Why do I write? I don’t really know. Perhaps I write because I believe in the power of stories. In their importance. They are important for the people who write them and for the people who listen to them. Author and spectator embark on an uncertain journey towards a place they had never thought of going to. The more uncertain the journey, the better it gets. It is more frightening, but more things are discovered. I find it hard to talk about myself in depth. I suspect that when I do so, I only manage to vaguely scratch the surface. Perhaps that is why I write plays. It is much easier for me to talk via the mouth of someone else, via the words, the gestures and the stories of someone else. Perhaps it’s a way of hiding yourself, of showing yourself and hiding yourself at the same time. It’s a curious profession –simultaneously shameless yet timid, cowardly yet risky, humble yet vain– this one of writing. One writes in absolute solitude yet in contrast the words are revived in the emotions of someone who doesn’t know you. And we playwrights are loners who do not want to be completely alone: we seek actors, an audience presence, a shared experience. Today there are very few places in the world where an experience like this can be shared. Seeing theatre, good theatre, is like seeing the sea or the forest, or the sunrise. Observing human beings telling their stories we become more aware of our tininess. Of our defects, virtues, desires, fears, wonders and limitations. Of life and of the death that surrounds us all. We once more become that ancient tribe that shares a story in the present, a story that reminds us of how miniscule our place is within the universe. Listen, learn, share experiences, transmit them, establish links and complicities, open that door to the world so that, later, at the solitude of the desktop, we can return to silence, to words.
Helena Tornero Brugués (1973) holds a bachelor’s degree in Tourism from the UdG and is a graduate in Directing and Playwriting from the Higher School of Dramatic Art at the Institut del Teatre in Barcelona. She currently also forms part of the ESAD management team as head of the Speciality in Directing and Playwriting. For theatre she has written, among others: Submergir-se en l’aigua (SGAE Award 2007), Suplicants (2008), Apatxes (14 d’Abril Award 2009), De-sideris. Looking for happiness? (Teatre de Ponent, 2010), No parlis amb estranys (2013), F/M (devil is alive and well) (2015), Fascinación (Lope de Vega Award 2015), El Futur (2019), Demà (Sala Beckett, 2020), Nosaltres/A nosotros nos daba igual (Teatro Español/TNC, 2021) and Paraíso Perdido (Festival Grec, 2022). She has also written the libretto of Je suis Narcissiste (2019), an opera that won an Alícia Award from the Catalan Music Academy, being runner-up of the Max Awards and the International Opera Awards. Some of her works as a stage director include: No parlis amb estranys (TNC, 2013), Achicorias (Àtic 22, 2015), Una conferència ballada (Mercat de les Flors, 2016), Kalimat (TNC, 2016), Délivre-toi de mes désirs (Festival Mousson d’Été, 2017), Estiu (Teatre Maldà, 2017), El Futur (TNC, 2019), A té Scufunda in apa (Teatrul Ariel, Romania, 2019), Comme une chienne sur un terrain vague (Festival Mousson d’été, 2019), Antígona, una tragèdia antigota (Teatre Lliure, 2020) and Romeu i Julieta (Pàrquing Shakespeare, 2022). She has often worked with young people in theatre workshops or artistic projects: the Ponent Youth Company at the Teatre de Ponent in Granollers, the Un dia al TNC programme at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, the EN RESIDÈNCIA project by Barcelona City Council, Festival La Mousson d’Hiver and Festival Regards Croisés in Grenoble.
She is a founding member of PARAMYTHÀDES, a group of performing arts professionals who have run dance, theatre and music workshops for children and young people at refugee camps in Greece. Within this context, she wrote the adaptation of Kalimat (2016) based on eye-witness reports from the refugee camp of Nea Kavala – premiered at the TNC as part of a social project – and Trees never get tired (2017), premiered at the Policastro Theatre (Tessalònica) with a cast formed by people from the region and people awaiting refugee status originating from Syria, Iraq, Eritrea and Somalia, among others.
In November 2023, she will publish the French version of F/M (devil is alive and well), with a translation by Laurent Gallardo, in Les Éditions Théâtrales – Jeunesse
Head Under Water
Inspired by true events and based on a news item in the press, the author creates a fictional tale where Thomas, a young manipulator, and Stefan, a vulnerable and highly self-conscious young man, decide to find a victim in order to take out all their frustrations. The work puts some of the most common problems that young people and, by extension, society have today on the table. Immigration, collective intolerance, social exclusion, parent-child relationships in our consumer society with its violence hidden behind not-so-poorly viewed behaviours and customs are some of the themes of this story which talks about parallel worlds that are apparently destined not to understand each other.
Fascination (Latin) 1. f. Delusion or hallucination. 2. f. Irresistible attraction.
They work all day long. A stressful, committed, misunderstood job. But three nights a week they meet there and dance. Cha-cha-cha. Rumba. Waltz. Dance classes for all. Paid for by the company. Pasodoble. Bolero. Salsa. Because the company loves them. The company is like a big family. A big family united by the same idea. And families will do anything to stay united. Fox-trot. Tango. Nothing can alter the family harmony. Swing. Nothing. One, two, three, Mambo.
Fascinación is a text that is read with the rhythms and movements of bodies that dance. That try to dance, despite their minds, fears and prejudices. Because the body does not deceive. The mind does, however, and a great deal. Ideas are barriers, walls, frontiers. The body, however, always goes one step further. The body moves. The body dances. The gesture always ends up revealing those stories that the mind tries so hard to hide.
Winner of the 2015 Lope de Vega Prize.