In 1927, in a curve of the old road that goes from La Gudiña to Verín, in the province of Orense, a man died when he fell from his car through a ravine. His name was José Fernández España, and he was an engineer who designed the layout of the southern variant – also called André Variant – of the Puebla de Sanabria-Orense railway line. After his death, this option for the train to pass through the towns of Verín, Ginzo de Limia or Allariz was ruled out, and the concession company of the works decided to undertake the route crossing the Massif Central orensano. The decision was a huge economic expense and a loss of numerous human lives, as well as a blow for those areas of Galicia that might have emerged from geographic isolation and social backwardness thanks to the railroad. To that curve that for some changed the destiny of these towns and their people, they are still called by the locals Curva del Ingeniero or Curva España. And so precisely, “Curve Spain”, is what the company Chévere has also called a theatrical show that starts from those historical events of a local nature to reflect on two much more general matters, according to its director Xesús Ron: «On the one hand , We wanted to talk about something that touched us a lot when we started to know this real episode and inquire into it, which is the fact that collective memory generates narratives that are totally autonomous from official history; on the other hand, this history of the railroad connected us with something very present, which is the issue of emptied Spain, and this in turn connected us with another very current issue that is that debate, for us quite intoxicated, between a Spain unique and a plural Spain ».
The first of the two issues that the director cites, that of collective memory, immediately captured the company’s attention because, in Ron’s words, “it is an unknown story outside that specific area of the Verín region and about which there are practically no written documents; however, everyone knows her there because it has been transmitted orally from parents to children; it is surprising that almost 100 years have passed and that, when naming the Spain Curve, everyone knows there what you are talking about». But, in addition, from the dramaturgical point of view, this collective memory is especially succulent and attractive in this case because the inhabitants of those places continue to question, as their parents or grandparents did when the events occurred, that the death of the Railway engineer was really the result of an accident. «They believe they ran out of train because someone, motivated by dark interests, ordered the engineer to be killed who had to approve that route», explains Ron. And perhaps, according to the research of the company itself in its documentation work, they are not entirely undercut. «The only certainty is that the death of the engineer occurs at the moment in which it is being decided where the train should pass, and that with that dead, the possibility of passing through Verin is given. These are two events that people link there, but we obviously cannot dare to relate them. It is true that there are many unknowns, gaps, lost evidence, missing files and open doors to make the doubt reasonable. The hypothesis that the people there are considering is that they sent him to kill the town chiefs, who were mainly engaged in wine and who saw a double threat on the train: on the one hand, it allowed the arrival of wine from Castile to these lands, which was more abundant and cheaper; on the other hand, the construction of the railroad itself could cause workers to leave the field to try their luck in an industry that paid its workers much more money.
As if that were not enough, there are many other plot ramifications about the different interests that could converge in the decision to take the railroad through one place or another, in the adjudication of the works that were finally undertaken and in the real role that could be playing there the engineer Fernández España; but they are details that the company asks us, of course, that we do not reveal to the reader before we see the function. With a material that starts from real events and that already has everything in itself as an authentic thriller, the company Chévere –which will feature this time on stage with the actors Patricia de Lorenzo, Miguel de Lira, Lucía Estévez and Leticia T. Blanco– He has seen it very opportune to venture, at least tangentially or apparently, in the police genre and, at the same time, in the documentary theater. “Actually there is a very subtle irony – Ron clarifies – about the documentary theater itself and about the police genre itself; we make a mix of theater and live cinema and even “manufacture” some document as if it were real; but, eye, without trying to fool anyone. It is obviously not real!
Where: Theaters del Canal, Negra (Cea Bermúdez street, 1. Madrid).
When: from 4 to 15 demarzo.
How much: From 15 euros.