To continue from the root
What is the grain or the very first root that makes one continue?
Why does one start doing what he does? Why does one continue?
Besides other -less conscious- experiences in the past, my meeting with the work of Teatro de los Sentidos and Enrique Vargas (1) is a big reason for me to continue whatever performing arts could be. Many of the insights that where shared in collaboration are inscribed in my personal library that is my body in total. So, I would love to invite you, Enrique Vargas Gutierrez, around my table. I hope you can make it. And I hope you will bring along a lot of the former and present collaborators of the company.
Enrique grew up in the countryside, in an indian village in Columbia. There was the listening to stories around the fire. There was a traveling circus that came once a year. Market day in town was great because each vendor had a special way of selling and presenting... .
One day I asked Enrique what in life makes him do the work he does:
‘For sure the games I played when I was a child and the mysteries I sensed when I was young. I made labyrinths under covered trees in the woods, I created little territories with pillows and blankets under my friend Alvaro’s bed and table... . So, I used to play a lot’, he says: ‘And my mother would let me play. When you go under a coffee tree, you make a little hut. And if you open the walls of the coffee tree, you’re in the next and the next. And you make little paths. I wanted to hide from my big brother, because I wanted to go to a creek that I was not allowed to. But if I made a path through the trees, then I could go anywhere. And my brother would chase me, because he found the same path. So, I learned to make separate little paths... so he would get lost. After a while, after years of doing that, it was hard to find me. On Sunday, I would make games for the other kids: my cousins which came to visit me. And we could play forbidden games and go to forbidden places, because we knew how to make a labyrinth.’
‘And when I went to school, to theatre school, I said to a teacher: ‘Listen, I want to create a labyrinth like this’. And he said: ‘Enrique, get serious. This is a theatre school’. It was not until may years later... . Well, it took me twenty years to create the first labyrinth in theatre.’
‘I always wanted to find that same amazement again later on, also in my theatre work. In Teatro de los Sentidos, our affinity is how close we are to our childhood games. Our relation to a good childhood game could be one of the main things that brings us together. I think our job as theatre makers is to construct games. We have a toy shop. And we open up for the questions that arise in these games.’
(1) Enrique Vargas is artistic director and founder of the company ‘Teatro de los Sentidos’. I started working with them in 1999. They provided my very first professional experience in the performing arts Their view and the way of working is my theme in most of what I do, apparent or latent. They are based in Barcelona now and they do have a website: www.teatrodelossentidos.com