Quoi de plus enrichissant, gratifiant et plaisant que d’avoir une petite conversation avec l’artiste avec qui j’ai collaboré de manière ou d’autre, ou avec l’artiste avec qui je souhaiterais collaborer.
How enriching, gratifying and plaisant to have a little conversation with the artist with whom I have or will collaborate one way or another.
Photo. Georgette is recognized as the playwright of Fugato Labile for Camille Claudel on the stage of the BOZAR after the performance in Brussels. Liana played the part of Camille in my play.
The photo above was taken when I was invited to the production of my play ‘Fugato Labile for Camille Claudel’ on the stage the BOZAR in Brussels. I am being welcomed by my friend Liana Ceterchi (Liana played the part of Camille in my play) with whom I already had the pleasure to chat before and after the representation of that same play at the French Institute in Bucharest. I have not recorded my conversations with Liana but my wish is that she takes her place here among my beautiful encounters.
La photo ci-dessus a été prise lorsque j’ai été invitée à la production de ma pièce ‘Fugato Labile pour Camille Claudel‘ sur la scène du BOZAR à Bruxelles. On m’y voit être accueillie par mon amie Liana Ceterchi (Liana a joué le rôle de Camille dans ma pièce) avec laquelle j’avais déjà eu l’occasion de converser avant et après la représentation de cette même pièce à l’Institut Français de Bucharest. Je n’ai pas recueilli mes conversations avec Liana mais je désire que ma rencontre avec elle soit mentionnée ici parmi mes belles rencontres.
Here is my interview with Liana. We did it online. She wrote in English. It would be great to meet her, again, in person. Voici mon entrevue avec Liana. Nous l’avons faite par email. Elle a répondu en anglais. Ce serait bien de la rencontrer, à nouveau, en personne.
GGP: Georgette Garbès Putzel LC: Liana Ceterchi
GGP: You are an extraordinary multi facets theater artist, an actress and a director from Bucharest, Romania. You also work internationally. You are very active off stage in social theatre. Promoting more female presence in the performing arts, speaking up about autism and women in prisons via therapy-drama. What is the part of your persona that links all those activities in you?
LC: In December 2001, together with some very well-known Romanian Actresses we created The Women’s Theatre Association IF…/DACA…PENTRU FEMEI, which main goal is to promote female artists. Our purpose is to create performances for women, about women and with women. We all were at that point in our artistic lives, working in a state theatre, in which the repertory was mainly based on male characters. Therefore actresses rarely had leading roles. Which was a great loss, both for the Theatre and for the actresses, because the actresses have a huge artistic potential.
I always considered actresses to be very gifted and especially hardworking, very passionate, desperately in love with their profession. They are haunted to play theatre, consequently are dedicated to this profession. We were young and enthusiastic, free from the restrictions of institutionalized theatre. We have created shows about motherhood, with our own experience in the field. At the beginning, in the independent theatre, in post – communist Romania, the conditions were difficult. The independent theatre had disappeared for 50 years, it was not a continuity, had to be reinvented. There was no money, there were no halls, it was only the desire to play. So we funded the independent theatre from our state salaries…but we enjoyed the freedom to play what we wanted to play. We played in café shops, opened by entrepreneurs like us, and people put money in a hat. Gradually the television developed, with series, in which the actors were baked, being even better paid…It became more and more difficult to make a show with a large distribution/cast.
Step by step I was forced to reduce the number of actors, ending up to create shows with a single character…which from an artistic point of view is more difficult, more challenging. Coincidentally, I met the Israeli writer Nava Semel, who gave me her play, “The Child behind the Eyes”, a monologue about a mother giving birth to a child with Down syndrome. In order to make the play, I had to document myself, so I asked friends doctors, therapists, I read books about Down syndrome, and I ended up in a kindergarten where there were children with Down and autism. And I started doing theatre with them. Children with Down syndrome are very affectionate and that is why they are a good companion for those who are autistic.
Doing theatre with these children was an important life lesson for me. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that they were very good actors, and embodying the played character, they got rid of their disabilities. We were doing performances based on Romanian fairy tales. Living from another perspective: from the perspective of the fairy tale character and borrowing another life and another way of looking at life, of engaging in life, they were changed, regaining their abilities. I also worked with orphans, doing theatre, in an orphanage. This was also a great pleasure… we performed in The International Theatre Festival in Sibiu, SIBFEST in 2006 and 2007. Which was considered to be a premiere: also for the children, for the orphans and also for the festival. For the first time The International Theatre Festival, hosted a show by orphaned children. Today these children are grownups, with higher education, some of them, with beautiful families, in which they raise their children with love. I keep in touch with them and they recognize the great importance that theatre has played in their lives: how theatre taught them to open up, to feel free, it enriched their imagination, their creativity… living the character’s life, they changed their narrow perspective on their life. They have learned that everything is possible as long as you really want and invest time and passion for that goal, you want to achieve.
To be applauded on stage by hundreds of spectators, in a festival, their self-confidence increased immensely and they felt appreciated, important. They felt that their lives mattered and that they could and did deserve to make their lives a successful, fulfilled life.
Yes, the answer to the question: what links all these activities, theatre and social work… I think it’s about love, about loving and giving, about compassion.
Being on the stage, means you are above the audience, with one meter, or some half meter, above all the audience, you have to earn the fact that you are above the rest, so you have to be, as good human being, as possible. I believe that Love is the one and only thing, which really matters in life, and not only matters, but it’s the important thing in life. Dante Alighieri said: “L’amor che move il sole et l’altre stelle.” Love is the force which moves planets and suns and solar systems. Love is the Source. Love is giving; acting is giving, giving a part of your loving soul.
GGP: About acting. What are the primary qualities of an actor/actress? Any difference between film and stage? Which ones?
LC: The primary quality of an actor I believe is to be truthful, to speak the truth, to be open, sincere… it’s linked with the first answer, about an actor on stage sharing love, sharing parts of himself. I mean truthful loving. He is what he is doing… loving to be on stage. You are able to recognize a good actor, from the way he or she behaves, when he is on stage. He loves to be on stage, he adores being on stage, he is in his best condition, when he is on stage. Nothing compares with what he feels, when he is on stage. Real life is shadowed by the life he lives on stage. I think it’s a passion for your profession and I believe this is most important.
As for film acting, screen acting, I believe it’s the same, to feel comfortable, more than comfortable in front of a camera, or under the spotlight. The difference is that on stage or in theatre, you have to expand your energy to a larger audience, which could seem rather artificial for the camera, so you have to adjust your performance for the camera: as if you speak with a friend, a tête-à-tête. For the stage you are speaking to a crowd in halls, so it’s a difference. The important thing, which links the two: the film actor and theatre actor is to be truthful, to be really 100% engaged and focused on the character you are playing, on the situation and to identify hundred percent with it. Being at the same time fully aware that he is a character. That sort of sincerity: to be on stage and to be hundred percent, the character and at the same time, to be aware that you are playing a character.
GGP: About acting. What do you think of the stage fourth wall?
LC: The fourth wall….in my opinion is necessary, for you can break it, and speak to the audience as if you speak to yourself. I use a lot this means of communication, love it. The opportunity to change perspective, inn and out your character.
GGP: About acting. What do you think/do/feel/sense just before entering the stage?
LC: Before entering the stage, before the performance, I am putting myself in a mental state of meditation: I mean… I do pray and I relax myself, forgetting my lines, I’m not thinking of memorizing the text. I’m focused only on the situation and to be very fresh, very open, as if it happens for the first time. Like a child doing for the first time a play that’s what I do.
GGP: About acting. What is your relationship with the audience during the play?
LC: And being on stage I am able to feel the energy coming from the audience. My performance is tuned according to my audience. Sometimes I have a very intelligent audience, very smart they listen and they are focused on the logic, on the rational part of the play. Sometimes, you have an emotional audience, they are all listening with their hearts, not with their brains, and it happens also to have a no interested audiences, not at all interested in what you’re doing on stage. It is a very important relation between actor and the audience. Due to those different kinds of audience, you have to underline the rational part, or the emotional part or in the third case you strive to develop their interest for the performance. You try to be more surprising. For an audience not interested, it’s very important to be truthful, only so you can capture their interest; because you cannot identify with somebody on stage, in whom you don’t believe. But if you believe, truly believe what happens on stage you get involved, so you become interested. There is also the miracle, the magic of acting and if you reach this point, in which you feel this magic, very often you get inspired from a higher source, so you enter in a higher energy and from there you are enriched in inspiration. This is what a lot of great actors do remember and speak about this magic. I read about Lawrence Olivier performing, I don’t know, maybe “King Lear”, I think, and it was a brilliant performance that evening, and after the performance, backstage all the cast was waiting for him in ovation, applauding him… but he was a very absent, wanting to be left alone. Later on, he told them that he wanted to be alone to realize, to remember, to play the film of his acting on that evening, because he was not aware of what he was doing on stage, it was absolute magic, he was puzzled. This divine grace, coming down on you, there are no words… You are longing for these moments. These moments are our highest rewards.
GGP: About acting. What changes, if any, would you like to see happening in the way acting is done in Romania. Or/and elsewhere in the world.
LC: Acting done in Romania is not different from good acting done somewhere else on this earth. I mean good acting is good acting everywhere. I’m speaking about good acting and I think that Romanian acting is good, although they are also exceptions. I mean acting is different from epochs, each era has its own rhythm. You are live on stage, in the rhythm in which your contemporary life unfolds. For great actors it doesn’t matter that they lived 100 years ago, they are very truthful, their acting is so modern… because the way they are doing their acting: with truthfulness.
GGP: About civic theater. Is the Women in Theater Association you have created still active? Still necessary? Still useful?
LC: As I said, now we are doing one woman shows, about famous women, from Camille Claudel, to Vivien Leigh, to Charlotte Salmon, Anne Frank, to Zelda Fitzgerald and lately I also discovered some extraordinary Romanian, women in the Romanian Royal Family.
I have to explain myself, as a former citizen of the Socialist Republic of Romania, we did not learned in school, about our Royalties, which were banned from our History books. It’s only in the 90-ies, little by little, there were books about this subject. At first, I discovered Princess Ileana, the beloved daughter of Queen Marie and King Ferdinand of Romania. She married Anton von Habsburg, from the royal family of the Austro Hungarian Empire, they had 6 children. In 1947, she was forced to live Romania, together with all the Romanian Royal Family. In her sixties she became a nun and built ‘The Transfiguration Orthodox Monastery’ in Ellwood City, Penn. USA. She is the first royal, who got permission to come back in Romania, in the autumn of 1990. I was fascinated by her very interesting life. Our performance “Ileana, Princess of Romania”, is based on her autobiographical novel “I Live Again”, which depicts the true history of Romania, of the first half of the twentieth century. I learned a lot of hidden facts about our Royalties, our performance, being, in this regard, an important document. We toured ‘ILEANA, PRINCESS OF ROMANIA’, in USA and Canada, in 2018, invited by the nuns from The Transfiguration Monastery. I performed, in the monastery, and for a couple of days, I was accommodated in Princess’s Ileana/Mother Alexandra’s, apartment. It was an absolute miracle the whole tour and each performance was unique.
Working on Princess Ileana’s biography, I learned about Queen Marie, who was her model in life and the next two performances were each one, a woman show: “Queen Marie, The Queen of All Romanians”, a performance based on Queen Marie’s war diaries, from 1916, 1917 and 1918, which I toured also in United States. And the second one woman show, about Queen Marie, “1919 Royal Mission”, is based on her book “The Latest Chapters of My Life”, a book which I received as a gift from the nuns from The Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, so everything had a meaning, it was a sign that, I had to do a show after this book, depicting the diplomatic battles fought by our queen, at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.
All these three performances, as I called them Royal Triptych, being all documentary theatre shows, revealing the falsification of our history, revealing the valuable contribution of the royal family in the development and propagation of modern Romania. And as I promised the nuns at the Monastery founded by Princess Ileana, who became Mother Alexandra, I played these shows in high schools, pro bono. I believe that it is extremely important for the young generation to know their true history, their true identity, their true past in order to build their future. I think that education through theatre, is of great importance, this being one of the missions of the IF Association.
GGP: About civic theater. Has the situation of Women in prisons evolved and in which direction? Are you still performing in women’s prisons in Romania or elsewhere?
LC: I was performing with the orphans in women’s prison and it was an extraordinary experience because all those women had children left at home…or in state’s custody. And mostly of the women were imprisoned, because they were defending themselves from aggressive husbands, or partners, and also defending their children, and they ended up murdering the aggressor, and so they were convicted and sent to prison. I didn’t work… I didn’t do theatre with them, although I wanted to do, but it was a goal I didn’t accomplished, due to bureaucracy, which I regret. The experience of seeing those women attending the orphans’ performance, with such a love, with such longing. Those children/ orphans were in a desperate need of mother love, and those women/mothers were desperate to show their love, to hug the children… it was something absolutely unique. They adopted immediately the orphans, they were present, literally living on stage with the children, who were very emotional, touched by this exchange of love, between audience and performers. An exchange which I consider to be the true root of Theatre.
GGP: About civic theater. In 2020 you directed The Beautiful Days of My Youth by Romanian Jewish Holocaust survivor Ana Novac, for the Jewish State Theater. An all-female project. How would you describe your experience ?
LC: Doing “The Beautiful Days of My Youth” at the Jewish Theatre, in Bucharest, in the pandemic year of 2020, I considered to be a miracle. In this regard, I have to add the Jewish Theatre in Bucharest was the only European Jewish theatre that was active during WW2, 1944-1947.To celebrate 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz camp, I was fortunate to come across the diary of 14 years old girl, Ana Novac (penname). A diary written on Nazi propaganda posters, in Auschwitz, and in 8 other camps, where she was transferred. What is unique… is that this diary is the only one diary known, so far, which was taken out from Auschwitz, by a German Kappo, a former criminal, who was imprisoned and became a Kappo, exterminating Jews. Of course, he was not aware that he had this diary, in the package, he delivered to the address written on it, doing so as a service to a friend. Although Ana was only 14, she already had written 6000 pages, she was a very gifted writer. Her description of the camp life, is full of wisdom, sometimes ironic, even comic. Through the naive eyes of a child, in a perpetual amazement at what people are capable of doing to other people. Ana is a candid and also a very powerful person who decided, she will survive, to outlive her exterminators.
It was an interesting experience because it was in 2020, the pandemic, forced us into lockdowns, with a lot of restrictions…On the day I started rehearsals, fortunately the theatres also opened and remained open for exactly 6 weeks, until the opening night.
Due to imposed restrictions, I first imagined the performance to be played outside, because during the summer only outside performances were allowed. I imagined a sort of itinerant show, in which the audience walks on separate paths, from one platform/stage to another. So on each platform was only one actress, acting her monologue. There were 5 actresses, Ana Novac’s family of 5.
In the camp the only means of survival was the family of five. The counting was done every five women. You survived only if all the five survived. In my show, Ana Novac is played by 5 actresses, all 5 being the 5 family… The idea came from the diary. There is a moment described in the diary, when Ana and her family of five are transferred to another camp. For this they are sent to the shower, shaved and without any possibility of hiding the diary somewhere. So she asked the five women, her family of five to learn by heart, each of them a fragment from the diary. And in this form, learning it by heart, they carried the diary with them to the next camp, where she could rewrite it on paper. My cast was of five actresses playing Ana Novac and sharing each of them a part of the diary and the sixth character, was Ana Novac, the storyteller, Ana Novac, the mature woman, who after 20 years, stumbles upon the notes written in the camps… It was a wonderful experience having six extremely talented and gifted actresses and having the incredible good luck, to have the opening night with the audience in the venue, and also on Zoom/on line transmission. The next day they closed the theatres, until the spring, of 2021. Meanwhile one of the actresses gave birth to a baby girl. In all it was a wonderful experience, with an emotional show well received by the public and the press.
GGP: About civic theater. What have you learned, as an actress or director, during your work with women in prisons? Would you bring some changes and which ones, in acting or directing in women’s prisons next time?
LC: Have no answer.
GGP: State Theater and Independent Theater. What are the artistic differences, if any? Does Romania need more independent theaters?
LC: There is no noticeable difference between the state theatre and the independent theatre, because most of the actors in the independent theatre also work in the state theatre. But it’s a very important difference, regarding the finance and the working conditions.
I find that working in an independent theatre, due to the fact that you have to accomplish not only the task of acting, but also other tasks, for example: light design or costumes, cleaning, and doing so, you are the “jack off all trades”, I find this to be an enriching experience for a creator. About the need of having or not more independent theatres here in Romania… I believe: where it’s a need, there is also a deed, so if it’s needed it will for sure be created. I am not aware of the number of independent associations or theatres, or venues but I am sure that because of the numerous actors, directors, artists, theatres will flourish, will multiply.
GGP: State Theater and Independent Theater. In an interview for Exeunt (July 4, 2019), (http://exeuntmagazine.com/features/romanias-divided-political-theatre-landscape/ )Oana Mardare (founder of Independent Romanian company Reactor) says: “As time passes I’m starting to realise that unless something changes structurally and importantly, and we get the recognition and support we need, at some point I’ll be too tired to carry on.” Do you think that independent theaters should be financially supported, and if yes, by whom? And if so, how different would that be from being supported by the State?
LC: There was a tradition of independence theatres before the communist regime; great actors came together and created a company and they had money, even from their families and friends, supporters and donations. There was even a popular sentence: If you want to become an actress, be sure to get a wealthy lover, ready to pay for your expenses, your costumes, setts, tours, and to support you financially. In the communist regime when theatres were supported by state, the word was: “whoever gives the money, has the right to censor you, has the right to order which piece to play.” So state support means, state dictatorship. I think that theatre lovers, who are rich, finance the theatre, this is the tradition in the west, it is a well-grounded process, for wealthy families, wealthy people, foundations, etc. As in the medieval ages, theatre companies were supported by nobles, by royalties, who also borrowed their names to their private theatre company. The problem in Romania is that wealthy people do not have a tradition in this matter.
The rich in Romania today are the first generation of people with money, they do not yet have a culture to sponsor the performing arts. They invest in paintings, in sculpture, in something palpable, material which can stay in the house, under lock and key, or in the safe. They don’t invest in spiritual creation, it is too evanescent.
GGP: State Theater and Independent Theater. In the same interview, director Iona Păun says: “Contemporary playwriting is in crisis.” Would you agree?
LC: I don’t have enough data to agree or disagree with Ioana Paun, who is as far as I know, also a playwright, so maybe she is right.
GGP: Finally, and because there is so much we would like you to share with us, which would take days and days of your time: what is your next project? Or projects?
LC: Usually I am not speaking about my future projects. I’m superstitious about it. All I can tell you is that I am entrapped in the Romanian Royal Family, discovering very interesting and powerful feminine characters of our history, who are eager to be revealed, or to reveal their lives to the audience of the third millennium.
Thank you for your patience in reading me.
GGP: I is a pleasure to read you Liana Ceterchi. Thank you! Thank you for taking your time and sharing with us. I hope to hear about you and your theatre again.
C’est un plaisir de vous lire Liana! Merci beaucoup! Par votre temps et votre partage avec nous. J’espère que nous entendrons parler de vous et de votre théâtre à nouveau.
Georgette (TMM) talks with Tina Escaja (TE)
Conversation with Tina Escaja, author of THOSE MOTHERS, one of Theatre Mosaic Mond (TMM) plays in Burlington, Vermont. Tina Escaja is an awarded author, digital artist and scholar who teaches at the University of Vermont. Tina graciously accepted an interview. I met Tina in a coffee shop, a list of questions and a recorder in hands. As we began to chat, it appeared that Tina prefers written interviews. I did not complain because we then had a wonderful unrecorded conversation over coffee and hot chocolate. I later on emailed my “written” questions to Tina. Muchas gracias, Tina.
- TMM: You write poetry and you write plays. Does one come first? Which one and why?
T.E.: Poetry comes to me naturally. It is a genre I always felt comfortable with. So yes, it has to be poetry. I have a fascination for the word on the page, both visually and in content. It has a captivating power. But I try to apply this sense of power to my plays as well, of course.
- TMM: How does poetry influence your writing of a play (if it does)? And vice-versa.
T.E.: I’ve always questioned borders and limits, settled definitions. Even though poetry comes to me easily, it is always entwined with other genres and written forms. For the same reason, I have poems presented as a play, and I have performed poems on stage, as spoken word. So one genre can definitely inform and influence the other, or “become” the other.
- TMM: Your first language (the language of your childhood) seems to be Spanish. But you function professionally in English too. In which language do you prefer to write your first draft of a play?
T.E.: Spanish. This is my first language of identity and profession (I am a professor of Latin American and Spanish language, literature and culture at UVM). However, I have spent many years in this country, and I can maneuver around in English at ease, of course. Language is the anchor of poetry in particular, so I rely on Spanish for my creative writing, of anything.
- TMM: Do you prefer to use a computer keyboard, pencil and paper, an audio recorder r even typewriter -or does it not matter to you?
T.E.: I prefer the keyboard. I replaced the pen with the keyboard in the early 90′, when I started to get fascinated by the black screen (it used to be black). I even crated a cybernetic persona, [email protected]érez, which I still use in particular with my digital work. Orality is not my forte, since my background did not encourage me to have enough confidence to express myself verbally. Unless it is teaching, of course, where I feel very comfortable, like a kind of performance. My subjectivity flourishes in writing.
- TMM: Do you begin writing your play with a clear idea of the whole, or do you just start with an idea and see what happens?
T.E.: Writing is a process of knowledge and self-discovery. I usually start abruptly, facing the white page, and see how the story or poem evolves. However, sometimes I also have a previous idea, a theme, or even an ending for a plot, and I move from there. So I guess it is a mixture of both.
- TMM: What types of themes=subjects do you like best? Do you like subjects that you feel confident about? Subjects that you question? Do you have to feel comfortable with the subject?
T.E.: My writing is also a way to express activism. Therefore political issues, primarily feminist issues, are some of my subjects of preference. But I also like to push myself to new options and enjoy dimensions that are less familiar to me, like trying science fiction and narratives for video games.
- TMM: What kind of treatment do you prefer to give the issues you are dealing with? The black and white type with a definite answer? The grayish type with no straight answer? A mix?
T.E.: Obviously, I always try to maintain balance and highlight the complexity of the human condition; provide to te narrative a depth for the viewer or reader to untwine. But it is also true that with certain issues such as social justice I want to be clear and expose the problems, so in these cases I tend to focus more on the issue and message than in its grey areas.
- TMM: How do you decide about an ending? What is the best type of ending for a play?
T.E.: Each play is different and unique in its own way. However, perhaps because of my poetic inclination, I prefer the open ending, or a kind of ending that leaves you “suspended” and, in a way, transformed. I am not sure if I accomplish this though. The setting and production of the play is very important for achieving that goal as well.
- TMM: Where do your characters come from?
T.E.: Life, personal experience, or by themselves. Sometimes the narrative presents itself with characters you have never expected to explore. then, they take their own path in the texture of the story.
- TMM: Do you take sides with some of your characters? Do you like all your characters? What is your relationship with your characters?
T.E.: Yes, I do takes sides, but again, characters finally take over and you just give them words. There is a distance marked by the rhythm of the play.
- TMM: Who is your favorite Spanish-speaking poet? Why?
T.E.: Decades of learning and teaching Spanish poetry prevents me from having favorites. Different movements throughout the centuries inform different ways of understanding and enjoying poetry. And I happen to teach many of these movements. I also prefer to disengage from the obvious, Neruda and Lorca, and my research and writings tune better with more recent explorations in our century, primarily by women poets from Latin America and Spain. No particular favorite though.
- TMM: Who is your favorite Spanish-speaking playwright? Why?
T.E.: I think I can refer to my previous answer as well.
- TMM: What triggers you to write a play?
T.E.: Anything could be a trigger. For THOSE MOTHERS, for example, it was a class I taught at UVM with the subject “Love, Sex and Censorship in Modern Spain”, where we addressed issues of gender, culture and sexuality. The segment referring to the oppressive Franco era made me reflect upon the realities of women from my own family and their choices. I wrote the play the semester I was teaching this class. It was a cathartic process.
- TMM: How do you define your role as a writer in approaches like Collectives and Multimedia creations?
T.E.: I love experimental and electronic options. It is part of my “[email protected]érez” persona, I guess, so I am currently experimenting with the experimental and the collective in a play-in-process under the title “De trips corazón/Guts for lunch” where artists and writers of all genres are invited to collaborate. I like the concept very much, but it is proven to be hard to harmonize perspectives and coordinate the quality of the various entries. My Facebook serves as the social media for the project. This is an intriguing and new form of playwriting that, along with multimedia on stage, is going to be more and more prevalent.
- TMM: Is the script of a play enough to create a play? Why or why not?
T.E.: Great question, and my guess is that you, Georgette, have a better rendering of the answer. I am primarily a writer, and a play is such when produced and performed, so it is up to the challenge of combining all the elements for the play to exist, even beyond the script, I would say… .
- TMM: Do you think that writing is like giving birth? If yes, how do you feel when your script is in the hands of a dramaturge, a producer, and a director?
T.E.: No, I don’t think that writing is like giving birth (and I have two kids). Writing is a for of enlightenment and a necessity for me. It is important to note that creative writing is not my current profession either, so I don’t have particular constraints or restrictions in that regard. I am happy to let my work go and reach new heights and visions. Perhaps I am stricter with my poetry, since it is closer to my exigency for the importance and balance of the written word.
- TMM: What do you love best about writing a play?
T.E.: I have enormous fun and love for the unexpected to happen, through dialogue and situations that keep building a story up from the figment of an idea.
- TMM: What is the most challenging aspect when you write a play?
T.E.: Coherence, restraint, the factor of entertainment plus the political, that I always like to include. This is a (very) difficult balance.
- TMM: THOSE MOTHERS. Was the ending of THOSE MOTHERS a happy ending? You wrote Those Mothers many years ago. Would you write it the same way today, would you write it at all today?
T.E.: Those Mothers responded to a moment and concept that I already explained. My interest are many and vey different now, but women’s issues are still high on my list of choices and concepts to explore in a play. You could say that the ending of Those Mothers is happy, in that there is a connection between the generations and a freedom and ownership as women, and professional women, that were not present at the beginning of the story. But love keeps being a challenge in people’s relationships and the historic blending of impositions, which keep being unresolved. Here I tried that “suspension” of an ending that I mentioned before. Your choice, Georgette, emphasized precisely that feeling (the ending in my script was more literal, and therefore less effective).
- TMM: Please share with us whatever you think needs to be added related to theatre and playwriting.
T.E.: The way that we understand and experience theatre and playwriting is changing drastically and the potential is huge. We need to be in tune and experiment with these tools and new tendencies, such as Augmented Reality on stage or using social media and spoken words as venues for dramatic and collective expression. I am not saying that this is a better way of exploring theatre, but it is definitely a new form that could enrich the genre and can take us to new levels of the dramatic. I am excited about that.
END OF OUR CONVERSATION WITH TINA ESCAJA. THANK YOU TINA.