interview with Constanza Macras
new style of work, did you have to struggle much in the early part of your
Yes, I did struggle, the struggle
goes on in different ways, even now I struggle, for other things or on
a different level. Working as a free company within big structures
and without "belonging" to any production house but producing with them
can get quite complicated. There are a lot of political fights in the cultural
scene in Berlin that I refuse to make my world. Before, I did not have
any structure behind me, or subventions but I kept on working. It took
a while for the critics, the producers and the jury that gives subventions
to take the work seriously, that had more to do with me than the work itself.
If I was a man with glasses doing the same thing, I would have to struggle
Where it made a difference was
conforming to a company of people that decided to make a commintment
to me themselves and the kind of work we do. That gives me a lot more energy
to face a system that still is male dominated - which one is not?!
Also, thank god the 90's are over.
The kind of work that ruled in Europe then was about commending performances
about the self absorption of the European artistes watching himself - mostly,
sometimes herself - performing.
conceive a piece, you evolve it over the years. Don’t you get tired of
There are subjects that interest
me for years, I need to make as many pieces as I find necessary to get
to the point that I feel I really got somewhere. I think that work has
phases, a whole period of 3 years was one big piece that I made a trilogy:
‘MIR - a Love Story’ that used the ex-Soviet space station MIR as a metaphor
for love relations. ‘Back to the Present,’ the piece I will present in
India is the last one of that period. It does not belong to the Trilogy
but is closing the subject for me, for a while at least. ‘Back to the Present’
deals with the break ups and the sorrow of everyday life though the perspective
of experiencing a loss.
Now we are starting a new period,
a new piece... I work for long periods of time to develop a piece, and
during a long period I accumulate information related to the subject of
the piece. I have many works running parallel, we have ideas with the
dancers that we know that they
belong to different works.
improvising on your old work, when do you feel it’s time to develop new
work? Is it a group effort?
Right now we improvise little,
our pieces became really set and we are performing them a lot. We are working
on a new piece and at the same time we tour 3 others ...the whole thing
is a group effort. We rehearse for long periods of time and very intensively.
The way a work develops is through starting points - I propose the performers,
but they create their parts. It is very demanding for the company, because
they have to stay creative and face challenges in every work.
There is a lot of freedom in the
work and each of them is very important. I work with people experiences
and characters that make each of them impossible to replace.
productions, you use dancers and actors. How do you strike a balance between
The company consists of people
that has a specific formation but is very versatile. The actors and dancers
are perfectly integrated because the way we work does not make differences
- all the dancers act and sing, and the actors dance and sing as well;
they have the music as common ground and since they improvise together,
the differences in formation bring results that are less predictable than
the results a group coming from the same background would bring.
known to pick unusual themes (Beatles!) and settings (supermarket). What
do you look for in such instances and how do you know if it will work?
The themes and the settings are
a consequence of the idea that triggers the work. If there
is a Beatles song in a cover version from a Cuban singer (La Lupe) that
sounds older than the original Beatles song and when that song happens
to be ‘Yesterday’ and the subject matter we are dealing is emotional residues
and lost memories, that ends up making a lot of sense...
About the setting is the same
thing – that supermarket was a department store in 1930 and belonged to
a Jew family. The Nazis took posession of it; then after the war, it was
a fashion institute in the Democratic Republic; after the wall came down,
it was a bank, and now it is empty. The building had a lot to do with the
subject of the piece I was presenting there.
of the themes you choose, do you feel stressed every time you premiere
a new work?
I'm always stressed... when
we show our work for the first time in a new place, even if is the 70th
performance of that piece, I still get nervous. It is always a mystery
how the piece is going to run.