Angelica Liddell, Figureas

Your story in a few lines – from your birth to the Angelica of today

una niña que creció entre ignorantes y retrasados, en mitad de la pobreza y la avaricia, que se rebeló contra su destino de ignorante, y que luego tuvo que batallar contra las ganas de morir y matar durante toda su vida, y que finalmente no puede escapar de su origen, no puede escapar del odio por la vida, y no puede evitar la necesidad de ser amada.


a girl who grew up among ignorant and retards, in the midst of poverty and greed, who rebelled against her fate of ignorant, and then had to fight the urge to die and screw up her life. A girl who cannot escape where she comes from, who cannot escape from the hatred for life, and ultimately who cannot avoid the need to be loved.



Poetry-making, the drama of the lives (yours first) and a new direction in stage/set design: your theatre is a secret alchemy mixing real ‘people of this world’ and the magic of painful redemption. Many commenters write of your theatre as synonymous of violence, extreme sex and madness: I always read it as the sweetest and the most lyrical ever.

Your theatre also does not retain itself into the usual boundaries of the discipline and is acclaimed as the most powerful of Spanish scene and beyond.

Which kind of ‘audience’ do you love more?

me gusta el público apasionado, capaz de trastornarse, yo busco el amor del püblico, me pongo delante del püblico para ser amada, soy una amante, siento que estoy follando con ellos, es maravilloso.


I like passionate audiences, willing to find a state of daze, I strive for their love and I place myself before them in order to be loved. I’m a lover, I feel like I’m fucking with them, it’s wonderful.



Which kind of ‘students’ and practitioners you work with more gladly?

me apasiona trabajar con actores No Profesionales, trabajan con una pureza maravillosa.

I like working with non-professional actors, they work with extraordinary purity.



Which is your favourite ‘place’ to act (i.e. a physical theatre, a large square, anywhere else: if the place is not fictional can you tell me the real one on this world you would love to perform in)?

Es hermoso trabajar en aquellos lugares que tienen alma propia, historia, antiguedad. El Teatro del Odeon de Paris, el Clotre des Carmes de Avignon o el teatro Olimpico de Vicenza han sido los lugares donde mas emoción he sentido. Son realmente especiales. Pero guardo recuerdos increíbles de un montón de sitios insólitos. El año pasado trabajé con más de cien personas en Brindisi, en el patio abandonado de una antigua fortaleza militar, con luz de día, y fue una de las cosas de las que guardo un recuerdo mas bonito, fue hermoso trabajar en La Puglia.


It’s beautiful to work in places with a soul, that have a history and that are old. The Odeon in Paris, the Clotre des Carmes in Avignon or the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza is where I was most touched. They are really special. However I keep incredible memories of lots of unusual places. Last year I worked with over a hundred people in Brindisi, in the courtyard of an abandoned former military fortress, in broad daylight, and it is one of my fondest memories. It was beautiful to work in Puglia.



Which is the place in which you sit to write more happily?

Escribo en cualquier sitio. Hay textos que he escrito en un avión. En cambio cuando me impongo una disciplina escribo en cafeterías, todas las tardes durante cuatro o cinco horas. Ahora mismo estoy escribiendo en la habitación del hospital donde estoy ingresada y estoy muy a gusto. Pero no soy uno de esos escritores bobos que se retiran a un paraje idílico, rodeados de naturaleza, para escribir. No necesito el mar ni el retiro espiritual para escribir.


I write anywhere. There are some texts that I have written in airplanes. However when I force myself into discipline I write in cafes all afternoon for four or five hours. Right now I’m writing in the hospital room where I was admitted and I am very happy. But I’m not one of those silly writers who retire somewhere idyllic, surrounded by nature, in order to write. I don’t need the sea or a spiritual retreat to do that.



You seem to embody (and to surpass) the poetics of who used the biography to destroy human piety in arts – I think to people like Sarah Kane and Tracey Emin but I should also mention Anais Nin and few important female visionaries who made their ideas and their body ‘public’ to speak universally of what life is at their latitude does not matter how risky this can be.

How much this is hard to pursue in terms of creative sources day by day – and to make this unique theatre alive by also acting for it?

Pienso que no es algo que puedas elegir, simplemente te usas como materia, como materia estética, pero es inevitable, trabajamos como Sylvia Plath o Sharon Olds, sin distancia, pero con toda la disciplina estética aplicada a la materia que es nuestra carne. No es duro, es liberador, como un acto de tarantismo.


I think it isn’t something you can choose, you simply use it as material, as an aesthetic matter, but it is inevitable, we work as Sylvia Plath or Sharon Olds, without distance, but with all the aesthetic discipline as applied to matter that is our flesh. It is not hard, it is liberating, like an act of tarantism.



Do you feel there is also another way to make theatre nowadays – i.e. more social, or political on a different layer, to stand right against the tragedies involving women, children and other harmless and peaceful humans around the world?


la ley de la belleza no es en absoluto la ley del estado. Como población civil debemos ser resistentes contra la barbarie, sin embargo el contacto con la poesía nos permite amar al asesino, la poesía es un lugar donde entrar en contacto con las zonas mas turbulentas de la naturaleza humana, y amar esas zonas gracias a la hipermoral, y reconocernos en esas zonas que el contrato social censura. La poesía es transgresión porque se opone a la ley de la vida, si solamente nos relacionaramos con el alma humana a traves de la ley del Estado estariamos aniquilando la violencia que nos define y nos funda, la violencia asociada a los movimientos fundamentales del hombre, el nacimiento, la reproduccion (sexo) y la muerte, estariamos aniquilando el espiritu, que por supuesto no se rige por la ley del Estado. Por tanto la poesía no es la tranquilidad sino la intranquilidad. Es la angustia frente a la esencia, que es por encima de todo incomprensible.


The law of beauty is not at all the law of the state. As civilians we must be resistant against barbarity, yet being in contact with poetry allows us to love the murderer, poetry is a place where to find contact with the most turbulent areas of human nature, and to love those areas thanks by ways of hypermoralism and to recognize ourselves in those areas that is usually censored by social contracts. Poetry is transgression because it opposes itself to the law of life. If only we would relate to the human soul through the law of the state we would be annihilating the same violence which defines us. The violence associated with the fundamental stages of mankind; birth, reproduction (sex) and death. We would be annihilating the spirit, which of course is not governed by state law. So poetry is not quietness but rather unrest. It is anxiety over the essence, which is above all incomprehensible.



On the stage you act, direct, write and design. Outside you write and make art.

You write also poems, as Los deseos en Amherst (Ediciones Trashumantes, 2008) whose publication comes after 20 years the first drama you wrote and published (Greta quiere suicidarse). Which is your style, do you still write poems? And as photographer and ‘visual artist’?


Hay en mi naturaleza una necesidad brutal de expresión, supongo que para luchar contra la depresión, para mi la expresión es una forma de demencia bajo el control del rito, para saciar esa necesidad de expresión utilizo todos los medios a mi alcance, sin distinguir entre versos o fotografía o puesta en escena. Para mi la poesía es un estado de supremacía estética que nos pone en contacto con nuestras emociones, que nos perturba intensamente. Es en ese ámbito en el que se desenvuelve mi trabajo.


My nature holds a brutal need for expression, I guess as a way to fight depression. Expression is for me a form of dementia in control by the rite, in order to satisfy the need of expression I use all the means at my disposal, without distinguishing between verses, photographs or stagings. For me poetry is a state of aesthetic supremacy putting us in touch with our emotions while deeply disturbing us. It is in here where my work develops.



Cataluna is the land of extremes: from Surrealism to anarchy and independence – a language, a culture and a very rooted economics. Which is the favourite ‘soul’ or ‘character’ of your land for you? Which other theatre companies you happily follow? And which is the place you call home?

No tengo ninguna relación con cataluña. No me siento catalana. Simplemente nací alli. Con el tiempo siento que pertenezco a mi tierra, que es Goya, Zurbarán, Velazquez o Ribera, vengo de los místicos, Santa Teresa, San Juan de la Cruz, vengo de la sangre negra, del paroxismo, de la locura.


no me gusta hablar de teatro, es decir, detesto hablar de teatro.


En cuanto a ese lugar que puedo llamar casa…creo que no he sabido construir un lugar al que llamar casa, no he sabido hacerlo, no, no tengo un hogar, no sé lo que es eso. Donde mejor me siento es dentro de las iglesias italianas.


I have no relationship with Catalonia. I don’t feel Catalan. I was only born there. Over time I feel I belong to my country, which is Goya, Zurbaran, Velazquez or Ribera. I come from the mystics, Santa Teresa, John of the Cross, I come from black blood, the paroxysm of madness.

I don’t like talking about theatre, that is I hate talking about theatre.

As for the place that I call home … I think I have not been able to build a place to call home, I wasn’t able to do it, no, I don’t have a home, I don’t know what that is. Where I feel best is in Italian churches.



Your goals: which is the more important achieved on a personal side and the one on a professional side?


Del lado personal y profesional mi referencia es Gumersindo, la persona con la que fundé la compañía hace 20 años, sin él no sería capaz de seguir.


From a personal and professional standpoint my reference is Gumersindo, the person with whom I founded the company 20 years ago, without him it wouldn’t be able to go on.



A talent you have, the one you miss?

Mi talento consiste en memorizar textos larguísimos, pero un talento que envidio es la capacidad de aprender idiomas, no he conseguido aprender ningún idioma, es horrible, me da mucha vergüenza no hablar idiomas.


My talent is being able to memorize very long texts, but a talent that I envy in others is the ability to learn language. I have failed to learn any languages, it’s horrible, I feel very ashamed not to be able to speak any.


Your favourite drink – and you favourite ritual (in food and in any other daily leisure)

Lo que más me gusta es el zumo de manzana con apio, y sobre todo el café. Mi ritual preferido el desayuno,siempre salgo fuera a desayunar. Y me encanta desayunar en los hoteles.


What I like is apple juice with celery, and mainly coffee. My favorite breakfast ritual is to always go out for breakfast. And I love breakfasts in hotels.


Where do you see yourself in ten years?


No sé.

I don’t know


Which is the thing you’re sure to have learnt from life until now?


Que los hombres a partir de los 50 años salen con chicas de 20. Y las mujeres a partir de los 50 nos quedamos solas. En La letra Escarlata Hawthorne dice que ni siquiera a las más felices les merece la pena vivir. Siempre seremos sustituidas por la hija de wendy, la hija de la hija de wendy, la hija de la hija de la hija de wendy….así acaba el peter pan de Barry. Esa es la única cosa segura para una mujer.


That when men turn 50 start going out with 20 girls and that us women their age are left alone. In The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne says that life is not worth living not even for the happiest ones. We will always be replaced by Wendy’s daughter’s, and by her daughter and the one after and so on…. That is how Barry’s Peter Pan ends. That’s the only sure thing for a woman.



Thanks a lot, Diana


Thanks a lot, Angelica




This interview has been made in Spanish and translated in English by Michelangelo Miccolis. Angelica loves to have only email interviews and in Spanish.


A poem from her book Via Lucis is published here in Spanish and English. Angelica Liddell will have an open talk with the audience in Italy (Venice, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale) on August 9, 2016 at 4 pm (free entrance) and will perform with her students in No tengas miedo at the Theatre Tese (Venice) on August 12 at 7.30 and 9 pm (ticket Euro 2).



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