Citing the influence of physicist Stephen Hawking and the author Jorge Luis Borges, and using Bernard Herrmann’s musical score from the Hitchcock film Vertigo for its scene changes, 4D Òptic by the Argentine playwright and director Javier Daulte marks an exciting trip into 2019.
This “restoration, not revival,” of Daulte’s 2004 play is absolutely in the spirit of its influencers: an audacious and entertaining piece that melds the small and banal, with the vast and expansive. It tells the story of a team of Catalan and Spanish scientists who, when creating a machine to help the Japanese fishing industry, accidentally discover a parallel universe: its similarities, discrepancies and exchanges can be subtle and innocuous, but also major and dangerous…
Access to this world is through an optical shift produced by a flash of light: a timely reflection on perception as a simple trick of the mind’s eye that, in the case of differing opinions for example, can have devastating consequences. The collision of the absurd/rational parallel worlds of 4D Òptic threatens to destroy them both.
The play’s staging in the Biblioteca de Catalunya theatre uses minimum resources to maximum effect. The 15th century space is the ideal setting for the historic Urkel mansion of the ‘other world’. Here the actors (the same cast as the 2004 production) double their roles to play a band of cronies dressed up as wealthy patrons who are planning a terrible crime. It is up to their parallel scientists to stop them.
Simple and sophisticated, funny and serious, 4D Òptic is imperative viewing. Walking the line between fact and fiction, it reflects on the science of human relationships, uniting the audience through creativity and cosmology in a way that Professor Hawking would have loved.
Teatre Biblioteca de Catalunya
until January 13th
in Catalan and Spanish