Wednesday, December 7

The sexual abuse of minors reaches the theater with explicit sex and faces without pixelation


Electronic music. Darkness. A teenage girl dances in her underwear and wears black boots. A man in his fifties watches the scene from a sofa, half shirtless and with a beer in his hand. A woman dressed in a suit looks into the audience’s eyes and shows them images on a mobile phone. Enter the Green Room of the Teatros del Canal de Madrid to see fur dolls it is in itself a singular, uncomfortable experience. But what is to come is even worse. And not because of the quality of his proposal –which is irrefutable–, but because he portrays a reality that it hurts to face without being able to turn his head or close his eyes. The playwright Marianella Morena is the architect of this appealing and committed work that brings to the stage Operation Ocean for which 32 people were charged in Uruguay for sexual exploitation of minors.

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The show, which will only be shown this weekend, contains scenes of violence, complete nudity and explicit sex. In 2020, the lifeless body of a 17-year-old girl appeared in a stream in the south of the country. When her cell phone was found, erotic adult chats with both her and other girls her age were discovered. The investigation of the case resulted in the arrest of more than thirty men. Among them were lawyers, teachers, architects, businessmen, councilors, public relations and a long list of relevant positions. “When I saw the news, in the midst of a pandemic, it settled in my head. I dreamed of her, I had nightmares”, the director acknowledges to this newspaper. She needed time to process the impact of the story until she finally decided that she should write it and take it to the stage.

The first thing he did was contact the journalist Antonio Ladra, the only person who had revealed the names of the accused. “It generated a lot of controversy on networks, but he argued that if when a thief steals somewhere, his image is immediately spread, why were these white-collar, upper-class gentlemen protected?” From there they began to work together and met with the prosecutor in the case, Interpol, a perpetrator, lawyers and an NGO that works with victims of sexual violence. During their interrogations they came before a judge who recognized that “the law is not enough” nor is it enough to generate real change, that a “cultural” impulse was needed, society has to appropriate the laws. He was also optimistic about the progress that has been made since “the feminization of prosecutors’ offices and the appearance of women in positions of power and decision-making.”


With all the material that he was processing, he began to write and the first thing that came out of his hands was an extremely poetic text. Although at first it seemed that perhaps it was not the ideal format with which to give a voice to a teenager, something happened that impressed him. The diary of the murdered young woman was published and its content was of a “very similar” style to what she had raised. The beginning of the work includes several lines that repeat that formula, with a 15-year-old girl describing herself. In off it reveals what it causes her to look in the mirror, how invisible she feels on numerous occasions, how ugly she is. All of this with the theater completely in the dark, allowing the feeling of discomfort to settle and soak in like the water that fills the two large tanks that preside over the staging. Water from which the protagonist emerges and which will also be used violently by her predator.

The perversion of lockers

The male character of fur dolls represents all “those guys who seem like good people” who were charged. “There was a manager who was well liked by his left-wing employees and who had generated many advances for the union,” shares the playwright. “We have a very installed prejudice that the bad guy in these cases is a slimy, fat and ugly old man; but he can be an attractive and flashy man. We think that if he is someone who can have any woman he wants, why is he going to do this kind of thing?” she muses. Morena warns that the dynamic is “more complex”. “We have to clean the lockers and break down the borders of this type of organization because they are the ones that have been given to us culturally. Just like saying the whore and the virgin; or that women are complicated, conflicted, intense and emotionally unstable, ”she adds.

The danger of this structure being installed lies in the fact that it leads to “quickly falling into nomenclatures that name”. “We have developed the need for a humanity that is organized like this, with nicknames and qualifiers. And it’s a mistake, people don’t walk around, they don’t put on the suit of good or bad. It interacts, it comes and goes.”



Nor is it something that affects us only when it comes to valuing the other, but rather it is a prejudice that “inhabits us”. “Sometimes we don’t want to take it out because it involves us, it gives us work or we are lazy. Until we don’t want to take charge and feel that it’s everyone’s problem, nothing changes”. Art is a way of lighting the fuse and the ‘weapon’ that the playwright uses here. The fourth wall is diluted looking for the public to feel appealed during the hour that the show lasts. “Wouldn’t you fuck her?” asks the man from the arena at a certain moment, with the girl in his arms.

Morena affirms that they have sought to make the bodies of the audience “feel dragged to their seats, the whip that there is in the spectators is quite important”. It was not an intention formulated from the first moment, but it was put together as they built the work and the rehearsals with the cast arrived. “We worked with the idea of ​​hunting with him as the predator and she as the prey,” she recalls. Bodies are also questioned from sexuality, about which Morena points out that “today there is a lot of confusion about sexual freedom, especially for young women.” The playwright considers that the focus should be on “revising patterns that are not right and we all know them. But not to choose to inhibit, repress or back down with respect to the sexual freedom of each one”.

Conversation to eradicate repression

Faced with questions that are still formulated in cases of sexual violence to blame the victims of the type “how did she leave” or “why was she dressed like that”, the work responds by pointing to the patriarchy. And also to the imposition of impossible beauty canons that generate frustration and an apprehended need for approval from the male gaze in order to be considered valid, beautiful, someone. A perverse behavior to the maximum expression for how it mixes false satisfaction, the feeling of control and blurs the impression of having power.

“These are issues to expose and talk about, not to eliminate or condemn them. At least it is my militancy, enough of repression. We have to add up”, she expresses, noting that precisely “talking” is something that we do less and less. But doing it “in a civilized way, which seems so easy and is a lie. People verbalize situations that they think they speak honestly about but it is the most difficult thing to achieve. “You have to regain your freedom and cheer up, because it is huge and it implies taking charge. Being free is a lot of effort, ”she defends.



fur dolls arrives in Madrid but his journey has not been easy. “We felt like we were splashing in the mud,” confesses Morena, because in the midst of a pandemic, releasing it became a complicated task that even involved justice. The family of the murdered young woman went to court because they did not want her name to appear in the work. From that episode, they reformulated part of the piece and managed to present it to the public. The parents tried to stop them again but the judge ruled in favor of the performance. The playwright shares that one of the reasons they alleged against her was that she did not “interview” with them. “It was a fiction and I did not want to generate any kind of implications. Everything was very strange ”, she exposes now that that problem has been corrected and that the proposal even enjoys an international tour with a stop in Spain.

Álvaro Armand Ugón, Sofía Lara and Mané Pérez are the protagonists of this drama whose greatest merit is not only pointing out a problem without leaving the option of putting on a blindfold; but it risks being explicit without falling into the sordid. He succeeds in combining the musical with words that make it angry to hear and scenes in which no one would ever want to be involved. Showing it is not free, but a political exercise that points out predators by showing their disgusting attitudes and faces without pixelating.



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