Memories of «Carmen Flor» in Sauto Theather.
A book opens its pages and begin to sprout little pictures that link the narrations and songs of «Carmen Flor de los Recuerdos», the main character recreated by the actress Fara Madrigal, director of the group Tentempié, in a one-woman show of her own authorship, whose premiere was on the stage of the Sauto Theather, a National Monument.
The evocation of her grandmother, of the cities where the actress herself was born and lives, written in verse and prose, with an autobiographical thread, linking objects, classic stories, songs of yesteryear, together with the main thing, the experiences of youth and adulthood, reflections of love and respect for elders and family without losing the tender and innocent nuance of childhood.
Through sand theatre, the mysterious relationship between the spectators and the artist is created in this performance, when the children clap and laugh with the sleepy cockerel who lives near the famous bridge of the Yayabo River, enumerate the Yumurian streets from the top of Guachinango to the bay, while the parents clap their hands and chant the songs they have shared over the years.
Or they shudder at the legends of the young girl who became the seagull of San Juan by enchantment, or the hummingbird that faced a terrible fire, spraying water with its beak in ceaseless flight, to «do its part» as she told to the Sun.
An old rocking chair and a chest also hold memories that come to light like the moon on dark nights or the old and lonely doll that in the end is cradled by many friends.
When the actress was asked about what touched her most about the show, she replied:
«The main emotion has been the reaction of the audience, the attention of children and adults. Some people say that the kids don’t know, but I think they do. This is a play designed for the family, based on my memories.
«I believe that we are in times when the family relationship has to be united, grandparents, who are sometimes forgotten, have to be loved very much.
«It is a tribute to my grandmother, who died many years ago, and it was magical that the first verses she taught me were dedicated to Matanzas: ‘Pinto a Matanzas confusa, las cuevas de Bellamar…’ and look where I live.
«You can see that the public assimilates the message, including the children, even if it’s not ‘by spoonfuls’ and that response makes me happy.»
In the production, the award-winning visual artist Alexander Rodríguez participates as an advisor, who said:
«I provide support to the actress to make her acting performance viable. We study the music, we set the guidelines. We have been working together and have been friends for three decades, and so the idea arose spontaneously, given the need for her to show other aspects.
«In the show there are suggestive allusions to her life story and to the people who have had a bond with her, so that more than a play that expresses love for the elderly, calling for the conservation of the highest values, it turns out to be a piece, a » mirror of her own existence.
«I don’t see her showing a fictional character, but transposing experiences to the stage, in tribute also to the personalities who in her artistic career contributed to her formation. Fara shows off her histrionic, radio-influenced , with a mastery of different voices, as a gift to her audience».
The costumes for Carmen Flor de los Recuerdos were inspired by the creative designer Juan Carlos Jiménez. About his conception he said:
«I was inspired by the costumes, the fantasy of the character Carmen Flor de los Recuerdos, with her favourite colour: mauve, the shade of the orchid, and that’s how I conceived the costume, with unfolded sleeves. As for the headdress, I put handmade flowers on it, with fabrics painted in different shades of violet and sepia to resemble nature.
«Then I created the theatrical elements for the performance and managed to make them small, because they go inside a normal-sized book, which the actress takes out one by one in each narration, as well as other figurative complements».
This beautiful evocative look of the actress Fara Madrigal, in a rounded and different character, will allow her to spread her wings and fly to the stage, where her acting charm is fully manifested.
Photos Courtesy of Sauto Theatre 2023
Written by María Elena Bayón.