Fuenteovejuna in a supermarket and other twists and turns of the Uruguayan theater


Together with Sergio Blanco, both are the scene creators with the most international projection in Uruguay. Marianella Morena’s productions that mix theatrical tradition with performance and musical have had great acceptance both in Europe and America. Gabriel Calderón is one of the most cared, published and sought-after Latin American authors in Europe. Both present in Cádiz montages that deal with women. But the theatrical approach could not be more dissimilar.


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The Uruguayan playwright and director premieres Anne against death, a drama that brings us closer to the battle of a woman against the disappearance of her sick son, and does so from the hand of three of the greats of the Uruguayan theater: Gabriela Iribarren, Marisa Bentancur and María Mendive. Marianella Morena, from her most political, feminist and denouncing theater, premieres in Spain her review of the Sourceovejuna by Lope de Vega that the Uruguayan has set in a supermarket.

It was planned that Calderón’s work would also be present at the Temporada Alta festival in Girona and the Madrid Autumn Festival. It has not been. And it will be only in Cádiz where the new work of this author, who has so many followers in our country, can be seen in only two functions. This Saturday and Sunday comes to the Sala La Lechera this small play that premiered before the pandemic in Montevideo and which was one of the great successes when the theater was able to return. More than fifty performances with the poster of no tickets for a play in which Gabriela Iribarren plays a woman who sees how she has to act as a drug trafficking mule to pay for the medical treatment of her sick son. A total drama that has put the Uruguayan public in the pocket.



Gabriel Calderón has just triumphed in Spain with Story of a wild boar or something by Ricardo, work that he directed and wrote and that has just won the Max Award for best actor, which went to Joan Carreras. But his relationship with Spain is long. Since in 2004 he came to our country on a scholarship to take a course, his relationship with our country has not stopped. Thus, for example, it was able to premiere in our country from My doll, the first work with which he triumphed in his country and which was on the bill for more than three years, up to one of his most acclaimed productions in America and Europe that he staged in Spain with the National Theater of Catalonia, Ex: let the artists explode. After a theater more focused on reviewing the political memory of his country through a new free dramaturgy, where Calderón was able to mix disappeared from the dictatorship with extraterrestrial abductions, the author seems to have changed course towards a more chamber theater: “I wanted to see if I could do something more conventional, a dialogue theater based basically on emotion, I wanted to know if I didn’t do that theater because as I told myself I didn’t like it or because I really didn’t know how to do it,” Calderón tells this newspaper from Montevideo.

For this, Calderón relies on three actresses from the independent theater of her country with more than thirty years of experience, three beloved ladies of the Uruguayan theater: “They are three locomotives, three forces of nature. It is a new experience also for me to work with three such strong actresses. My mission as a director was to keep all that energy from overflowing, “he says. An energy that in Cádiz will have to be different. A week ago the actress Gabriela Iribarren suffered appendicitis for which she was operated. The medical recommendations were to rest, not to act: “But there is no way to make them come back. Obviously they are not going to do the work as it is because it is of a very disturbing intensity. They are going to explain to the public what happened, they have a conviction in the theater so strong that they are convinced that they will be able to explain the situation to the public and that the play, although with a different energy, is given, “Calderón explains that this week he has had telematic meetings to try to guide changes and ways .



The challenge of the play for Calderón was how to take such a borderline dialogue, such as that of a mother saying goodbye to her dying son, to the theater. A dialogue to which it is difficult to do justice: “the theater does not come to do justice but at the same time it is that tension that defines the drama. Elaborating this play I began to think that it was not a dialogue that was difficult, that there were many dialogues difficult throughout that journey as a mother and that perhaps the woman had spent her strength on others and, when the final one arrived, that of the death of her son, she did so with the remains that life had left her. I imagined all the difficult dialogues that woman had, with a judge, a policeman, a dealer… The work shows that incident where sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses, “explains Calderón about this montage with concise scenography, in which two of the actresses play more than a dozen characters without changing costumes, almost with the same voice. , and in which just changing the tone is passed from one character to another: “there is no composition of the character, I wanted the construction to occur in the mind of the viewer, not represent it. What Shakespeare said in the foreword to Henry V: make up for our insufficiency with your imagination. I like that, “concludes Calderón.

Attempted judicial censorship in a case of sexual exploitation of minors

Marianella Morena comes from winning a theatrical and judicial battle in Uruguay. On July 29 he was finally able to premiere Leather dolls, a document-fiction play about Operation Ocean, a very obscure case of sexual exploitation of minors in which prominent figures from Uruguayan society were implicated. The work was on the verge of not being released because Morena refused to give the text or let the judiciary of her country see essays. “That is censorship and I was not going to allow it,” he says. The judge, under an amparo action filed by the family of one of the victims, finally dismissed the case and in an atmosphere of madness the play premiered at the Sodre Theater in Montevideo.

His combative and clearly political theater is well known in Spain where previous works of his such as Eastern Antigone (in which a chorus of twenty former prisoners of the Uruguayan civic-military dictatorship participated), or I will not give children, I will give verses, that toured all over Spain. Now, with this total premiere in Cádiz, Morena takes up a road already traveled: recovering classics and crossing them with the present. His montage on An enemy of the people of Ibsen in 2019 in which he introduced a journalistic investigation into the Norwegian’s work on the construction of a new paper mill for the UPM company in Uruguay.

I was looking for a place for ‘Fuenteovejuna’ where today exploitation and labor abuse take place and that also represents those gray, confused areas of capitalism in which abuse and violent behavior are normalized

Marianella Morena
Playwright

This time the play is a Spanish co-production where Morena has a Uruguayan actress, her right hand Mané Pérez, and actors from the Young Classics of Malaga company, a co-production in which the Teatro de la Abadía de Madrid is also involved, where It can be seen from October 21 to November 7, and the Calderón Theater in Zaragoza where it will perform on November 13 and 14. In Cádiz it will be the total premiere. “What interests me is to find in the classics the narratives of violence and its denunciation. With Lope’s work I was very interested in the fact that the tyrant is killed but not the tyranny”, Morena explains of the Spanish classic that ends with the arrival of the Catholic Monarchs who impose peace and forgive the town of Fuenteovejuna because they cannot determine a specific culprit. “It is very transferable to the real world, that is why it is located in a supermarket. I was looking for a place where today exploitation and labor abuse take place and that also represents those gray, confused areas of capitalism in which abuse and violent behavior are normalized “, explains about this work in which the Uruguayan director mixes verse, musical, and opposing performance registers such as realism or post-dramatic performance.

The supermarket, in a pirouette of marketing advanced, he decides to establish an open microphone so that the employees can say the work of Lope that they previously rehearse in the breaks. The manager of the supermarket hopes that this will increase sales. “Any strategy serves to sell, clinging to the freedom invoked by Lope or whatever, like the new right that has no fuss in trivializing struggles and concepts. What happens is that as Lope’s word enters the bodies of the workers these begin to have the courage to report, “concludes Morena, who also finished a workshop at the festival with Cadiz workers on abuse in the world of work these days. Workshop where workers said, denounced, in an open microphone their experiences.

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