• Installation by Rabih Mroué
    The works of Rabih Mroué, like this installation titled "The Inhabitants of Images", have been a huge source of inspiration for Betina Bracciale.
    © Rabih Mroué
Working Area:
Culture
Country/Region:
Latin America
Betina Bracciale, playwright

Playwright Betina Bracciale talks about her experiences at PANORAMA SUR

Betina Bracciale lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The South American capital is home to more than 200 theaters that staged roughly 400 productions in 2011. But up to now, there has been almost no across-the-board, interdisciplinary collaboration. For that reason, the international PANORAMA SUR platform initiated a long-term knowledge-sharing program within the Latin American theater landscape to bring new ideas and styles to the cultural scene in Buenos Aires. For four weeks, theatrical directors from Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East met in the Argentinian capital to work on new theatrical forms and languages. In a writers' seminar, young playwrights from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Spain, and Uruguay got together with young theater directors, including Betina Bracciale. In the following interview, she talks about her background and experiences at PANORAMA SUR.

How did you come to theater?

I pursued media studies in college and worked as a journalist after that. Then I signed up for a workshop with Alejandro Tantanian, and for the past five years, I’ve been writing my own plays.

What was your experience with PANORAMA SUR?

I really liked the structure of the academy. The various activities continually examined how art deals with the present. Many of the discussions and conferences and even some of the plays we saw were centered around this axis of experience. Dealing with topics such as the border between reality and fiction and between performance and the political understanding of theater, experiencing other theatrical formats, and entering spaces not traditionally associated with theater raised a lot of questions that I am still pondering.

What pieces did you find especially thought-provoking?

The works of Rabih Mroué, for example, raised plenty of questions. In his lecture performances, he speaks of the civil war and the “disappeared” in Lebanon. Naturally, we Argentines can relate to that on many levels. During the seminar, we had numerous discussions that repeatedly touched on the role of theater in relation to certain topics or sociopolitical realities.

What sort of experience did you have working with the other writers?

It was a real privilege to take part in the seminar. Experiencing the diversity of voices and perspectives learning how each individual related to the text and theater, and being able to throw your own work in this pool and work on it together with 15 colleagues from worlds with an entirely different set of parameters – that is an experience every writer can benefit from.

And how will this experience influence your future work?

Through questions, above all, and also through doubts, which I wholeheartedly embrace. These can range from very general stylistic questions and questions about the choice of topics to questions about representation. This huge uncertainty prompts you to rethink your own positions, and that helps you advance your own productions. I don’t know yet where all of this is headed exactly. Only time will tell.

What do you hope to gain from an intercultural exchange like PANORAMA SUR?

PANORAMA SUR has expanded my cultural universe. The exchange made it possible for me to get to know a group of very talented, enthusiastic, and engaged colleagues from throughout Latin America and Spain. All of them brought their own specific poetry, as well as also their cinema, literature, theater, personal anecdotes, and the very attributes of their various countries, some of which I knew and some of which I didn’t. The seminars and presentations taught me about writers and directors I had never heard of before from Argentina and elsewhere, about theater scenes set up completely differently than ours, and about the prevailing themes and aesthetic models. This is very valuable, especially since Latin America has had very few international networking platforms of this type. Some colleagues are already planning joint projects for next year. Ideally, this interaction will keep growing so that we get to know each other better and better.

Interview: Anne Phillips-Krug

“PANORAMA SUR has expanded my cultural universe. This exchange made it possible for me to get to know a group of very talented, enthusiastic, and engaged colleagues from throughout Latin America and Spain.”