Written by 4:00 pm Art

Agnieska Hernández: “I attempt to sow a poetic seed that helps us to be more tolerant….”

She is a director, playwright, poet, screenwriter and narrator. She works at the top of the La Franja Teatral interdisciplinary team, where she investigates and puts on works of documentary dramaturgy of which she can be the creator.

The Closest Farthest Away, Strip-tease, El año de Kalhil Madoz, Los días raros, El deseo Macbeth: fiesta documental, Harry Potter: se acabó la magia  (documentary academy), Anestesia, voces urbanas, Kfé verde pero dulce, Personal training para subirnos la autoestima, Jack the Ripper: no me abraces con tu puño levantado, El gran disparo del arte, Made in china (entrenamiento de soledad), Los pájaros negros de 2020: training de razas and El diario de Ana Frank (apnea del tiempo), are a few of her texts which were delivered to the stage in Cuba.

In 2016 she received the Critics’ Award for her book Documental de amenazas: posible dramaturgia, from the Tablas Alarcos publishing house. She can be the creator of the volumes Se cambian objetos por historias personales; short stories, 2016, Loynaz publishers, and San Lunes (panóptico en dos estaciones); novel, 2009, Caja China publishers, amongst others.

Your skilled resume doesn’t state date or place of origin. Tell us about yourself. How and when did the vocation for writing arise? Inspiring first readings, individuals who stimulated or not your vocation. Does the vocation exist or is it a bit of the identity construction process?

Pinar del Río, 1977. I all the time lived with my grandparents. I loved them each, difficult them. I didn’t know that they were old, but they lifted me up just like the old Simeon lifts the kid in Rembrandt’s painting. My grandmother had first grade and my grandfather had taken a course on the La Conchita canned sweets factory. My house and college were only separated by a chain-link fence. I made a hole within the fence in order that I could enter and leave the 2 spaces at any time. The teachers leaned out to drink water and commenced to congratulate my grandparents and ask their permission in order that I could attend competitions and contests. The teachers, in the event that they were going to be absent, left me the category plans.

My grandparents helped me get in every single place on time. Sometimes my grandmother took me. I didn’t know that she was old, but I suspected it because she was very strict. Sometimes my grandfather took me, after having had a shot of rum, but totally magnanimous, respectful and protective. They might wait for me on the sidewalk, in front of the Provincial Library. They listened to me read, sing, give my opinion, with enormous attention. I used to be a freckled little devil who didn’t give them even a moment of peace, but at 6 pm I might sit within the doorway to read piles of books that I don’t even understand how they got to my house. I feel it was my grandfather who rescued Noches blancasPobre genteLas viñas de la iraLas aventuras de Tom SawyerLa Cartuja de ParmaEl hombre mediocre and T.S Eliot from the trash. I fell in love with a verse by Brecht: “… I appear to be the one who carries a brick to indicate the world what his house was like.”

It was that. My wood roof, my trees, my grandparents accompanying me to look at the films, my bush of mamoncillo macho decorated with glass, my secret path to flee to the Galiano stream filled with rot, pig intestines floating within the water, the mud cake that I could make within the rain, the yellow flowers on a tree that never had leaves, the sparrows falling from the ceiling to my bed, the bird’s nests, the arecas to cover, my chewing gum made on the grime of my hands when it’s mixed with the flower of the Itamo Real. It was a jungle to awaken all of the imagination of a woman, and likewise, I discovered a water faucet that was hidden within the second garden and the water tasted like Butterfly Jazmine flowers.

I felt like I couldn’t let any of that go. On daily basis I enjoyed my patio wanting to freeze those moments. I read eagerly and each afternoon I picked Maravilla flowers. The phrases that I marked within the books took hold of me. At any time when the chance arose, I might go to my mother’s work on the Provincial Court. I actually enjoyed spending time with my mother and learned to type to assist her write official documents that were inserted into inmate files. I exercised a complete protocol to move information to the lawyers’ tables. Nothing made me more curious than crimes. I became invisible so as to spy on the trials and my mother explained to me that I couldn’t enter some trials that were behind closed doors.

The Court was a really special place, with marble stairs, and every part seemed a bit labyrinthine to me. Handcuffed men waiting for the judicial process were all the time seated on the benches within the corridors. They played balloons with me, handcuffed, and the policeman guarding them also played. Perhaps that’s the reason I used to be so impressed once I read the chronicle “El Cristo de Munckácsy,” by José Martí. Someday I discovered that there was a small bookstore within the basement of the Court, and I started to spend hours there. My mother bought me all of the books that I liked, although later that economic issue cost numerous fatigue. My mother’s calligraphy is gorgeous.

And speaking of identity. Broadly speaking, how do you define yourself? What are you? How do you’re thinking that you project yourself? How would you prefer to be?

Restless, but calm. Basic matters comparable to sleeping and eating trouble me and that the body imposes elemental times of life on me with which I cannot negotiate since the day only has 24 hours, and it is rarely enough for me. I really like being a lady and, like Simone, you learn to be one. Maternal with my daughter and with all the youngsters and young individuals who could also be near me. Very concerned concerning the marginality that’s spreading at full speed through our societies, concerned concerning the enormous defects that I detect in education and indignant concerning the economic, ethical and cultural shortcomings of every kind, which every single day have worse consequences for the generations which are still being formed. I simply wish that the day-to-day in our country was not fraught with a lot burden as a life-style and that we are able to heal just a little.

You’re employed various literary genres. Namely, poetry, narrative, playwriting. Are you able to toggle all of them? Do you go from one to the opposite naturally? On the whole, poetry is a genre for introspection, while theater, as a stage event, is designed for collective experience. How do you understand that this or that creative impulse demands one genre for its development and never one other? Based on the eye you’ve received from critics, do you’re thinking that that the playwright Agnieska overpowers the poet and narrator?

I am going to poetry almost every single day and I actually have dared to indicate it for a really short time. I all the time have a notebook, the dictionary, where I make poetic notes and I take the time to arrange each loose note well, because poetry is the generous mother that sustains all genres afterwards. Every thing is poetry first. When I would like to dramatically advance without losing power within the theater word, I am going to my poetry notebooks and take it to pieces. Poetry defends us from long investigations that want to totally enter the pieces or the narrative. Poetry defends us from naturalistic dialogues. At this moment I dedicate more time to textual and spectacular playwriting, that are very different. I explore my possibilities from stage direction and other genres advance in parallel. I all the time have three Word documents open. I don’t turn off the pc. I cook and write. I rehearse with the actors and write. I check my daughter’s homework and write. I dye my hair and with the dye on, I write. I not wait for the best time of concentration since it doesn’t exist.

When did you permit Cuba for the primary time? What were your strongest impressions of that trip? Did it change your perception of the world in any way?

2008, London. Impressive, delicious. It scared me loads that the books, the magazines and the data were in real time. I got so scared that I dropped a magazine announcing a concert for the following day because I got so used to outdated information that the commitment to take part in life in real time scared me. I cried within the garden of the Museum of Natural Sciences. Topics that our youngsters take years to learn, or topics that we only learned after a semester in Medicine, can be found there in a funny and didactic way for a European child to know in a single Sunday. I put my hand on a column within the Museum to feel the effect of gravity. London was a primary fresh air. In London I discovered a handle that you are attempting to show and the movement is rarely what you expect. Below the handle an inscription clarifies: “Nothing is for certain except even a simplest system may show unpredictable signs of changes.”

In the primary quarter of this 12 months, two performances along with your texts coincided on the Havana scene: Los pájaros negros de 2020: training de razas y El diario de Ana Frank (apnea del tiempo).  In the primary case you were also the director. They’re two pieces where I notice, despite their marked differences, a certain aspiration to the so-called total theater. Is it so? I saw that in each cases the general public reacted enthusiastically. Critics too?

I’m the one who thanks the general public and the critics for the reception of those pieces. I thank them for Ana and Shirley Temple, for Bill Robinson or the seeds of Mary Prince, for the raceless skin they delivered to hug George Floyd and the youngsters of the Lazaretto. But I thank them mainly because they find the works regardless that they will not be yet published and do many beautiful things with them. These last pieces have been a life lesson. Each book and each bit construct their very own circulation or their ideal reader. Something within the pieces belongs to the creator or director and to the team that raises and organizes them, but that have that you just take from the dust of the road and from the collective documentary that each one of us have been since we were born, love, exchange, hurt and live, that documentary part people discover it immediately, it belongs to them and you may’t put it aside just in case someday, just in case a publisher, just in case a book….

I’m also very grateful to the translators who’ve already approached and to the professors of Latin American and Caribbean Studies from various universities who today give importance to those small texts that we make from our geography.

“Jack The Ripper.” Carlos Pena Laurencio.
“Jack The Ripper.” Carlos Pena Laurencio.

In what way does your theater take part in the acute debates of latest Cuba?

Cuba is all the time in our pieces, even when these will not be easy times to determine poetic dialogue with a society where there are notable material and communicative deteriorations, and multiple layers, stigmas, open wounds, and it will not be easy to receive the general public and forget who it’s on this moment. I attempt to sow a poetic seed that helps us to be more tolerant or less racist or that helps us to look. Identification could terrify us, Aristotle. Or commiseration. If the theater cannot resemble its time, or if the theater couldn’t open its arms to know and offer a human opportunity to know our societies in real time, then the theater would function entertainment for just a little while after which it could be superfluous.

“Los pájaros.” Pedro Rojas and Lulu Piñera. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee. 
“Los pájaros.” Pedro Rojas and Lulu Piñera. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.
“Los pájaros.” Pedro Rojas, Carlos Morales and Frank Cuesta. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.
“Los pájaros.” Pedro Rojas, Carlos Morales and Frank Cuesta. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.

I’m going to call two renowned teachers: Harold Pinter and Raquel Carrió. How was your learning experience with them?

My top notch with Raquel Carrió. I expected that class, but a copious meal of meats in strawberry sauce caused me to have appendicitis and the matter got complicated for a few weeks until they managed to revive my cerebrospinal fluid pressure. So, I missed teacher Raquel’s first classes. When she had me in front of her, together with two or three complications presented by my classmates, she dismissed us all in order that we might have a while to think if we were really going to trouble to jot down. All of us, in front of Raquel, appeared like a band of absent bums. I used to be very afraid that Raquel wouldn’t give us classes. Because Raquel is incredible and should you don’t undergo her classes you’ll find yourself within the theater with duplicate characters, without learning internal and external structure and without grammatical synthesis for all times.

Harold Pinter, when he gave us a lecture on the Royal Court Theater, asked concerning the Cuban playwright and concerning the playwright from Morocco. Raquel Carrió and Harold Pinter were already immense teachers once I saw them for the primary time. Calm and friendly voices that had already come back from the vices and evil of the world, and when those teachers look you in the attention they see your life and know whether it is true that you just are keen about writing.

With Harold Pinter. Agnieska, just behind the teacher, in a black blouse with white buttons. Royal Court Theater, spring 2008. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.
With Harold Pinter. Agnieska, just behind the teacher, in a black shirt with white buttons. Royal Court Theater, spring 2008. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.

Is it true that actors are “difficult” beings? How is your relationship with them?

It’s an ill-founded myth, perhaps, in small, televised egomania. Well-trained actors and young actors are extraordinary people, used to working in collective territories. After they like a creative process they grow amazingly from someday to the following, as nobody else can. For actors to access all of the vehicles on the stage, you’ve to know the best way to offer them the center point where you guide them — never blindly — and likewise leave them free. Communication in clear, easy terms is significant, while they are attempting multiple mixtures based on frailty; respectfully suggesting that they struggle what you already know they might have a likelihood to do and difficult them with a new version of themselves.

But, mainly, you’ve to understand how they’re before they arrive on stage, either to rehearse or to increase to the general public. Then it will be significant to separate little by little and easily accompany them, entrust yourself to them, listen fastidiously to their perspective as an actor, as an individual and as a generation. You’ve to know that every single day will not be the identical or else the theater wouldn’t be alive and you’ve to know that the energy of an actor is deposited in one other actor and together they achieve the actual rhythm of every session. Never get uninterested in asking them to listen and observe the remainder of the team. Sometimes they’re so focused on the scene to come back that they forget that one in all the secrets to appearing alive on stage is solely staying tuned.

“El gran disparo del arte.” From left to right, Pedro Rojas, Edgar Avalle, Amalia Gaute and César Domínguez. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.
“El gran disparo del arte.” From left to right, Pedro Rojas, Edgar Avalle, Amalia Gaute and César Domínguez. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.

What will be expected from Agnieska in the approaching months? Is there a long-cherished project that, for one reason or one other, resists you? Do you ought to speak about it?

I’m seduced by the piece that’s yet to be explored, the one which I still have no idea. I’m trying without delay to blur an increasing number of the boundaries between the disciplines. I’m keen about every part theatrical when it’s alive and an untrained part is saved that began today. Leaving the general public a poetic key and forgetting at times about having all of the stage control. Because now we have been more trained to manage the art than to dream from the possible arts. I already need to explore other poetic territories through which I actually have been working.

Share with us your poem that best expresses you.

Are available in, the door is open,

wet from bleaching this time without seeing you

that makes me stammer words.

Tell me about yourself, I lived in an old house.

But on the ceiling the wood made drawings.

My dead. I put my arm.

After they stopped respiration, go deeper

once they stopped respiration,

I believed I finished respiration too.

You and the ocean. I imagine you in the ocean. How shocking.

This weather makes me excited along with your waves.

Why are we going to lie, it has not been really easy

neither to purchase, or exhibit, or publish, or expect,

neither to trust or to comprehend.

The tip can’t be blunt. Nor the spear.

Why are we going to lie, it has been excellent to jot down,

share the sign, sew and undo,

zigzag these lines.

Bursting from the middle out.

Explode all of the forces, the centripetal ones.

Wait, I light a cigarette,

ultimately it’s just concerning the rhythm and someday I’m going to quit.

As in life, at the moment you can not turn out to be a balcony,

the sun

almost overwhelming.

At this hour I escape to the last step.

The ladder supports me.

No, the reality is, it could possibly’t even support me.

Happiness has been all that might be born

in those baths with guava leaves that I give myself

because sometimes I’m a dog with rabies.

I missed you. Yes, I missed you.

At this hour it will not be possible to turn out to be a balcony

Tell me about you, salty or with sugar.

The waves, how do you want them?

Little ones, or in a tsunami.

At this hour, bring me waves,

please. Go deeper.

OnCuba Staff

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