imaginary theatre: voice to the word, theatre to the world. miryam gartzia   I  antzerkiola imaginarioa We met up with the three driving forces behind Antzerkiola Imaginarioa: the actor and director “Ander Lipus” Iñigo Ibarra, the writer Jon Gerediaga and the musician Aitor Agiriano. We spoke to them about the trajectory of their theatre group. They owe their creativity to the words on the stage, and they certainly know they way around this giant world of theatre. Creation and Laboratories
Iñigo “Antzerkiola Imaginarioa was created at a time of pain. We set up two laboratories: one for actors and another one for musicians. I directed the first one, the one for actors and Aitor looked after the other one. The separation between both areas was very clear then, as happens today also. Maybe it’s something that happens in the world of the spectacle as a norm. That said, some projects come about from cooperation between the two area like the audio about Oteiza, “Hutsaren Hotsa”. Jon, Aitor and myself worked together on that one. Some projects never get off the ground because we don’t have much chance of distribution.”
Jon “Each project is different. Sometimes it’s the director’s idea, other times it’s more of a collective thing. That said, we always try and make sure that the original idea does the rounds with everybody, so that everybody involved gets their say and input.”
Aitor “We work depending on our needs: “Jon, write a text about this,” or “Aitor, make up some music around this.”
Iñigo “We all know what a biology or physics laboratory is, but very few people know what a theatre laboratory. What is clear is that when we talk about the scenic arts or drama laboratories, it’s sometime that removes itself from the public domain, it closes in on itself. That is as regards investigation into theatre. What I mean is that our theatre is not just about acting, there’s lighting, music, a poetic text, gesticulation… there are many things we have to look at in depth. This is down to a certain current sensibility we have towards contemporary trends. The procedures are internal and quite laid back. These later take on different forms: as a spectacle or as a rhythm or whatever form we decide to give them. As regards Basque theatre, there are quite a few things that are not in the audience’s hands, that are not the show itself. These could be the acting, the attrezzo, the materials, the characteristics of the audio... That’s why we’ve opened a window on internet to explain all of this, to explain why we suddenly turn to the theatre of the absurd, what type of texts we use and we’re after, what aesthetic and ethical theories we follow. We are a young group, we just about keeping our small boat afloat. We have no intentions of becoming a Titanic – we’d like to keep things as they are."

Independent Theatre and Basque Drama
Iñigo "We're not an independent group because we do receive public funding and we do ask for the use of different places that belong to the state. We also do the rounds of culture centres and Gaztetxes (Squatted Youth Clubs). We try to use a different type of spaces. People regard us as independent or vanguard theatre but that definition corresponds more to post-modernity or that type of spectacle, because in this society we need a commercial type of theatre, vanguard theatre, etc... we also prefer to do it in a particular language.
Jon "We're a bilingual company. We've done plays in both Basque and Spanish. Olivetti was bilingual, and later on we've done stuff that has been entirely in Basque, like Yuri Sam or "La niña que sueña...", which was totally in Spanish. It's a natural thing for us. In the Basque Country, we know some kind of meta-Basque. That is to say, we use Basque to say something in Basque for the sake of it. Our aim is to show that you can use Basque to speak about things that have absolutely nothing to do with the Basque Country. Every language has a certain amount of autonomy, you can say important, poetic and interesting things in both Spanish and Basque.
Aitor "We're talking about a universal language. Theatre, like music, has that universal quality to it. Theatre is universal."

Theatre and Utopia
Iñigo "We have always had support groups like "P.C.-es de colores" or Laressistens from Bilbo. In addition, theatre is growing. That might lead to problems. But there is also the utopia that everybody can make a living out of it. That's our utopia, to keep everything on the same level. And it's clear that the boat could sink at any given moment and we'd have to make another boat. That..."
Jon "... or drown."

The Spectators
Iñigo "They appreciate us more in Donostia than in Bilbo. We perform there regularly. There's something good about Donostia at the moment. The audience for theatre is growing. That's really important. Our aim is to find a new audience, a minority maybe, but a specialized one."

Your own language and the black stage
Jon "Apart from Yuri Sam, all the other plays came about through collaborative work between different writers; with Peru C. Saban, with Unai Garate and ultimately with Na Gomes. We've been friends for ages and we get on really well together. That said, I don't separate my work from my everyday life. I write because I need to. That's why I don't find literature beautiful, literature means life to me and life should flow through literary texts."
"It's not my dream to publish a book. I'd much rather see my work on the stage. Seeing my work being acted out causes a much more striking impression. You know, to hear the words. The idea is to create my own language, but if I think I have managed that at the age of 29..."
Iñigo "I'm not a director, even though I've had to do that type of work lately. I'm an actor and I have the following two objectives: act and research. What I most enjoy is to get stuck into research when I'm not acting. Once I've we've put on about 40 performances I start giving my best, the rest is all just pure accident. I don't want a boss over me and I certainly don't want to be anybody's boss. I'm an "Au revoire..." director but it's a luxury to me because there is a huge team and amount of teamwork behind everything. And it's thanks to that teamwork that we've managed to get where we are at right now."