Two Men, a Bench, and a Radio: Hermes Gaido on Un Poyo Rojo
Hermes Gaido is the artistic director of Un Poyo Rojo, a non-verbal theatrical work that uses movement to explore different relationships between two men. Meeting in a locker room, the Argentinian performers Alfonso Barón and Luciano Rosso interact and communicate entirely without dialogue. The duo draws on a wide range of movements to express different emotional possibilities, incorporating elements of dance, sport, and theater. After a decade of performances throughout Latin America, Un Poyo Rojo makes it’s U.S. premiere September 19–21 in Philadelphia for the 2019 Fringe Festival. FringeArts talked to Hermes Gaido in May of 2019 about this piece’s themes and continuing evolution.
FringeArts: What inspired Un Poyo Rojo?
Hermes Gaido: The desire to work with friends. At that time Luciano Rosso, Nicolas Poggi, and I lived together in the same house in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
FringeArts: How has the company and performance evolved over the years?
Hermes Gaido: It was created in 2008 and the premiere was in 2009. After two years of doing the show, Nicolas decided to move to another country, and we had to find a replacement. We saw Alfonso Barón on stage and decided to include him in the project.
The show has been running for ten years, with more than a thousand presentations, so it has undoubtedly evolved. The bodies, the physical possibilities, and the radio propose different things each time, and I’ve watched every performance from the first day until today and make continuous adjustments, which makes this a completely handmade work.
At this moment we are working on a new creation and we are still inspired by the same things … working with friends.
FringeArts: How would you translate “Un Poyo Rojo” into English? Are there hidden meanings beyond the literal translation?
Hermes Gaido: The title literally translates as “a red rooster,” but it is also a play on the surnames of Rosso and Poggi, the first performers. After choosing the name, we incorporated cockfights into the piece. You’ll have to watch it to see the relationship between the name and the performance.
FringeArts: What themes or ideas are you exploring in the piece?
Hermes Gaido: Sport, dance, theater, music, sexuality, humor, physical, and spiritual possibilities.
FringeArts: The piece seems packed with different movement styles. How do the varied styles contribute to the ideas and themes you explore?
Hermes Gaido: We practiced a lot of sports: like rugby and swimming, we learned different styles and techniques of dance, music, and of course, theater. It’s inevitable to put all that we learned and experienced on stage. It’s our nature.
FringeArts: What would you like the audience to take away from the performance?
Hermes Gaido: We would like people to leave the venue wanting to do things. People come out to see it and tell us that they want to dance, or create a play, or have sex with their partner, or go back to watch cartoons. We like that people leave moved in some way or another because everyone sees and interprets different things when they see the piece.
— Introductory text by Seth Boyce
What: Un Poyo Rojo
When: September 19–21, 2019
Where: Christ Church Neighborhood House
Created by Un Poyo Rojo
Photo by Ishka Michocka (featured), Paola Evelina (above), Alejandro Ferrer (featured and below)