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What do we women artists want to talk about?

In the month of March, the world turns its gaze towards the importance of making women visible, of commemorating their resonant voices that perpetuate beyond time and discourses.

In this brief space, we give the word to them, to these great artists who share with us a little about their trajectories and perspectives in relation to the Performing Arts. How have their paths been and what do them consider important to share at this time?

Luisa Huertas (Mexico)

Luisa Huertas. Picture: Personal Archive (Facilitated by Ramón Saburit).

With a trajectory of more than 40 years, Luisa says that her path has had difficult moments but also luminous moments, full of joy, full of creativity, recognition, rigor, hard work, but that it has always been worth it to do what she enjoys the most: acting.

"I believe that through art, humanity has known the spirit of human beings from different times, perhaps with different problems, but that always revolve around the same themes: love, hate, war, the construction of peace, poverty, wealth, inequality, injustice."

She considers that "art does not provide solutions, but it allows us to reflect". One of the most important characteristics of an artist is "respect and consideration for the other, seeing the other as equal, and also understanding the difference." Being a woman in the theater means respecting herself, contributing her sensitivity, the feminine gaze, the care, the details, the rigor, the organization, the pace of work.

"We women have had to fight to make our way, to show that we have the talent to do theater and to take on any role in the world of theater. And let us always look for harmony. Harmony is achieved with notes that are very different from each other, but that together make up harmonies."

Viviana Perea (Argentina)

Viviana Perea. Picture: Guille Vargas (Facilitated by Viviana Perea).

Viviana has worked in the theater for around 25 years and comments that she continues to review speeches, working on what is happening on a day-to-day basis and feels that she still has a lot to learn. "To be able to live in art, depending on what we have chosen, to be coherent, to think and link ourselves from there, from that decision to make art a way of life."

For her, the key lies in the bonds that we create and nurture, that we do not detach ourselves from reality and that we always try to make others, minorities, social struggles and the achievements that we have as women visible.

"I really believe in the bond, in how we do theater from relationships. Theater is a purely group activity and we need to accompany the process of the other."

As a director, actress and manager of an International Women's Festival, she knows how important it is to network and share what we do. And it takes a lot of commitment, work, connection and support between everyone.

"We have to be responsible for what we communicate, for the discourses we hold, for the images we project. I always think of that spectator who goes to the theater for the first time. What do I offer to that spectator and who runs the risk of not coming back."

Angela Ribeiro (Brazil)

Angela Ribeiro. Picture: Caio Oviedo (Facilitated by Angela Ribeiro).

Angela confesses that it is always when she talks about her career that she realizes how great it is, as a woman who crossed Brazilian territory from Pará (northern Brazil) to São Paulo. She tells that she always wrote a lot in collaborative theater groups, and that later, as she wrote more alone, she found her identity as a playwright.

At the School of Dramatic Art, she began to discover her characteristics as an actress, as a creator, and among so many references, she managed to identify what was hers, legitimate, and what made her happy.

"As incredible as she may seem, we still carry the prejudices of a macho, patriarchal world, of needing validation somewhere unconscious and difficult to transform."

In the midst of everything, Angela is the mother of two children (Joaquim and Bento), and she shares with us that they are: her greatest work of art. Her children moved her gaze towards that place of maternity, of the feminine and of "how hard it is to perceive that we still need to dig our spaces with our nails".

"As an artist, my desire is to expand society's gaze, transform my concerns into poetry, into a tool for action in the world. The word cannot be just the word, it has to be action in the world."

Her constant search is to look at what she writes and see how she acts in the society in which she lives, how she becomes an element of transformation, how she raises her children to be agents of action - "understanding their upbringing and their time, but teaching them to have a human gaze also towards the feminine".

"We know what it's like to be silenced or men thinking that they have to put subtitles to what we say. We are in that transformation movement, but there are things that are still deeply rooted and only together can we make change happen."

Blanca Oteyza (Spain)

Blanca Oteyza. Picture: Javier Mantrana (Facilitated by Isabel Jerez).

Blanca is an optimist. She shares with us that her path has been exciting, and that from a very young age she began to do and form her own projects. According to her, the best thing that can happen to an actress or actor is to have her head and her creativity always busy, because the artistic fact can save you from everything.

"I believe very much in work, in the rigor of work. You must never stop. I have seen many actors and actresses with very sad lives for suffering this call that never came. There will always be many difficulties but you must not throw away the towel."

For Blanca, the most important thing is the partner, putting herself in the place of the other, in the place of the character, honesty, preserving a low ego and a lot of camaraderie. "Egos confuse us and we must bear in mind that today you are there and tomorrow you are in another place."

Whether you are a woman or a man, the important thing is that there is passion, good work, honesty, struggle, rigor and faith in what one does from the heart, so the bad times will pass, but the satisfaction of being consistent with oneself is something that you do not like. no one will give it

For her, "when the illusion dies, the actor and the actress dry up. They begin to imitate, they become lazy, they stop investigating, they stop being excited, then one begins to wither." And she defends that artists do not work with lies, we work from the inside out to transmit it and to tell it, it is the truth.

"You can achieve it, you can live life as you want to live it because it is yours and you can share it with whoever you want, with whomever you love and with whomever you choose. I do not believe in individualism. I am a soul of company, a soul of believing in the love, a soul to share. I am an actress and when it comes to going on stage, what I look for is that: sharing."

Karin Valecillos (Venezuela)

Karin Valecillos. Picture: Personal Archive (Facilitated by Karin Valecillos).

Karin tells us that her path in the theater, especially in dramaturgy, is closely linked to the help of a woman named Gladys Prince. She (Karin) shares that in her early days, thanks to the vision that Gladys had, she was able to show her potential as a playwright and ended up writing her first play: "Isabel dreams of orchids", which she later took with her. to scene.

"We have (for a long time) been in the minority in all areas of society and the professional world and when we have a position where we can shake hands with another woman, I think it is absolutely necessary that we do so."

She reflects that since women began to set foot on stage, what they have done is tell their story from their gaze. It reminds us of Simone de Beauvoir when she says that "when men talk about their history, it seems that they are talking about the history of humanity, while when women tell their stories, it seems that they are talking about something very small, which only happens to them." women". "But we are also humanity and our history is also your history."

"That has allowed us to change the narratives about what it means to be a woman, about what our role in society means, about how they see us - because the moment we change the idea of how they see us, we also change how we see ourselves."

Adela Donadío (Colombia)

Adela Donadío. Picture: Personal Archive (Facilitated by Argenis Leal).

Adela comes from Philosophy, Latin American literature and pedagogy. Later, she entered Cultural Management, alongside Fanny Mikey (founder of the Ibero-American Theater Festival of Bogotá). Her search is for the poetics of the text and the staging, influenced by the group La Fanfarria.

She tells us that she is not looking for a complacent theater, and that she always finds a need in the texts she chooses. In 2016, she adapted a novel by Coetzee (Nobel Prize for Literature, 2003) to stage the chapter called "The problem of evil", which resulted in her approaching what essay theater or conference theater is.

"The art of us is the art of interpretation. Not only the interpreters interpret the roles, but I as a director interpret a world and make a translation into the languages of the staging. I am interested in dramaturgies where the two dimensions are: the personal/intimate and the social/historical."

Adela likes when there is a transcendental dimension in the works, something philosophical, since she is a director who delves into the world of texts as a hermeneutical task. For her, women have the gift of speech; the feminine word, the way they translate the world, "we are the givers of the mother tongue".

In her most recent work, “Entre putas… una voz” (co-directed with Leonardo Petro) she entered the universe of sex workers, listening to her stories-an experience detached from literary texts. "How to make a dramaturgy with life stories?". This led her to reflect on the theater of testimony, where what is produced is a kind of encounter between artistic ideas and life stories.

"What a vision to transmit of the lives of women, give them a voice and allow them in the work itself to talk about the hard moments, but also about what they feel. A vision of them where they feel worthy. A stage creation testimonial."

Cristina Higueras (Spain)

Cristina Higueras. Picture: Javier Mantrana (Facilitated by Isabel Jerez)

What interests Cristina is creation. In recent years, in addition to her work as an actress, she has published three crime novels and one humor novel. She had directing as a pending subject and she has recently carried it out with the work: "La Saga". She was interested in the genre perspective of the work, "a fun, well-constructed comedy, with a perfect structure and with a perfectly compatible load of reflection." She tells us that, throughout the play, we can see that all the characters are very faithful to their principles, but that they falter when theory collides with practice.

She has always been obsessed, as a producer and when choosing her work as an actress, "not boring", which according to her is the worst thing a creator can do. "The quality is perfectly compatible with the entertainment - two fundamental factors that a show has to have."

"If you believe in your path and in your qualities, follow your dreams. We all have the right and obligation to follow our dreams. It is always better to regret what one has done than what one has failed to do."

She also quotes Simone de Beauvoir, when she talks about "privileges are never given up, they must be conquered because whoever has privileges resists tooth and nail to be left without them." And he closes with the reflection that "we live in a patriarchal society, where power is still held mainly by men and there is still a glass ceiling for women. It is true that we have come a long way, but we still have many things to achieve" .

Claudia Maldonado (Colombia)

Claudia Maldonado. Picture: Personal Archive (Facilitated by Claudia Maldonado)

For Claudia, the path as a woman in the Performing Arts has been "a constant journey in search of a language that allows me to talk about the world and the historical moment that I am living". She says that the theater is a pretext to scrutinize the complexity of the human being, delving into the details that allow her to decipher our ways of reacting and relating.

"Without a doubt, working from the scene and for the scene reveals to me the depth of the human soul and confronts me with my beliefs, with my way of seeing the world and with my actions that sometimes surprise me satisfactorily."

For her, the path or the process are fundamental in stage art, since they subtly reveal to us what is meant from the scene, and which, according to her point of view, is what the world needs to hear.

We keep fighting

In the end, "being a woman" is "being human" and it is through the voices of these artists (and many more) that we offer new points of view to society, we present our concerns as if they were theirs, we put ourselves in their places to experience your deepest emotions, we speak the truth through our stories, full of ourselves, full of illusion. The illusion of always remembering that sharing reflections, sharing space, sharing anxieties, desires, and constant struggle is what makes us women, therefore artists, and therefore human.


Text and interviews: Juliana Spínola

Thanks: Luisa Huertas, Viviana Perea, Karin Valecillos, Angela Ribeiro, Blanca Oteyza, Cristina Higueras, Claudia Maldonado, Adela Donadío, Isabel Jerez (Marea Global), Argenis Leal, Zara Fermín, Patricia Ameyrich, Ramón Saburit.

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