Queremos comunicarnos siempre por ruidos, en silencio, toqueteando en jerigonza, en veliche, en diaguita y en kawésqar, por canciones ajenas que se sacuden para nosotros de manera propia -indomesticadas, lejanas, resonantes- y que no sabemos seguir con nuestros ritmos pero sí con nuestras palabras cuando nos plantamos ante personas que como nosotros extranjeras viven ahí nomás donde están están, abiertas a escuchar otra cosa que pertenencias, instrumentos y aspiraciones en el habla de cada cual. Así fue que el sábado 7 de julio dos de los coeditores de Sangría, Mónica Ríos -en castellano chileno y en inglés gringo- y Carlos Labbé -en castellano chileno-, nos pusimos ante el público berlinés de la galería comunitaria berlinesa Kotti-Shop a presentar la dramaturgia bilingüe de Chueca / Partir y renunciar, Crooked / To Leave and Give Up, a escuchar cómo su autora Amelia Bande saludaba en alemán prusiano y en inglés gringo leía algunos fragmentos, cantaba a solas y luego en castellano chileno -acompañada por Francisca Villela y Felipe Castillo– sus canciones incluidas como partitura en las páginas de este Texto en acción número 7 de Sangría. El recuerdo de las emociones ofrece otra veladura cuando además hay que traducirlo, quizá se haga indeleble así de tanta ajenidad con que envuelve los actos propios. Sirvan de ejemplo el texto de la presentación de esa noche y, al final, el video de una de las canciones que Amelia cantó:




by Mónica Ríos

I read this text a few months ago when we presented this book in Chile. In Spanish, I thanked everybody who worked in the book on behalf of Sangría Editora: Carlos Labbé, my partner in life and work, Thomas Rothe, the translator, and Joaquín Cociña and Anette Knol for the cover. Today, I do that again: thank you all, and thank you Amelia for entrusting your work to us.

This text is an attempt to read Crooked and To Leave and Give up, for I am, before anything else, una lectora –a reader–: literature charges theater with a state where the paper and the letter are the body; and the body, the voice, sound, floor, walls, are all potentialities. But even in that state of latency, Amelia’s text is already permeated by tonality and music.

The characters in this book appear suspended in the unreality of the set; the parks are not places nor the apartments seem fit to dwell. They exist between the false walls and lightning; from the beginning we imagine them in a staticity, a kind of safety reinforced by fiction. Amelia’s dramaturgical strategy, in this sense, does not brew a portrait or an ideal representation. Instead, identification appears from this flatness. Indexed by a name, Tender, Travis, Flash, Bro, Baby, and Brain name the traits of these texts’ dramatic subjects, and nomination replaces the presence of the mouth that utters, the holes in the body and their resonances.

Barely present, the character has crossed herself out, and in its place she has left a cardboard with the shape of her body, sealing the holes where the ears were, following a defined hygiene. But, as readers we are able to see that just behind the cardboard-shaped body stands the character of flesh, bone, and text that is listening, looking away, scratching her ear.

There is some ingenuity attributable to the characters of Crooked and To Leave and Give up when they function as if the emotions did not exist; a make believe that, transformed under Amelia’s creative hand, makes them endearing. The text is the process of finding a body, or, better said, finding the location of a body that could, finally, match her name. “Your Christian name” traditional English theater asks, and makes us think about the modeling role of a name and of the nicknames that Bande puts to the test in her writing. Characters become translucent language, cultural influences, but also tongue, mouth, body.

The cardboards fall only at the sight of the apocalypse, as in the closing scene of To Leave and Give up, or in front of the death-drive that moves the character Flash in Crooked. The tragic is revealed as a stratagem of everyday life. The real tragedy in the works of Bande is the disappearance of Nene, the only character who is not a cardboard cutout. In the text, the name “Nene” is shadowed by a blank space that triggers the reader’s anxiety. This white void is, above all, the disappearance of the character that embodies the urgency of the situation; Nene sees but is mute while witnessing Bro’s addiction, Karsten’s silence, and Wise’s violence. It is possible that the void that follows Nene’s name in the text is not a transcription of what is impossible to say –as if it were, for example, a cat– but reveals our own inability to listen, our own cardboard-like quality that bans us from licking words, sticking in tongues, saliva, flesh into the ear, those objects that the transparency of the language we speak, we write, we read does not contemplate.