My Circuit in Six Acts
During Fuorisalone 2023, Theatre and Opera Director Fabio Cherstich was enlisted to animate Michael Anastassiades’ My Circuit at the Flos Project Space on Corso Monforte, working closely with the designer and Flos to bring the lighting to life through movement and sound. Here, Cherstich tells us about his experience conceiving the performance, whose combination of poetry and technical skill was captured by Mattia Greghi's photography.
Michael told me that the set-up would include six scenes with minimalist furnishings specially designed by him. These would be presented in the space with as many compositions of lights in variations that would completely transform the luminous showcase, and with it, the story of a domestic environment that is never realistic but rather only suggested by the layout, as Michael put it.
Each act showed a different domestic environment: a large table surrounded by chairs, a stylized version of a living area, a sleeping area, while one act showed only the lamps installed in the space, without furnishings. An armchair, a sofa, a stylized carpet, a screen. Cylindrical volumes at various heights serving as tables. Essential and refined objects defined by the taste that has always distinguished the work of Michael Anastasiades.
I don't want anything markedly theatrical: From the texts to the scenes, nothing should be melodramatic or excessive
Michael said, a very clear indication of research on his part. I immediately thought it might be interesting to see how the six environments could be inhabited in a pure and essential form through the work of a group of performers that would inhabit the space. Few props and a sequence of concrete actions in which the different position of the furnishing elements and of the light in the space changes the dynamics of the performers and the sense of their actions.
Every day, the performers arrived in the space an hour before the start of the act and received a sequence of actions related to the objects available on that specific day. The instructions included: operate the metronome, change the rhythm of the metronome, play chess, drink milk, rest, lie down, measure time with an hourglass. Jump, relax, dance to a song played with headphones. Record a dream and listen to it again, look outside through the windows. Observe the audience with binoculars. Hug a partner, sleep, take polaroids for yourself and for the public. Breathe the plants, point to an imaginary constellation on the ceiling. Draw the My Circuit line in a notebook, or point to it with your finger. Draw the space. Describe the lights in a low voice as you look at them. Sing a song related to your childhood. These are just some of the actions in the score, ranging from the most elementary to the most poetic and extravagant.