How do you live those years that will determine the rest of your life? What political gesture is implied by the decision to have children? Is a child the best thing a human being can bring into the world?
At the age of eight, Emilio Rivas saw a video of Maradona and thought that he could achieve what he had achieved. He then decided to leave the music conservatory to devote himself to football. After playing in the lower categories of Cadiz and Betis, he realized that he would never score a goal at the Bernabéu Stadium, so he enrolled at the University of Seville, where he graduated in Advertising and PR. Later, by chance, he saw a play in Madrid, at the Cuarta Pared theatre, and he thought: “It was the theatre... That’s what it was”. A year later he moved to Madrid and created the Kalashnikov company with José Espigares, managing to perform in 2012 in La Cuarta, where he had his final revelation. As a solo artist, he presented his monologue Biofobia (2013) at Espacio Labruc, and his path changed when he met the La Tristura company, with whom he established an important bond in collaborations all over the world. At their behest, in 2015, he performed his work Take a Walk on the Wild Side, which was put on at La Casa Encendida (Lavapiés, Madrid), Las Naves (Poblats Marítims, Valencia) and Teatre Principal (Palma de Mallorca). In this work, he leads the audience out onto the streets with headphones on, so they can live a scenic experience outside the theatre.
In 2017, he joins up with Ana Petite and Diego Bagnera with the common need to feel part of something. “Nobody had asked for anything from us, we didn’t have an opening date, nobody was waiting... We did it because we felt like it, because that’s the way we were, and because something had happened between art and those of us who were there, and there was no going back, for better or worse. Simply, it’s what we gave. We decided to call ourselves La ofrenda (The offering)”, they explain. From there, they started working on this piece called The years of fertility, which they have created in a residency at Naves Matadero.
“Fertility is an important word. It frames a period and a possibility. A gift that appears for an instant in a person’s life, and conditions a sort of state of emergency. What doesn't happen, will never happen.
We start with that biological concept, and in a poetic way we move it onto the vital and philosophical plane. A human being is fertile when he or she can give life. When they are at the peak of their ability to give their best to the world. If they don’t do it, then they never will, they will never reach the best version of themselves, they will accept the life that was imposed on them. How do you live those years that will determine the rest of your life? What political gesture is implied by the decision to have children? Is a child the best thing a human being can bring into the world?
Spain is a hard word. Spain is the limit of love. Artistic expression makes no sense if you remove it from its context. The last years were difficult. We gave all for love, to give something good, and we ran into a wall. The lesson of every day: lie, smile, and keep going. We didn’t know we could take so much. Shortly after, people started making jokes, and the next day the Champions League was on. We wanted to make theatre from joy. Now, going on stage is an act of resistance.
However, meeting in the dark, in a theatre, to share and reflect is, somehow, the celebration of an ancient ritual. Something sacred. Something we still haven't lost. The shape of that code changes, mutates, goes on. We may be face to face with the last children of what we used to call theatre”, Emilio Rivas explains to us.
“I listen to the radio, and it’s a lie. I walk down the street, and it’s a lie. I walk across Sol, and everything is a lie. I touch my face, and it’s a lie... It’s curious that we go to see stage plays in the hope of seeing something that is true”.
Direction and text: Emilio Rivas
Creation: La ofrenda
Performers: Diego Bagnera, Ana Petite, Emilio Rivas, Mikel Flores Sancho/Clara Munilla Padilla, Atticus Dog
Technical direction: Roberto Baldinelli
Executive production: Ángela Santos Fernández
Sound/video assistance: David Tiedra Figura
Coproduction: Emilio Rivas / La ofrenda and Naves Matadero