Luna Miguel lands at the theater with a sadomaso reading of Cervantes
The writer Luna Miguel has landed with a UFO in the very core of Spanish theater. Unidentified object that has perched at the headquarters of the National Classical Theater Company (CNTC), the Comedy Theater in Madrid, right next to where the Pacheca corral was in the 16th century; where the theater was born in the capital, no less. The poet has been invited by its director, Lluís Homar, to create a dialogue around the work that is now on the bill: Numancia, directed by Ana Zamora. But what began as a one-hour conference, has ended in a theatrical montage with an ambitious dramaturgical proposal that includes the symbolic power of the object, the stage action and Luna Miguel herself as an actress.
The play, for the 'theater-loving' viewer, can be somewhat staggering. Because Luna Miguel does not interpret, she is not an actress, indeed, she says a text without it passing through the body. She reads, with all the fury of a soft voice and impeccable diction, but with a defenseless body. He moves inexperiencedly around the scene, undertakes theatrical actions, but without knowing how to execute them. It is there when the viewer has to decide whether he is above all a 'theater lover' or is allowed to be rocked in this experiment by someone outside the scene.
And it is that that intimate text that Miguel tames with his voice, that text in which with a submissive collar he begins by saying "the truth is that I love asking for forgiveness", keeps his certain blades. Submission with a punk background that gradually emerges in the work, and in which the performative act of exposing oneself from not knowing gives the montage a respite to this piece that could have ended up caught between so much frame and uncontrolled theatrical wrapping.
Luna Miguel tells this newspaper that she is not very telephones, that for two days she was receiving an insistent call that she finally decided to answer. On the other side of the line was Lluís Homar, one of the great Spanish actors and director recently arrived at the CNTC who is giving the institution some other shaking. The decision to mount works from the 19th century, such as the premiere projected for this season in the main hall of The devil from Vélez de Guevara, is one of them; tradition says that you cannot go beyond the Tenorio. Another is to use the small room, the Tirso de Molina, to create a space where to rethink with greater freedom and openness of the constriction involved in mounting the authors of the Golden Age. This year, experiments like Xavier Albertí's with Caravaggio, Vermeer and Velázquez, the montage on 19th century authors (Emilia Pardo Bazán, Joaquina Vera and the letters between Matilde Ras and Caterina Albert i Paradís), or the premiere of the self-fictional conference by Uruguayan playwright Sergio Blanco are proof of this. Last season was the montage of Alberto Conejero with the creation of This particular runaway, piece that dialogued with The constant princeby Calderón de la Barca. But the movement to call Luna Miguel and give him freedom of association is a riskier action.
Luna Miguel's relationship, as she herself confesses, with the theater is that of a reader. He claims to have devoured the catalogs of publishers such as La uÑa RoTa or Contintametienes, having read everything by Angélica Liddell as if it were pure poetry. But she also confesses that she is completely unaware of the world of the scene as a spectator. Even so, Miguel decided to be a playwright, transform the written text into a scenic text (it went from having ten thousand words to barely two thousand six hundred), direct the play and act it herself. Audacity and sacrilege of which he is aware and to which he turns. "What happens when one is being humiliated, self-humiliated in this case, because I was the one who decided to get there, and how can one get out of it. Or if it is necessary to get out of that situation", he reflects.
And, in a way, she saves him by clinging to a powerful text, one that mixes genres and takes hold as the montage unfolds. Miguel transfers concepts present in Cervantes' work, such as humiliation, pain or love to a feminist and current world. If in Numantia A people sacrifices itself to dignify defeat. If a people is humiliated and abused to the point of exhaustion, Miguel transfers these concepts to the situation of women under centuries of patriarchy. "Can a woman feel liberated when she knows that she cannot be more than submitted? Will a woman ever feel liberated when she knows that she is already defeated?" The author asks. The question is not minor and goes to the neurological center of current feminism.
And it is that this writer located in the poetry called 'body poetry' had already been giving notices. With his latest book, Male poetry, in which he adopts a male heteronym, his writing has shifted. Everyday life, feminism and intimate openness are still present, but the self-testimonial is blurred, a movement that has multiplied the resonances and happily cracks the possibility of militant reading. As if Fernando Pessoa, instead of heteronyms like Bernardo Soares or Ricardo Reis, had created one called María Leitão de Oliveira. Well that. In the same way the text of this 'theatrical' piece, Tenderness and defeat (on the bill until this December 19, although it may not be represented by the convocation of stoppages between INAEM technicians), supposes another tectonic tremor in which his writing is filled with polysemic semantics that escapes reification.
The author explains that the idea that runs through this BDSM background text is inspired by the moment in Cervantes's work where a woman tries to raise a white flag. Hence the concept that will run through the entire text arises, that white flag becomes the safety word, a limit of the struggle or resistance. And the character in the play that Luna Miguel calls Tenderness declares that having a safe word would be a defeat, a controversial position in this world of #MeToo post that Luna Miguel puts in solfa: "Tenderness: that's why I never wanted to participate in the whirlwind of ' me too. 'Tenderness: I'm not saying that the hashtag not useful then. Tenderness: I am not saying that it did not mark a before and after in our way of thinking about politics and sex. Tenderness: although especially politics. Tenderness: I am not saying that his strength did not free me from some ghosts. Tenderness: but it is that among so much stark truth, meanwhile, expose, tell it, name the unnameable !, I ended up falling in love with my abuse. My clandestine abuse. My abuse is mine alone. My rape became a treasure. My rape is mine alone. It's not even my rapist's. No longer. Mine. For me alone ", says the text of the play.
Luna Miguel, performative, exposed to the limit in a setting of which she does not know the tools, voluntarily humiliated, tells us about a fence made of gestures and words in which she closes herself in and which on stage is represented by a waning light and an accumulation of objects - cobblestones, texts, flowers - arranged in a circle around it. But in that fence she, under sadomasochistic veils, yearns for a love in which words of security are not necessary, where the woman is saved through recognition, reparation and trust. The punk, finally, turns pink.
The work also takes flight when it revolts before so much surrounding tradition. Miguel de Cervantes: canon of our literature. Numantia: his greatest piece that transfers the classic tragedy to the Peninsula. The Comedy Theater: bourgeois jewel of the 19th century where Primo de Rivera founded the Spanish Falange. And the National Classical Theater Company: created in democratic effervescence in 1986 by Adolfo Marsillach two centuries after the British National Theater and three hundred after the French Comedie.
Cervantes, the Theater, the Company. A Spanish triad — patriarchal, we would say today; traditionalist, we said yesterday— that to this day in Spain it still has what is called "weight". And in that same theater where Echegaray, Galdós, Valle Inclán, Unamuno, the Álvarez Quintero, Benavente, Arniches, Muñoz Seca or Jardiel Poncela brothers premiered, on the stages where Lope, Calderón and Cervantes now reign, Luna Miguel begins to quote women Fundamentals: Angélica Liddell, the long shadow of Sarah Kane, the French playwright Claudine Galea, the French philosopher Simone Weil, the American poet Hilda Doolittle or the theater actress Dorothy Parker. Act of performative and testimonial appropriation in which Miguel feels more comfortable and defends with more presence.
The play concludes in an act of suffocation, once again poorly resolved - coherence must be carried to the end - and which aims to remain in a field where polysemy reigns and where joy is pain and its inverse. The question remains as to whether this good text has found its place on stage, if it has not been swallowed up by the theatrical machinery. But there is also the blessedly irresponsible act of this author who also affirms that her writing will no longer be the same after this experience, an experience in which day after day she has gone on stage to act, has faced that maximum exposure from an extremely fragile site. Powerful metaphor of another feminism that wants to be more far-reaching than the purely militant.
There is also the satisfaction of seeing the Comedy Theater attended by a millennial audience renewing so much accumulated camphor. And there remains the verification of a rapprochement between poetry, literature and the scene in the generations born from the eighties. Elena Medel's passage through the Echegaray Theater in Malaga with a monologue on Dante; Cristina Morales performing these days at the Teatro del Barrio with Katherine and his collective Iniciativa Sexual Femenina; Carla Nyman; Rodrigo G Marina or the most veteran Martí Sales with the nyamnyam collective, are good proof of this.