room you could be anywhere, and you’re from nowhere, you’re there and that’s all, like in the theatre….
ROOMS grew out of this perception and out of the desire to put it “on stage”…. this time there are no references to heroes or myths, only the actors set against the artificial, destitute space of a motel…. there’s no single story but many different, bizarre and impossible stories, real, invented, stolen from the cinema or literature, all of them enclosed and narrated in a hotel room… set there, inside, with the noise from the floor above, the muffled sounds of street traffic and the neighbours’ arguments….
The “hotel room” theme is therefore a sort of guiding motif and at the same time a “container” for a series of multiple theatre and performance interventions, set both in rooms specially built for the events and in actual hotel rooms.
In fact the first work phase consisted in building a small hotel room, easy to assemble and transport, measuring about 6 x 4 metres and 2.5 metres high, with one wall in plexiglas like a great French window facing the spectatorsi.We were assisted by the architect Fabio Ferrini who did a great deal of research and written essays on hotel rooms….
This first Room was a kind of prototype to be inhabited by various guests/actors in various situations, both theatrical and performance; it was a place where several stories were experienced and mostly the relationship with time and theatrical space, that was progressively de-structured…
The same place was inhabited by characters who were different: a Room as a sort of “gym” in which to verify the stage presence of new actors and the power of certain texts and dialogues, creating a whole series of references between one story and another and giving the chance, to those who had followed the evolution of the project, of following a sort of “detective serial”.
…Whores’ rooms then, rooms of old solitaries and failed musicians, of travelling salesmen and insolvent tourists, rooms of murderers and sex maniacs, and lovers and philosophers and adolescents on the run….
Micropièces. Portraits of varied humanity and violent real life, without sparing squalor and lowliness, without sparing even tiny, infinitesimal moments of poetry.
Microcosms. Moments for monologues at the mirror or random dialogues with a roommate, that other with whom you are obliged to share the space…. on the phone or at reception…. or with those about to arrive…
Infinite possible, probabilistic variations.
“…The room is invaded by the typical silence that spreads through hotels, a supervised silence, completely unnatural, spread over a layer of squeaks and gurgles, of wheels running on carpets. She’s so far away from her life. It was so easy…. She’s safe here. She could do anything she wanted, really anything. In a certain sense she’s like a newlywed who retires to her room and waits…not for her husband or some other man. Someone. Something……… She could decide to die. It’s an abstract notion, sparkling, not particularly morbid. Hotel rooms are places where people do such things, aren’t they? It’s possible – maybe even probable – that somebody, a man or a woman, put an end to their life here, in this room, on this bed. Somebody said, “I’ve had enough!” Somebody looked for the last time at these white walls, this white smooth ceiling. Going into a hotel you leave the details of your own life and enter a neutral zone, a white clean room where dying doesn’t seem so strange.”
from ” The Hours” by Michael Cunningham
More than a simple research itinerary leading to the elaboration of one single show, ROOMS was intended as a work method aimed at a re-foundation of the very relationship with the spectator and with organisational partners, thus including the organisation of lectures and exhibitions, installations, interventions in actual hotels, short films and theatre workshops… from the materials of which theatrical shows had be assembled, made up of lots of little micro-stories, slices of real life, stories written and created for ROOMS and strips of theatrical and cinema pieces situated within hotel rooms….
We drew from a very wide contemporary literary and theatrical production, mixing freely and with absolute madness our self-created situations with those moments of cult cinema, theatre and literature that we like best.
The whole job of dramaturgic weaving conisisted in collecting and examining texts by various authors which will be extrapolated and cross-stitched.
The texts will include: “Hours” by M. Cunningham, “Less than Zero” and “Glamorama” by B.E. Ellis, “Blasted” by S. Kane, “White Noise”,”Underworld”, “Great John Street” and “The Body Artist” by D.Delillo, “Splendid’s” by J. Genet, “Camere separate” (Separate Rooms) by P.V. Tondelli and various fragments from the works of H. Pinter.
Suggestions were extrapoleted from the cinema of our favourite directors: Abel Ferrara, David Lynch, Federico Fellini, Wong Kar Wai and Gus Van Sant.
In that first phase a number of people helped us to gather material: an architect for research into the structures of several hotels and studies carried out on interiors; some cinema historians to identify and put on file short films set mainly in rooms…. then scholars and students, friends of ours, to suggest literary and theatrical texts …..
Over three years Motus produced:
3 different theatrical performances: Vacancy Room, Twin Rooms, Splendid’s
2 videoinstallation, White Noise & Room
1 performance Time Seems to Pass, the World Happens
1 video Splendid’s – the Film