Valiente returns to the family world with the comedy “Amnesia”

Valiente returns to the family world with the comedy “Amnesia”

We rarely think about the last period of life we ​​have to go through, those years when body and mind deteriorate. Amnesia, a bittersweet comedy by Argentine writer-director Nelson Valiente, focuses specifically on that stage, which opens tomorrow at TNC’s Sala Petita with a wonderful cast: Mercy Aranega, Marcia Cestero, Miriam Escla, Joan Negri, Victoria Pages and the youth. Bill Russell.

“Being in this theater and with this crew is like working with Barcelona at its best,” says Valente, who has had a relationship with Catalonia for years, having premiered or directed dozens of productions since first arriving at his company. He presented El loco y la camisa in 2012. His creations connected with the Catalan audience, who by the way almost sold out Amnesia tickets before the curtain rose. It’s 84% ​​sold out, so hurry if you don’t want to miss out.

In a state of amnesia, the family matriarch’s dementia forces her three children to think about what they are doing with “Mama.” As in many of his works, the audience will spend most of their time laughing but in the end their smile will freeze. On this occasion, memory plays an important role in the plot drawn by this expert in the anatomy of a broken family. “It’s the only family I know,” he admits.

Veteran actress Mercy Aranega plays a mother living in a country cabin, and although sometimes she’s in her own world and can say anything, other times she’s very present and spews out truths like fists. “The person who is most detached from reality is the person who offers the most insightful view of this family catastrophe,” Aranega says.

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His imaginary children are Victoria Pages, the first born, an overworked woman who makes a good living and usually visits her mother twice a year. The actress says: “My character does not deny his origins, but he has left his childhood relegated to a corner of his memory and distanced himself from his family environment. When the problem arises, he lacks the emotional tools.” Miriam Escla plays the middle daughter, a woman who is “a bit lost and has created a bond of dependency with the mother who lives with her and takes care of her.” His decision to change this dynamic that was already going well for the rest of the family is going to upset everything.

Juan Negri is the youngest son who “left home to succeed and managed to survive” and who features the character of his wife, played by Marcia Sestero. “She is a tireless woman who complements her husband’s insecurities,” says the actress. Rounding out the cast is Bill Russell, the eldest daughter’s young friend, who brings an outside perspective to the relationships between family members.

From tragedy to comedy

For Iscla, working with Valiente was interesting. “I thought it was really cool because we went through all the drama in rehearsals to be able to do this comedy. We go first into the darkest pit of the play, and from there, from that cushion, we build the comedy without falling into caricature.”

Negrié – like Arànega – had already worked with him before on Els gossos, his first text translated into Catalan, which premiered at La Villarroel and also with most of the actresses who had collaborated on some productions or co-productions of Sala Trono de Tarragona. It is a project that the actor has championed with cloak and sword for 20 years. “This is the most ambitious co-production we have done since Sala Trono, which champions theatrical productions from outside the capital with all the difficulties that entails,” notes Negrier. Next season, in the fall, the work will be seen in Tarragona and will tour Catalonia.

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Personal memory as well as collective memory plays an important role in the work. He points out, “I am from a country that has done some exercises on its memory and what happened, but sometimes it loses its memory and repeats some mistakes.” Since things of this type also occur in Spain, the text includes references to Federico García Lorca. The text also talks about “how to process memories in a family that doesn’t quite know what to do with them.” Memory loss will resonate with anyone who has been close to or experienced the difficult situation of facing parents who can no longer provide for themselves.

Valente, one of the most successful Argentine authors in Spain, feels so at home in Barcelona that he is looking for an apartment to settle there. Your country has changed since 56% of people voted for Javier Miley in the last election. “Further than one might think, there is now in Argentina an ideology that is incompatible with compassion,” Valente comments. He criticizes, “The new Argentine policy is to boycott culture. The National Theater Institute has no money and they are trying to do the same with the National Film Institute. This attack on culture is outdated and ridiculous.”

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