Who’s who? It’s a question that runs throughout Los que pierden las alas (Those who lose their wings), an intriguing and ultimately haunting duet created and performed by Ricardo Millor and Miguel Ángel Fernández. From the outset, the musical score – as turbulent and suggestive as the soundtrack for a ghost story – establishes a mood of mystery. Millor ripples conjuror’s fingers, and Fernandez unfurls like an apparition. At first, you think Millor might be some animated puppet – he flops hands or head as Fernández swings him from side to side. But they keep switching roles: here, Millor becomes the upper hand and Fernández the puppet; there, Fernández take the lead again, hoisting Millor across his shoulders, or guiding him forwards gently – but inexorably.
At first, this undecidability seems to impede our understanding – what are they to each other? Why do they back away from some unseen terror, or mask each other’s faces? Why do their fingers fidget as if pulsing with anxiety? – but ultimately, such ambiguities become the work’s strongest theme. Millor places Fernández in various poses – hands on chin, arms akimbo, mouth agape – then tries them out himself. And all at once, Fernández comes to evoke a flood of possible yet undefined figures: puppet, model, son; mirror-image; a fantasised self, or a remembered one. That makes the final moment especially potent. Covering Fernández with a black bin bag, Millor puts his arms around him, as if only by obscuring this other presence can he finally embrace him. But in one last switch of roles, Fernández embraces him back – and Millor is enveloped by darkness.