Sunday, November 13

Cuttings 35 - Marlango

I was in Madrid this weekend and some friends took me to see a group thats doing very well in spain at the moment called Marlango. It was fantastic research for this project!

The venue was a big theatre and the show really functioned like a piece of theatre - all the elements.. the lighting had been set for each song- colour filters and spots and everything, the singer was wearing a corset and huge black skirt which was almost like a costume, there was no set such- each member of the band was quite spread out from each other on the stage, but a big curtain a the back that changed colours with the lights, and in the last song, four mirrors were turned on poles at the back of the stage, a candle burning in front of each, and the effect was very eerie and very theatrical..
This made the structure of the concert like a piece of episodic theatre - each song was a little play almost, complete with lighting and sound and acting [i'll get to this] and then in between songs the mood was completely broken, the house lights were sometimes turned up, the singer and pianist would talk to the audience in a completely untheatrical way, the audience would shout things back and sometimes a little conversation woudl start.. i didnt understand everything cause half was in spanish, but i know they were saying its hard to play in a concert hall when there family and friends were there, addressing very honest problems, talking about each other's personalities.. and then a song would start and the very intimate 'we are being ourselves' feel would dissapear and a new piece of theatre would begin.

The singer of the band in an actress called Leonor Watling (the girl who is in a coma in Almodovar's 'Talk to Her') and I was very aware of this. In continuity with the structure of the concert, she seemed to physically get into character when each song began, pacing up and down in time to the music - and when the songs ended it seemed to take her a while to come out of it. When she did though, she completely undercut her own stage presence (and she was very good and performing, playing the possessed-arty singer, or playing the rockstar, depending on the song) and talked in a very shy voice, laughing a lot, very shy.. it was a really strange performance as a whole.

After the show we went to a bar and I was lucky enough to be able to talk to the singer and ask her some questions.. tough questions! I asked her whether her process when singing and acting was different, and when she thought she was being more truthful..
She said that the two were completely different for her - interestingly (and this may be a translation problem though..) she used the word 'lying'. She said she is lying in both, but when she is singing it is much stronger and emotional - when she is acting, it is a 'little lie that i know i can come out of in a moment'.. And a point I had never considered before: 'When you are acting, it is someone else's lie, the director tells you to do exactly this or that.. when I am singing I can lie however I want..'. Very interesting. My friend, who is also a singer/songwriter, said she disagreed, that when she sings she is not lying at all - that when she is talking to people she is always presenting this image, but when she is on stage its completely honest and she is really herself. How amazingly relevant. We were all kind of drunk and i wish i remember more of the conversation, but those were the main golden moments...!