“Theatre has it all. However, what it needs is to be able to get where it needs to be: through the media and through connections with the communities,” said Venezuelan playwright Pablo García Gámez, who is offering the playwriting workshop The Own Voice, at the Art Gallery National, within the programming of the International Festival of Progressive Theater 2022.
For García Gámez it is necessary that “the groups always make contact with the people because the theater is for the people. It is not an elite issue as many say”.
As for the type of theater that should be done to bring the public closer, he stated: “there are many forms. Many years ago I saw a project at the National Theater headed by José Luis León, who went to various centers for the elderly whom he recruited as theater performers. First I ask them what they wanted to talk about and they pointed out that it was about the corners of Caracas. In the end they put on his play on this subject and the community that was around that center approached the National Theater”.
He added that this direct communication can be applied in schools: “we must remember that theater does not focus on a specific theme or social class, since its possibilities are immense. Of course, if you present yourself to people with an exotic or very dramatic work, you push them away. The idea is that people go because it is for people in general”.
He considers that in recent times a lot of talent has been formed in Venezuela in various areas of the tables: "in the case of Caracas, although it must also happen in other cities, what they need are more spaces to show themselves and confront each other, to be criticized , so that they can be joked about if they have to be joked about, to improve”.
He emphasizes that, apart from theaters, “groups must do street theater. I know that a lot is done, but it can increase”.
About the workshop
The Own Voice workshop seeks to stimulate the development of an individual voice and organization.
It explains how to develop dramatic texts from the perspective of the margin to achieve a location that helps explore themes outside of hegemonic conceptions.
It is aimed at people with basic notions of dramaturgy, so its participants must create short works that will be read in the workshop: “Lately I have been giving workshops in the United States and other countries. I look for a way for the participant to discover himself first, without falling into psychoanalysis or witchcraft or anything like that. The important thing is that he discovers what he likes and what he wants to write about”.
He considers that in many workshops the participants end up writing only skits to fulfill: “eye, it's not that skits are bad, but they write what, perhaps, they don't want to write. The idea is to ask yourself what you want to write.”
Remember that the works must have their time: “many young people think that what they wrote is perfect, but it is not. They have to make several versions and edit it well so that, when a director reads it, he makes suggestions”.
García Gámez is a scholar of Hispanic theater and a professor at the City University of New York and has worked with leading figures in dramaturgy such as Juan Carlos Gené and Antonio César Morón, creator of the concept of quantum dramaturgy.