In 2020, just before the pandemic, the sensation of the Madrid billboard was a different work. The medicines, a title that unequivocally refers to the Sevillian neighborhood of the same name, was presented as an x-ray of the most conservative Seville society in the 50s that, however, admitted all kinds of readings even for an audience that has never crossed the San Telmo bridge. .
The architects of the assembly are the Sevillians Fernando Delgado-Hierro and Pablo Chaves. According to the first, also the author of the text, “Pablo and I have been friends since we were little, and I had always wanted to work with him. I had something in mind, the idea of touching our roots and the intuition that around the neighborhood where we grew up there was something to solve that was still a nebula. On the one hand, we had a lot of graphic material, photos, videos, and on the other a question: why does one do theater? ” And Pablo, of course, did not hesitate to embark in search of an answer: “I saw clearly from the beginning that we were going to enjoy it, but what was going to come of there, I had no idea about that,” says the actor.
Their first anomaly as residents of Los Remedios has to do precisely with the job they both chose. “In our school, San José, there is a lot of theater tradition, but it was not taken seriously,” says Delgado-Hierro. “You studied to earn money, and being an actor could be, at best, a hobby. In the work I wanted to explore that contrast, that context so hostile to who we are now. And to speak of a right-wing, conservative neighborhood, which on the other hand is the one where we grew up and where we have very interesting memories ”.
And his originality has earned him the possibility of obtaining a Max award this Monday night as “Best revelation show” or “Best revelation authorship”.
The grandmother who sang the ‘Cara al sol’
“Spain is a bit of that, right? That grandmother who sang Cara al sol and whom you were so fond of ”, smiles the actor and playwright. “We started to investigate, I started to write, we put together the pieces and it materialized as a process of finding things to understand them, also to get rid of some”.
Chaves, for his part, remembers that it was not an easy road. “The process lasted for ten months in which there was everything, also many wasted moments. Passages of going on stage and not knowing what to do, an unpleasant experience for the actor, but useful for editing, because suddenly something appears and you see it clearly, that’s it! ”.
The third leg of The medicines is Juan Ceacero, whom the Sevillians turned to to direct this project. “With Fernando we had done a web series together, and when he called me to participate in The medicinesI was immediately interested, ”says Ceacero. “We were clearing material in a very long process, between August 2018 and March 2019, but it was very easy: when the actors are the authors, the relationship with the material is very strong.”
What is clear is that Los Remedios is not just any neighborhood. In Chaves’ opinion, “when you are born in a place with as much identity as Seville, and in a neighborhood as labeled as Los Remedios, it either spits you out or absorbs you. Either you participate in it or you leave, but you cannot stay forever as a spectator. Life taught us that we had to leave, understand where we came from and return. But it is not something that we had matured, we have been seeing it as the work was gestated. I don’t run away from that place, nor is it my flag. Being from there defines me as much as the fact of having left ”.
A multi-genre work
With these wickers, the result had a lot of unclassifiable. “We knew that we did not want to do an exercise in style”, Ceacero intervenes, “but to build a piece with packaging and coherence at all levels, something round. It is multi-genre, there is comedy, drama, more abstract things, others more concrete, more cynical… But when things are done slowly and with implication, the result is seen ”.
“The play has a lot of satire and comedy, there are things from the usual theater, by Jardiel Poncela, by Mihura, also by Berlanga, we would even say that of Cervantes, because the first thing we put on at school were the Hors d’oeuvres! ”, Remembers Delgado-Hierro. “Above all, we laugh at ourselves. Everything that happens passes through our biography: the past comes back to take revenge a little on us ”.
The effect that the montage has had on its creators is evident, but at first they never had them all with them: “When we started, doubts arose. But is this going to interest anyone? Something so ultra particular, is it going to say something to one of Bilbao? To what extent does it make sense to tell it? ”, Evokes Chaves. “Until Juan intervened to tell us: ‘You still don’t know what you’re talking about.’ We are talking about something very concrete and true, which becomes universal on stage. After the premiere, people have come from Carabanchel or Vallecas, neighborhoods that have nothing to do with Los Remedios, and they have told us that when you come from a neighborhood with a strong, rich or poor identity, the conflict is in you ”.
No frivolous distance
“Tolstoi already said that if you want to tell something universal, tell the story of your village,” asserts Delgado-Hierro. “People have connected, they identify themselves, wherever they come from. And the people of Seville who come to see him receive him very close, of course, no one has taken it badly at the moment. There is criticism, but not frivolous distance. Love prevails ”.
And Ceacero agrees: “We work with topics, of course, religious education, Holy Week, the Fair, teachers, grandparents … But we humanize them to go beyond simple criticism and manners, achieving something very authentic.”
After the pandemic de-escalation, The medicines has returned to the billboard. Its representation in Seville is still pending, although there have been contacts with the Central Theater for a long time. “I have a desire to perform in Seville … It will be a strong, difficult and pleasant experience at the same time, and there will be those who do not want to listen to the subsequent reflection, but we are looking forward to going. It seems like revenge, but the work turned against ourselves ”, explains Chaves.
For Delgado-Hierro, however, it is a process that they may not be able to conclude: “Each function suggests that the search is still not complete, that we have to continue investigating. It gives a bit of vertigo ”.