October 25, 2020

‘Fariña’ is theater in the Matadero


There is the mayor who needs black money on the eve of the campaign. The mother who heard about a very expensive operation in Madrid to make her sick child walk. There is the party committee that wants to bring the Fume Orchestra to the town (their greatest hits live are part of the plot on the Matadero stage). And there is, of course, the smuggler as a benefactor who solves all conflicts – serious ones and also small ones – pulling wads of bills. For the needy, for the Civil Guard, for the councilor of the Xunta …

The former mayor of O Grove sentenced to pay 16,000 euros as compensation for the kidnapping of 'Fariña'

The former mayor of O Grove sentenced to pay 16,000 euros as compensation for the kidnapping of ‘Fariña’

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But especially in the theatrical version of Farina there is something that cannot be touched but it is breathed throughout almost two hours of performance: the atmosphere of one of those nameless towns of the Rías Baixas in the 80s and 90s, where the bales are unloaded and from there begins spin the wheel of the circular economy. As the five actors sing on stage: the narco dinner that covers the restaurant’s expenses for the month and allows the owner to shop at the bazaar and to go to the hairdresser and the hairdresser to the dealer and the dealer …

During the rap to the rhythm of muiñeira, which is actually a regueifa —Centuries of popular songs and social satire based on stanzas that draw on the Galician-Portuguese oral tradition, why wouldn’t one of them dedicate themselves to drug trafficking? the usual transporters who raise rates with cocaine and even the owner of the bank, talking to the people. “The money you bring me, goes in black and comes out white.” “Then take what you want, you can start now, there is a lot to bleach, go putting washing machines.” […] “Who was going to tell us, when we were fishermen, that we were now going to be living like gentlemen,” thunder the voices of the cast among bagpipes and a torrential rain of five thousand pesetas bills.

“What a bad thing to eat is given to us”, summarizes those years the chorus composed by Novedades Carminha that emerges several times between the cast numbers.

The detractors of the work of Nacho Carretero, author of the best-selling book on Galician drug trafficking, reproach that the journalist from A Coruña does not discover anything new. That all those plots were more or less known. It is not true because in the trial – which a judge ordered to seize following the complaint of an aggrieved smuggler until another court put sanity in the lawsuit – there is own investigation and a work of several years. But if it still were, which it is not, what sin is there in compiling those episodes of history? In contextualizing them to tell the time of those other dark years on the Galician coast. And not because more tons of drugs entered than now, but because then the drug traffickers were worshiped by neighbors and young people who took their parents’ three-month salary for a night of unloading. Meanwhile, politics, and even the village priest, did not ask where the money had come from to restore the chapel.

Farina is, for now, a best seller, a successful television series, a comic and now also a play that fills where it passes. If the stories were there to be told, Carretero seems to have found the formula to succeed in very different formats.

Because the Farina del teatro, adapted by the journalist himself and José Luis Prieto, under the direction of Tito Asorey, is not the book or the series, although both can be recognized in some sections of the show. There are no boat chases, no Sito Miñanco with his shirt open surrounded by women, no Ferraris circulating on unpaved roads.

Any pretentious spectator who has not lived through that era can look for winks to the grotesque Valle-Inclán, as if the adventures in real life of that group of drug traffickers who became famous billionaires and alternated with power until they were confused with him, did not exceed many times to the most distorted fiction.

Along with the famous drug lords of those years, the drug mothers campaign on the stage of the Spanish, shaking the gates of the pazos – in those Galician Falcon Crest that everyone imagined where they came from – to destroy so many complicities in that vicious circle. There are some judges and prosecutors in search of fame with their beige trench coats, their helicopter landings to stop narcos in pajamas and their newspaper covers. And the boys’ communions are back, where Winston used to bat the guests in wicker baskets (it seems that childhood is not so far when we remember it). “Too bad vai ter.”

Halfway through the show, even the transvestite drugs themselves emerge into characters: cocaine is a strident Colombian vedette who competes on the black market with the laughter of a Moroccan man who plays hashish. And the black shadow of the horse that devastates an entire generation, like the one in the photo of the Vilanova de Arousa football team that won the tournament of the patron saint festivities and was disgracing almost all its members.

Farina in the theater it is an hour and a half long of excesses, laughter, regional dances and very fat dramas, as those decades were. And also, as then, in the play they stand out: the actresses María Vázquez and Cris Iglesias embroider each and every one of their roles. The cast of actors, Marcos Pereiro, Sergio Zearreta and Xosé Antonio Touriñán (at the same time producer and who this week is replaced by Víctor Duplá) dance, play live music and feed some of those gags that leave a frozen smile. Galicia has 1,498 kilometers of coastline, repeat the protagonists. “Everything comes in here.” They don’t say it in the past tense.

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