Director Didier Ruiz has been working with sensitive material for years, with real stories of people he helps to stage. Instead of actors, use anonymous people . He made his debut at El Grec in 2015 with this model of social, human and truth-filled theater that has already addressed the world of young people or transsexuals , among others.
In this Grec that looks to Africa, he presents a new proposal focused on first-generation African migrants. ‘Give my regards XXXVI. Je pense a vous’ , starting this Thursday at the CCCB theater , will feature nine participants of more than 70 years living in Barcelona.
They are seven men and two women from Cameroon, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana and Morocco; the first arrived in Spain more than 40 years ago. “To understand the present you have to go back to see the stories of others who have preceded us to see more clearly what is happening around us,” says Ruiz, a “third generation” French of Arab origin, in a more Catalan that’s right.
‘The house of the spirits’ comes to life in El Grec
“This proposal is different from the others of ‘Give my regards’. It is more political because it talks about the emigration of Africans who have had to leave their country.” Something we see on the news. “In the last six months, the number of deaths among people trying to reach Europe through the Mediterranean has doubled. The sea that was the cradle of civilizations has become a great grave,” laments the director.
Their stories speak of exile, hence the title of the show ‘Je pense a vous’ (‘I think of you’) . But also invisibility. “If they all have something in common, it is that feeling of invisibility. One of the participants is very happy with this experience because she has no one to talk to, no one to listen to her. They live in isolation,” says the director, for whom this problem is much more widespread than we think.
“It doesn’t matter the color of your skin or where you come from, the street is full of invisible people, even in the Eixample . Invisibility is a consequence of this society that makes us pay more attention to the telephone every day. In the subway, who? look? Nobody. “
“In these productions, people go on stage without a script to talk about themselves. For me this is the theater of humanity!”
His intention with ‘Give him memories’ is to give a voice to people that we don’t normally see on stage. That is why its protagonists are not professional actors. This type of theater does not need a text or script. “My job is to give them some clues so that they go to the essentials when they speak to the public.”
For Ruiz, calling this type of project ‘document theater’ is wrong. “I don’t like the term ‘community theater’, which is used here to define my work, nor do I like ‘documentary theater’, as they call it in France. In these productions, people go on stage without a script to talk about them For me this is the theater of humanity! “His company is called La Compagnie des Hommes for nothing.
“It is a danger to want to limit my work when my intention has always been to expand and open doors.” Ruiz began to investigate this type of theater 22 years ago and this new proposal is number 36 of the series ‘Give him memories’.