In June 2021, Galician playwright and director Pablo Fidalgo was surprised to see a picture of his former school, an institution run by Marist priests in Vigo, northwestern Spain, on the front page of the daily newspaper EL PAÍS.
The paper’s uncovering of hundreds of cases of abuse in Catholic institutions forced him to recall the places of his childhood: What had he missed? What did his body, his subconscious, remember, even if his conscious mind had forgotten and repressed it?
Gonzalo Cunill, known to Schaubühne audiences through numerous guest performances by Rodrigo García, takes the stage again at the FIND for this monologue by Pablo Fidalgo. Cases of sexual abuse and violence have been covered up in Spain for decades. Thus Pablo Fidalgo begins his multi-part »Encyclopedia of Pain« with »Volume I« under the title of »Esto que no salga de aquí« (»This doesn’t leave the room«), a saying he learnt as a child with his parents which made it clear that something should only be discussed in private and at home.
For decades, the hierarchy of the Spanish Catholic church has attempted to conceal thousands of cases of child abuse. In 2018, EL PAÍS therefore created a platform to give the victims a voice. The paper received thousands of messages. Several hundred cases have been uncovered and officially documented in the last two years alone. In 2022, the Spanish Conference of Bishops recognised the findings and acknowledged that they are probably just the tip of the iceberg: »We come from a culture of concealment and silence.«
This ignoring and concealing is indicative of Spain’s relationship to its past and the country’s history of violence.
With a radical minimalism, refusing to wallow in emotiveness for the victims and remaining very far from sensationalism, Fidalgo’s monologue delineates an X-ray of a country in which the Inquisition and the Franco dictatorship are still reflected in everyday life and ascertains: »Esto, finalmente, saldrá de aquí« / »Finally, the word is out«.
Pablo Fidalgo is an artist who researches questions of the culture of remembrance based on his own family biography. He is also a poet and works as a curator, playwright and director of his own texts, most recently at the Centro Dramático Nacional in Madrid. His work is being presented in Germany for the first time at the FIND.
- (In Spanish with German and English surtitles)