When it comes to audience participation, there are two types of people: those who wave wildly in the hope of being picked; and those who stare fixedly into their lap, doing their best to disappear. If you identify with the first group, then Multitud is for you. And if you’re the second type of person? Hide.

Creator Tamara Cubas was born in in Uruguay, raised in Cuba and is now based in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo. She’s seen the work presented extensively throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. This will be her first visit to Australia.

Multitud is about the social condition of human beings, our desire to fit in, and how that plays out when we come together in a crowd. If those words don’t mean much to you, know this: the beating heart of Multitud is the 70 or so volunteer participants, who are selected to represent a diverse spectrum of ages, cultures and backgrounds. For those who never manage to get picked to go up on stage, this could well be your time.

“Everybody makes a decision to take part for different reasons; maybe someone wants to try something new, but it doesn’t matter, because when we’re together in a space, we start to build something together,” Cubas says. “It’s not about the people, but about the expectation between the people.”

Unlike traditional audience participation, which is spontaneous, in the week leading up to the show, the participants practice choreography with Cubas. It’s not traditional dance choreography, but more movements, gestures, voice, language and even the “energy”, she says. There’s both a gracefulness to those movements and yet also a precision – almost a regimented quality – giving Multitud an idiosyncratic quality.

While the individual is increasingly the focus of Western society, Multitud switches gears to celebrate the collective and what they can achieve together. The carefully timed choreography turns 70 or so people into one, working together to create flowing movement.

Multitud was first performed in Mexico several years ago in what will forever be known as PC (Pre Covid-19). But bringing the show back in what is cautiously becoming “Covid Normal” (that’s CN, by the way) brings a new context and meaning to the show, Cubas says. It’s proof yet again how art draws on life to reimagine itself. “For me, the hardest thing about the pandemic was losing the desire to be with others. It was a long time and we need to be around people again, and wake up that desire to be with others again,” she explains. “The answer, it may reveal itself.”

And what better way to help people reacclimatise than to meet and mingle with 70 strangers, or watch 70 people move in unison to create living, breathing art? Because every show is performed by a different group of people, every show has a different vibe.

“This project is about the relations that we can build together, because each person can affect the other,” Cubas says. “It doesn’t matter what your background is; it’s very interesting for me that you can have 70 people together and we can create something.”

Multitud is taking place on June 11 & 12 as part of the Rising festival at Melbourne Town Hall 90–130 Swanston Street, Melbourne. To purchase tickets and find out more about Rising, here.

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