Paco Bezerra, not at all accustomed to parliamentary battles, came this Tuesday, at the request of Más Madrid, to explain to the Culture Commission of the Madrid Assembly his version of what happened in the cancellation of I die because I don’t diea play withdrawn from the Teatros del Canal programming by the theater’s Board of Directors, which alluded to budgetary reasons.
The retired work on a junkie Teresa de Jesús for which Más Madrid and PSOE ask for explanations
His first intervention, which lasted 15 minutes, was a read and interpreted intervention in which Bezerra was very aware of his theatrical origin and trusted in the power of the word acted with intonation and intention. Bezerra was combative, even asking the politicians not to lower their heads and look at him, even demanding the party spokesmen to answer his questions, to which the president of the commission, María Isabel Redondo Alcaide (PP), She had to explain that they could not answer her because she would rebuke them herself: “Only rhetorical questions are accepted in this commission,” she argued. Bezerra succeeded in loosening the iron protocol rules of the parliamentary commission and bringing in a more citizen voice, bringing the Madrid institution closer to the living word and the public square.
accusations of censorship
In that first intervention Bezerra wanted to highlight the inconsistencies in this case that, according to his vision, prove that the reasons for withdrawing the work were not budgetary but ideological. In the work, as the author explained in an interview with this newspaper, Teresa de Jesús comes back to life and after desecrating all the relics scattered throughout the world with innumerable parts of her body, she begins to suffer and understand the world of the century. XXI. A contemporary and hard fiction where Santa Teresa tries to adapt her vision of justice and faith to the present. Because she is undocumented, she will end up with the homeless, she will join them, she will become an alcoholic and a junkie, she will end up in feminist squats where men are prohibited from entering that remind her of their convents and, in a final twist, she will ingest LSD, she will remember her mystical visions and DJ will end. It is this vision that Bezerra denounces that the Board of Directors of the Teatros del Canal, in which all of its members are politicians, “censored”.
Bezerra also wanted to highlight the inconsistencies of the budgetary reasons by remarking that 95% of the production had already been paid for by Bito producciones – “a producer that they themselves recommended to us”–; and by the European theater network Prospero. “Blanca Li sees more possibilities for the work and proposes that we present it to a contest: Prospero Extended Theater (…) and she is not wrong since we came out winners,” Bezerra explained about this contest that included staging in at least three cities in the construction site. An award that, since the work was canceled for this year and for next season, has been lost.
He also questioned the reasons put forward by Gonzalo Cabrera, general director of cultural promotion of the Community of Madrid, in this same commission on September 20. Cabrera argued, to defend budgetary reasons, that apart from production, exhibition expenses should not be neglected. “What happens that the box office and the usher who was going to be in my play charge more than in the play they have scheduled instead of mine? How is it possible that my work spends more resources than the others?” Bezerra argued. An explanation that would later cause the spokesperson for Unidas Podemos, Serygne Mbaye Diouf, to accuse the general director of promotion of going to the commission “repeatedly to lie.”
Bezerra also certified the news published by this newspaper in which Guillermo Espinosa, Blanca Li’s management advisor, certified that the reasons were not budgetary and the entire team was ashamed: “When, a few days after this conversation, I called to ask Blanca Li’s assistant director for explanations, he tells me, verbatim, that the programming of the Teatros del Canal seems to have been intervened by Vox, that in the management office they are aware that what they are doing with my work is very harmful for me and that for this reason they are all ashamed ”, explained Bezerra in the commission.
But the playwright did not want to finish without going to one of the core problems of this case, that politicians could decide programming over artistic directions: “Something that neither I nor many other people, born in democracy, had ever heard ”, commented Bezerra and then wondered: “Isn’t this censorship?”. Bezerra wanted to end by pointing out the figure and responsibility of Blanca Li in this whole affair: “Can the director of a public theater refuse to attend to the press for more than a month, two months, three months, four months, for almost five months, as we have been, in addition to refusing, for parliamentary reasons, to attend the Madrid assembly? That is, can the director of a public theater enjoy all the privileges made available to her by her position, while she refuses to fulfill her obligations? What is White Li hiding?
Showdown with Vox
After that harsh statement came the replies and support from the different spokespersons for the Madrid Assembly. After the support and impact on the seriousness of the case by Manuela Villa of the PSOE and Jazmín Beirak of Más Madrid, it was the turn of the PP spokesman Pedro María Corral, who accused Bezerra of keeping quiet about the case that occurred during the mayoralty of Manuela Carmena in 2016 for which Juan Carlos Perez de la Fuente he was dismissed as director of the Spanish Theater. A dismissal that stopped a program that was never presented in which Pérez de la Fuente included a work on María Mayo by Paco Bezerra himself. Given this, Bezerra replied: “Indeed, it was very badly done and if I did not protest at the time, I take the opportunity to do so now. I never agreed with that institution.”
But the most bitter scuffle occurred when Bezerra responded to the intervention of the Vox spokesman, Gonzalo Babé, who had thanked the PP for canceling the work and used, to support his reasons, a brief synopsis recounting the vicissitudes for which Teresa de Jesús passes on the work of Bezerra: “I am glad for the non-programming of a work as harmful and grotesque as the one that has been commented. Santa Teresa de Jesús is an immense saint of the Catholic Church, she deserves my utmost respect and admiration. If they want to program a play like this, there are other theaters. But not with the money of the people of Madrid”, commented Babé.
The commission was already loaded because the same spokesperson, at a previous point on the agenda, had complained and had asked the PP for explanations about the inclusion of the Uruguayan work Skin Dolls by the director Marianella Monela. A work that crudely dealt with one of the most serious cases of sexual crimes with minors in the Latin American Southern Cone, Operation Ocean, for which more than thirty people from the Uruguayan wealthy class were accused.
In his reply, Bezerra snapped at Babé: “You are judging with your morals, and your morals are yours and not that of all the people of Madrid. And you are in the minority. I shouldn’t. So get the people of Madrid out of your mouth because the people of Madrid don’t want to be in your mouth. He says that being a junkie and a prostitute is demeaning. Half of my friends have been junkies and they are either great people or better people than you. It may be unfortunate, but it can happen to everyone, both left and right. Drugs are where there is more money and we already know where there is more money,” argued Bezerra, a first knock that continued in crescendo: “And Santa Teresa is not denigrated in the work. You have not read the work, you come here and read a synopsis that is like reading a headline (…) I am more of a follower of Santa Teresa and I know more about Santa Teresa than you. And I have greater respect for her ”after which Bezerra read two messages that he received from two readers of the book, believing readers and who defended the vision that the author gives of Teresa. One of the readers ended her message this way: “Jesus was always on the side of the outcasts, junkies and whores included. I have no doubt who he would be next to now ”. To which Bezerra added: “Not with you, precisely. This is a message from a Catalan pro-independence Catholic, look how wonderful. There is no right for them to read a synopsis above, what is that, is that the serious work they do here?” asked the author of I die because I don’t die.
Given Bezerra’s forceful words, the president of the commission gave the floor to Babé, who asked Bezerra to withdraw them, considering them disrespectful to her party and to Santa Teresa herself and “excusing him” because she understood that the author was not used to to parliamentary mechanics. Bezerra ended by denying the majority: “I cannot respect the words of the Saint, as you say, because they are not hers, you speak of words that are from the fascists who came later and took revenge on her. How the milikos in Argentina took revenge on Eva Perón and pissed on her corpse. You are doing the same over the body of Santa Teresa. You have offended me today and in previous days in this commission by repeating that synopsis without having read the work, that is why I have answered you in this way, because people like me cannot access this place and they keep their version, from people who They don’t read, but they do think”. The playwright who began his theatrical appearance but more leisurely and saying that he was literally very cold, “I’m shivering,” said asking to be left with a coat; he ended up hot, with the verb standing on end and with the president of the commission asking to move on to the next order of business.