My Theatre: Enrique Pardo

Feature in Issue 13-1 | Spring 2001

What did you see the first time you went to the theatre?

Margot Fonteyn dancing at the National Theatre, in Lima, Peru. I was seven and fell in love with her.

What recent performance has particularly inspired you?

Genesi by Romeo Castellucci.

What productions will you never forget?

A puppet piece by a Japanese butoh master which I saw some years ago at the Dutch Puppetry Festival: a geisha at her boudoir makes herself beautiful, her lover (the puppeteer) appears, they make love amidst the kimonos. It ends with her blowing the last candle out. And Gilgamesh, by Romeo Castellucci (1990).

Which performer, alive or dead, makes you laugh the most?

Mythologist Charles Boer, professor emeritus of Connecticut University.

Who is your favourite playwright?

Heiner Müller. I was also very impressed by the recent writings of French playwright Oliver Py: at last someone who can move, dance and laugh.

Have you ever walked out of a theatre before the end of a show?

Yes, and not as often as I would have liked to.

When was the last time you cried during a performance?

I cry at the movies, not at the theatre. Cinema has taken over crying and the full-on illusion of subjective realism, liberating theatre for more complex challenges (like, for instance, crying-laughing-thinking).

Who is your favourite performer?

I say this in all humility (and as a performer): any animal.

If you could meet any theatre practitioner, alive or dead, who would it be?

Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, as imagined by today's Oxfordians. (This is a tribute to the imagination of Kristin Linklater.)

Which contemporary theatre director's work do you most admire?

Romeo Castellucci.

What does the term 'physical theatre' mean to you?

I see ‘physical theatre' today as a particularly British phenomenon: the grandchildren of Stephen Berkoff stomping about the stage, at best an anguished and poetic rebellion against literary theatre. The American version of ‘physical theatre' I see as too reverential towards Commedia dell'Arte and post-Lecoq pantomime. (Note: I would use labels other than ‘physical theatre' for the Grotowski/Odin Teatret lineage, or Kantor, or Pina Bausch: dance-theatre, image-theatre, etc.)

What would you do if you didn't work in theatre?


Enrique Pardo is the founder and co-director, with Linda Wise, of Pantheatre and of the Myth and Theatre Festival (New Orleans July 2001, Belgium 2002.) He directs and workshops ‘choreographic theatre'. His latest production is Pandora's Box, performed by Pantheatre UK at venues around Britain. Pantheatre's 20th anniversary will be marked by a symposium on choreographic theatre, 14 May to 4 June 2001 in the south of France. Visit for more details.

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