• Theater

BRU O EL EXILIO DE LA MEMORIA

By Amalá Saint-Pierre and Francisco Paco López – Colectivo Mákina Dos | Directed by Héctor Noguera

Chile

  • Spanish
  • 65 minutes
  • +13

A great visual artist, as seen through the - always young - eyes of her now-adult granddaughter. This is Bru, a story that reconstructs the life of an icon of Chilean art.


Actress, producer and cultural consultant Amalá Saint-Pierre was just a little girl when she used to hang around her grandmother’s workshop eating chocolate and watching her paint. This memory is part of Bru o el exilio de la memoria, a documentary theater piece about the life and work of outstanding Chilean-Catalan artist and National Visual Arts award winner Roser Bru, as seen through the eyes of her granddaughter.

Today, Roser Bru is 97 and her memory is fading. This production looks back at her life as a witness to key historical events. Memories, documents and images reconstruct her life - affected by the Spanish Civil War, her journey on the Winnipeg, her life in exile and the Chilean dictatorship - and highlight the connection between her art and political events.

The production is based on five paintings and a textile that Bru created for the UNCTAD III building – currently the GAM – that disappeared during the dictatorship. Amalá Saint-Pierre and Francisco Paco López, members of the Colectivo Mákina Dos, spent three years researching and developing this original idea and its script. Both of them star in the play, directed by Chilean National Performing Arts award winner Héctor Noguera.

Cast and crew


Directed by: Héctor Noguera | Assistant director and theatrical coadaptation: David Meneses | Original idea, script and performance by: Amalá Saint-Pierre and Francisco Paco López | Theatrical adaptation: Amalá Saint-Pierre, Francisco Paco López and David Meneses | Visual and projection design: Delight Lab | Musical score: Diego Noguera | Lighting designer: Ricardo Romero | Costume and prop creation: Nicoletta Fuentealba | Staging producer: Tommy López | Leaflet graphic design: Carla Labra | Leaflet photography: Cristián Navarro | Producer: Carolina Cabezas | Project financed by a 2019 FONDART grant for Chilean productions.

Héctor Noguera

Director

An undisputed role model for Chilean theater

This film, theater and television actor and teacher (Santiago, 1937) has had an impressive career, taking part in more than 120 productions. He began his career at the Catholic University’s Teatro de Ensayo, where he worked for 30 years as an actor, director and teacher. In the nineties, he founded Teatro Camino, a company that today has its own theater in the Peñalolén neighborhood. He’s well-known for his roles in legendary television series such as Sucupira and Machos and, in 2015, he won the Chilean National Performing Arts award.

© Miguel Navarro Ascorra

MákinaDos

The Company

On the hunt for new theatrical styles

Amalá Saint-Pierre and Francisco Paco López make up Colectivo Mákina Dos, created in 2015, which uses contemporary theatrical styles to contribute to the current theatrical scene in order to diversify and develop it. The group redefines its roles from project to project, since both members are, among other things, cultural consultants, producers, playwrights, actors and directors. Guest artists also take part in each project.

Amalá Saint-Pierre has a Masters in Theater Studies and a Masters in Intercultural Exchange (cultural administration), both from the Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle University. Francisco Paco López is an actor from the University of Chile, as well as a cultural consultant, producer and dance researcher. Both have careers spanning 15 years in different areas of the performing arts, both on and off stage. They’ve gained the recognition of their peers for their experience, ranging from theatrical creation (including playwriting, directing and acting) to production and cultural administration (in trade unions, institutions and independently).

“The production is full of visuals and sound, as well as the performers’ reflection and sensitivity, injecting new meaning into a biography that, in itself, already has a lot to say. [...] The two actors take us on a fascinating journey”.

Wikén Magazine, El Mercurio

“This production is a great piece of documentary theater. [...] These days, when we are so used to denying everything, endeavors like ‘Bru o el exilio de la memoria’ are comforting and provide a much-needed kind of education, going over the lessons learnt during the brutal twentieth century”.

El Mostrador

–It’s both a tribute to life and a good way of finding out more about the world of Roser Bru, one of the key names in Chilean art: a living treasure who survived some of the twentieth century’s most important events, such as a dual exile from the Spain of Primo de Rivera and Franco and life in Chile under Pinochet. She’s also had an enormous influence on the development of the Chilean visual arts, winning the national award for this discipline in 2015.

–The impressive team behind it was brought together by Amalá Saint-Pierre and Paco López from the Colectivo Mákina Dos. It also involves director Héctor Noguera; sound design by Diego Noguera, one of the most outstanding theater composers on the current scene and visual projections by the renowned artists of Delight Lab. In fact, one of this production’s high points is its visuality, using projections of photos and other records to successfully tell a really detailed story in a limited amount of time.

–It’s a really good example of documentary theater, a genre that goes back to the second half of the twentieth century, when there was an interest in bringing political and historical issues to the stage, thus blurring the lines between fiction and reality. This kind of theater not only uses documents but also collects testimonies, presenting not only the facts themselves but also a more intimate, touching and personal side to the story.

Roser Bru: This Chilean painter and engraver, winner of the National Visual Arts award in 2015, was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1923. In 1939, aged 16, she was one of the youngest passengers on the Winnipeg, a boat that arrived in Chile with refugees from the Spanish Civil War. In 1947, as a student at the School of Fine Arts, she was part of the Visual Arts Student Group, together with an emblematic number of her peers, such as José Balmes, Gracia Barrios, Guillermo Núñez, Juan Egenau and Gustavo Poblete. She joined Nemesio Antúnez’ iconic Taller de 99 in 1957. The common thread running through her work involves elements such as memory - its fragility and the inability to completely reconstruct it - as well as the marks left by social conflict and historical events such as war and torture. Her art incorporates drawings, intervened photographs, engravings and other objects of a material nature. She has won multiple awards both in Chile and abroad and has taught art, drawing and painting.

The Spanish Civil War: The biggest war in Europe following the First World War, this conflict began in 1936, pitting two sides against each other for almost three years: the nationalists - led by General Francisco Franco - who aimed to overthrow the government and the republicans, who wanted to preserve democracy. On April 1, 1939, Franco was declared victorious and set up a dictatorship that lasted until his death in 1975. This conflict led to the death of more than 700,000 people, with around 400,000 going into exile - mainly to France - and 220,000 leaving Spain for good.

Winnipeg: According to the Memoria Chilena site, given the fact that many Spaniards were forced into exile at the start of Franco’s dictatorship, the president of Chile at the time, Pedro Aguirre Cerda, promised his help in 1939 to bring a group of refugees to Chile. To help organize this, he named Pablo Neruda as consul for Spanish immigration in Paris, France, a country that itself welcomed around 400,000 exiles. On August 4, 1939, the Winnipeg, a cargo ship refurbished to carry more than 2,200 people, set sail from France to Valparaíso, arriving in Chile on September 3. Among those onboard were people such as José Balmes and Roser Bru, who ended up playing a fundamental role in the Chilean arts.

-Watch an interview with the stars of Bru o el exilio de la memoria on Bío-Bío TV when the play was premiered.

-Read ‘Reconstruyendo a Roser Bru’, the moving article in Wikén Magazine about the piece’s creative process.

-Take a look at the channel of Colectivo Mákina Dos’ on YouTube

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