Live sexist violence in the first person through theater

It is not the same to hear it from outside than to experience it in the first person. It has more impact if the aggression is against oneself, if the injustice is towards a loved one or if the life with which the violence ends is that of someone close. For this reason, from Hortzmuga Teatroa they thought that the best way for the public to know first-hand and empathize with real stories of sexist violence was through an experiential artistic format. That is, making them participants in each of the stories instead of impassive spectators.

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This is how they created Memoria Eraikiz – Flores en el asfalto, a theater that unites dance, sounds and lighting and takes the audience to the moment in which each of the seven protagonists suffered their macho aggression. To achieve greater involvement from the audience, each of them is placed on hospital stretchers, looking at the ceiling and wearing headphones to be able to hear each of the voices of these women who tell their story one by one. In this way, the public is a witness to the suffering, helplessness and, sometimes, salvation of the protagonists.

“We have put ourselves in the shoes of these women because we find it interesting to make the public experience a sensation that approximates the sensation of tension, that uncertainty and that continuous fear that the victims experience. The objective was for them to live the stories in their own flesh. The audience that arrives knows that they are going to hear some harsh stories, but they do not expect that they will be part of the story. Many tell us that seeing the play is the first time they feel violated. There is an atmosphere of tension as you enter that all people perceive it. There is no one who has left indifferent or who has said that he has not been stirred at least a little. That is the main objective, that you do not leave the same way that you have entered “, he assures this newspaper Nerea Lorente, member of Hortzmuga Teatroa.

Each visitor is given a pass containing a number. That number corresponds to one of the 28 hospital stretchers on which they will have to lie down. While they listen to the protagonists, a dancer dressed as a doctor walks through each of the stretchers. He stares at some, moves the stretcher of others to the center of the room and performs dances with a white cloth that show the suffocation and corneredness that these women experience in these types of situations.

“The public gets to feel fear and tension”

Among the stories that are told, always anonymously although some of them are recognizable due to the media nature of their cases, stands out a young woman whom her mother calls her “sick” at age 14 for having told her that she liked girls. a woman charged with the attempted abortion of a child she did not want to have or a mother who was asked during the trial for the murder of her daughter if she was a flirt. All of them are part of the investigation ‘Flowers on the asphalt’ that compiles 28 testimonies of victims of sexist violence of different types carried out by the NGO Mugarik Gabe.

As Lorente explains, despite the fact that most of the people who come to see this play are women, many of the men who have visited them are surprised. “They tell us that they feel fear and tension. Being prostrate on a stretcher makes them helpless and scares them not knowing where the performance is going to come from or in what way the performance is going to happen. That is the key to this format”, details.

“We have collected seven stories trying to show different sexist violence. You cannot talk about all of them and you cannot tell all of them, but you can narrate different types of violence such as psychological, physical, sexual or institutional. It seems important to us to visualize all of them because there are some that are very obvious, while others are so subtle that we even have them standardized “, indicates Lorente.

Hortzmuga Teatroa has been working with social, controversial and transformation stories for more than 30 years. “What makes us create the stories that we tell through theater are social stories. We use theater for transformation because we understand that they are stories that need to be told. What we seek in our formats is that people live it, be a public that actively participates in the show and returns home in a different way after having seen the show “, Lorente concludes. At the moment the work has been represented in different towns and cities in the Basque Country and Navarra, but it will soon be available in Valladolid and they do not rule out visiting more communities in the rest of the country.


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