Friday, December 9

‘Fuck Me’ and ‘Love Me’, the sadness and rage of Marina Otero’s theater

Marina Otero is still unknown in Spain. Her theater has only been seen in a single performance in the 2021 edition of the Cádiz Ibero-American Festival. She was fuck me, a torn, irreverent and frontal work. He now lands in Madrid with that work but also with his new piece, love me. One is the reverse of the other. The first is revenge. The second an act of redemption.

The choreographer who dared to ask what a country does to a body

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He brings his works to a new edition of the Madrilenian fall festival, three weeks of intense activity, with the presence of international names such as Robert Lepage, Wajdi Mouawad, Christiane Jatahy or the Portuguese Tiago Rodrigues. An edition that also knows how to welcome creative dance and theater in Spain just as it looks at South America as it did years ago.

Marina walks naked across the stage, weak, frail, barely able to walk. She has just come out of a serious back operation, she has made the creation of the piece from bed. She is surrounded by five spectacular bodies of dancers. She picks up a megaphone, the space goes black, it sounds at full blast Requiem for a Dream that the Kronos Quartet composed for the Darren Aronofsky film. Marina says, rather yells: “My skull is on my shins, spots on my skin, one leg is shorter than the other, my vertebrae lack air, my liver is sweating, my clavicles are asphyxiated, my diaphragm is scattered (…) my temporal bone anxious, the submissive cerebellum, the obscene walnut, the hermit pancreas, the taciturn ear, the mount of Venus on another planet, the self-destructive anus, the disorganized parietal bone, the anguished occipital, the perverse gluteus minimus, the obsessive major, the heart skeptical, the killer sphincter…”. The light returns to the stage, the music continues, the dancers shriek in an extreme, hyperphysical dance, until exhaustion.

The scene ends, Marina says to the stage manager: “Play it again and let them improvise”. The dancers obey while the dancer screams “fuck me” and the sex is hit repeatedly. We are inside, in the core, of the theater of this creator born in Buenos Aires in 1984. “This work is a revenge against men. Women always had to be condemned for being ugly or pretty, we were never valued for anything else. That is why in the work my role is one of domination, colonization of those bodies. But it is a role contrary to that of men over women, it is made from fragility. Feminine dominance has always had to do with having to be strong, have a nice ass, be hot. In this work it is the other way around, from a fragile body, not at all powerful, one comes to dominate, that is revenge”, Otero declares to this newspaper.

The aforementioned scene recreates another from a previous work, Andrea (2012), Otero’s first creation. With her he began a project that continues to this day. An endless project where this creator is at the center. Marina has been on the independent scene in Buenos Aires for years proposing a scene where the body reigns in an extreme, painful way, on the limits, hence the serious injury. Just look at the video of Andrea and the dance of falls to understand the degree of violence exerted on the body itself in Otero’s dance.

But at the same time, his proposal is that of a biographical theater, on the margins of what we now understand as autofiction: “This work is part of an eternal project in which I am my own object of investigation: more than anything because I like people to talk about me… And if I don’t talk, who will talk…? Who is going to put the body to my narcissistic cause without seeing a mango? What body is going to commit to tell my life until death? Only mine”, says Otero at one point in the play. Theater made from pain, seeking the light that is born from the destruction of oneself, from knowing that every act of derision of one’s own is also the desire to be loved, comforted. Narrow, lonely road. A path that Otero shows us from the distance of a broken, adult person who looks at his childhood when he did dances and choreographies at his grandfather’s house and looks at himself now after so many wars, after so many years offering himself on stage, after suicide attempts. , of fighting against everything, of having hated the easy and the kind as if they were betrayals. A path that, while showing the strength of rage, has the shameless ability to say in a moment: “Look how I am. I was hard and not marketable, this is pure tension from the effort of wanting to please. All I want is for them to love me, because I don’t love myself.”

for that throbbing

Start the play with the song I love you playing, one of Sandro’s great songs, that autochthonous specimen of Argentina that is like a cross between Nino Bravo and Elvis. A figure that, although not as well known in Spain, is a pure talisman there. Sandro crosses generations, from the sixties to the beginning of this century in which the singer continued to give concerts attached to an oxygen cylinder. He was a scenic animal excessive, which was contemptuously called “fat music” (tacky) but which has songs full of depth and high melodic composition. A good example is that I love you.

There are plays that adhere to a musical theme definitively. The song reigns in the work and at the same time the work discovers the layers of sadness that it contains. They feed back. This is what happens in this strange piece by Otero. A work that is not perfect, that has certain downturns in some of its scenes, but that Otero leads with a firm hand towards an ending that is as beautiful as it is sad. An ending where a melancholy reigns that is at the same time tragedy. Otero there becomes a dented queen, the public sees someone who has been offering himself for years at the same time as harming himself, sees an Argentine who was named Marina because her grandfather was a non-commissioned officer of that body, possibly the most repressive of the dictatorship of that country, “my name is an anchor that I carry,” he says in the show. Her body carries her own stories and those of her family. The public attends the final scene of a maîtresse with his faithful at his disposal, revenge has been consummated, Sandro continues to play, the air is charged with a dense loneliness, with a sorrow that Otero holds with distant shoulders and with all the beauty that sadness is capable of giving.

Now let’s talk about love

fuck me It is the large-format piece that allowed Otero to broaden his horizons. With her, Latin America and Europe were opened to him. It premiered at the Buenos Aires International Festival before the pandemic. It was the first time that he had money for production. Before, works like Andrea either Remember 30 years to live 65 minutes (2014), they worked hard, in an impossible Buenos Aires, giving more than ten pilates classes a day and finding gaps to be able to investigate, rehearse. With fuck meeverything changed, articles that branded her as the punk dancer, invitations to Chile, to France.

The pandemic arrived in the middle, Otero did not know how to continue- “It is always very difficult for me to detach myself from the previous work, more than fuckme, there are works that are revealing, works that mark a before and after. That piece changed my way of thinking, feeling, seeing the world”, confesses Otero. And he decided on the contrast. “I don’t want to look at the public,” he told the playwright Martín Flores Cárdenas, with whom he decided to work for the new play. “You won’t talk either,” he replied. Thus began, between talks and meals in the midst of a pandemic, the creation of love mea dazzling, small, unspectacular piece with a rhizomatic text and great dramatic tension.

The proposal of love me it’s sharp For three quarters of the play, Otero will be sitting in the middle of the stage. She will not look at the public. yes in fuck me the word spoken, shouted, acted reigned, in this new piece silence will do it. Now that after Otero’s injury she can dance, she decides to stay like a reptile, still, without doing. All the text will be projected, with a slow, cadenced rhythm, facilitating the audience’s reading, a rhythm that will be the emotional metronome of the piece. At the end, Otero, already recovered from her injury, will dance. A punk dance, dedicated, to the limit of expressiveness, a dance that is pure attitude before form. The creator gets in love me the conjunction of a sober, geometric, almost perfect piece, with that of a truthful, authentic speech, despite the difficulty of this word, which is based on a text of great formal quality.

The text of love me it is a layered text, self-referential as well as reflective, analytical, an analysis by refraction and association where Otero speaks from his present. In the dark, Otero undresses, reflecting on her inability to love, on her inability to work for her always from pain, on her family history full of violence and that she inherits. She silently recounts her decision to come to Madrid, to be a migrant for a better life but also fleeing from her own violence, from herself.

And that biographical text is joining with reflections on the market, on selling oneself as a Latin American in Europe. He reflects on the meaning of her theater, of working with her own life, of selling it. “I take advantage of the fact that it is fashionable to talk about the colony and I pretend to be poor,” she says with the temper of incorrectness. Otero unites themes: market, exhibition, migration, movement, dance, violence, love… And in the background of this text Otero speaks of a person who always worked from pain, who never knew calm, who never loved, who wants to be loved and wants with that new body after being operated on to learn to dance without breaking down. Learn to work without starting from violence. Life and work are inseparable, “if I don’t dance, anger will destroy me”, says the text.

Thus, paradoxically, or not so much, Otero will dance to a song by a murderer, by the singer of an Argentine rock group, intoxicated, of ‘Pity’ Álvarez, who after killing another human being with a shot in a street brawl told the press: “I was the one who shot. I am not here to testify. I’m here to tell you what happened. I killed him because it was between him or me. Any animal would do the same.” After a beautiful text, of redemption, of Cartesian and poetic reflection that wants to found another relationship with his body and with the theater, Otero dances like an animal, delivered. Dance in the extreme looking for calm, dance what has not yet been conquered. That is Otero’s dance.

A lady arrives in Madrid with her heart in her hand in search of the origin of her pain, with the will to be reborn and at the same time not to give up. When she is asked if she will ever be able to work without leaving her pain, her eyes sparkling she says, “I wish, I wish she could, but I don’t know if it’s possible.”