“Marica somos todos.”
An interesting statement, that roughly translates as “we are all queer”. Yet read it again: apart from the literal meaning of Marica, deriving from Maricón, (meaning homosexual), the slogan of this one-man play hopes to dig a little deeper than that.
Marica is an epilogue to director Pepe Cibrian Campoy’s struggle for rights; an artistic outlet, through explaining and pondering on the death of a famous poet, writer, theatre director and role model: Federico Garcia Lorca.
But more than just a play, Marica is part of the real-life journey of creator and sole protagonist Pepe, whose campaigns for gay rights took him to the Senate prior to the passing of same sex marriage laws in Argentina in 2010.
“This homage to Federico is at the same time dedicated to all of those who, throughout the history of humanity, were sacrificed one way or another; for thinking and being different,” Pepe states in the programme.
Much controversy continues to surround Lorca’s death. It is widely believed that the Spanish poet was killed by a Marxist group on the brink of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 due to his outspoken liberal views. Some historians allege that his sexual orientation were a major reason behind his murder.
In his theatre work, Pepe attributes the death of Lorca to his political views and sexual orientation. Even still, the intricate text tampers and plays with this, questioning life, death, unrequited love and other people’s feelings toward Lorca (and Pepe himself) throughout the monologue.
The play is performed in one act, with Pepe playing all five characters: Federico Garcia Lorca, his father, mother, his murderer, and friend Salvador Dali. The script itself is very moving and can be unsettling in parts, for example, when the role of Lorca questions his death before it occurs (“Will they cry for me on the day that I die?”).
Each line in the play is detailed and poetic. In another moment, Lorca’s personal insecurities and feelings toward his killer are revealed: “Maybe he might have applauded or rejected one of my works or, what’s more probable is that he wouldn’t have even known who I was… I would want him to cry more for me, more than anybody, because of him I have cried more than ever in my life.”
Another particularly gripping scene surrounds Lorca’s killer and the poet having a full conversation before he is murdered.
The master acting by Pepe is what makes the show. He is able to draw passion, anxiety, sadness and emotion to the characters the whole way through the play and cleverly distinguish between them. Dressed simply in a white shirt and white trousers, with but one prop – a wooden chair – above the literal extremity and dramatic content of the story itself, Pepe manages to communicate across with intensity, the complexities of discrimination against people because they are different.
It is clear that this play embodies Pepe – who is as humble and down to earth off the stage as on it – and his personal views are displayed in a very sensitive fashion. Inside the small and intimate Teatro del Cubo – a beautiful and perfect venue for this play hidden the cobbled backstreets of the Abasto neighbourhood – were pictures of Lorca, collections from different periods of his life. The sense of adoration for the Spanish playwright and poet was clear.
The content hits close to home for all of the Argentines who waited so long for the homosexual marriage law to be approved in Argentina. Pepe is seen as a pioneer not just in the theatre world – he is one of Argentina’s biggest and most famous theatre directors and writers– but due to his efforts on spreading the message about gay rights.
With audience members including the likes of Maria Rachid, the former vice-president of the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism, and now legislator for the City government, it is clear to see that Pepe has influenced above and beyond the four walls of the theatre.
Having experienced the more musical side of Pepe Cibrian Campoy’s work as a writer and director in the world of Argentine theatre (including Dracula and Excalibur), it is refreshing to see a whole new side to his skills as an actor.
This play managed to delve deeper into the issues of homosexuality, society, feeling, overall being different and being discriminated against. Even if your Spanish is not fully up to scratch, it’s definitely worth a look into, especially if you’re a fan of Lorca.
My hat goes off to Pepe. This is a thought-provoking, wonderful production.