While talking at her home in Madrid, a manicurist does her nails. It’s not that she’s going to be a diva, it’s script requirements: she’s prepping a character for a new Netflix series that she can’t say anything about. “It’s that the Americans control everything,” he laughs. The actress María Hervás (Madrid, 35 years old) divides herself between committed theater and more commercial products. He prepares his leap towards directing, with a monologue interpreted by Martiño Rivas. And he accumulates recognition: he has just received the Princess of Girona Award of Arts and Letters, dedicated to those under 35 (won by a hair).
Interrogate. Why were they given?
Answer. The truth is, I thought I had no chance, because some very bright people show up. The jury mainly focused on my theatrical background, in the social commitment that I have tried to maintain in my projects. That I produce my shows, that I research the texts, that I write, that I jump to the realization… They think that I can be a good reference for the future generations.
P In his works he dealt with social inequality (Iphigenia in Vallecas), gender-based violence (pack) or the oppression of women (The Confessions of Allah).
R All the projects that come out of me, which are not proposals from the outside, have this commitment in common.
P And the projects that don’t come from you? He practiced and practices light comedy, entertainment series…
R A few years ago it caused me a lot of conflict, I was always wondering what I was saying. It put me to sleep a bit. Then, after thinking about it, I realized that what you bring to the world is much more complex than the calculations of consequences you can make.
R For example, many sick people write to me, who suffers from depressionwho have complicated lives and precisely because they watch light comedy, they feel the weight is lightened.
P She is therefore an advocate of the genre.
R I’m not saying that to save the pub, I criticize everything, I don’t care. I also believe that we stage characters taken to the extreme, which allow us to separate ourselves from ourselves because they are clichés, and at this distance we can laugh at certain prototypes that we can associate with our boss, to our mother, to ourselves.
P This is the grotesque of Valle-Inclán.
R Yes, I think this type of comedy allows us to appreciate realities that other types of much more sensitive products may not allow us to see. I also believe that the value of the things we do, whether it’s engaged theater or pack the comedy series as The village, has more to do with how you approach what you do within each project than with the project itself. Commitment is something more particular, it consists of the way you resignify yourself.
Years ago, working on commercial products generated conflict for me. Not anymore
Maria Hervas, actress
P You are a philosophy student. Third year. And you can see it.
R I’m doing it just to quit. I think one of the big problems we have to deal with in this society is that everything is going so fast and there is such a low level of consciousness that you think you know everything. We take everything for granted, we even take our own existence for granted. And that can only lead to terrible places. Depressions, lack of enthusiasm at work, in relationships, in life. A kind of depression of the soul. It has to do with not being connected, not questioning reality itself.
P Do you like this?
R It’s like being a child again, like looking back at things you’ve neglected and understanding that there are many stories that you can give new meanings to, as I think it also happens in theatre, for example, with Greek tragedies. .
P What about tragedies?
R They were written at a very specific time, in a very specific society. And we can’t let these stories keep telling us the same. The texts are never closed. I want to direct to dust off a lot of things.
P What interests you the most in philosophy?
R Ontology freaks me out, the study of being: what human existence consists of, if such a thing can be defined or understood. I am amazed at the creativity that has been required throughout history to answer such complex questions. Also everything related to language. Deleuze and Guattari fascinate me. And Social Anthropology, because from our ethnocentric point of view, we believe that our culture is the yardstick by which all others are measured.
P It’s not that?
R No, there are so many other ways to do things. For example, if you look at other cultures, we see that capitalism is not indestructible, even though that is what they would have us believe. He occupied very little time in the historic bar. The world has been ruled by other kinds of economies most of the time, in fact, there are currently many cultures that are ruled by another kind of system.
Studying philosophy is like being a kid again, like looking back on things you neglected
Maria Hervas, actress
P When do you study?
R In my job there are a lot of tedious expectations. I’m not telling you that I only study during downtime during filming, but I take the opportunity to read a lot there. If I didn’t go on Instagram, totally addicted. It’s more useful.
P Are you the daughter of a truck’s driver and a postman.
R On the contrary: the one driving the truck was my mother. When my mother started, there were very few carriers. In fact, they did quite a bit intimidation in industrial areas. They called her the Barbie trucker. She was a driver, she didn’t have to load and unload, but they were very hesitant: “If you can drive a truck, you can also load it”, they told her.
P How did being born into a working-class family influence you?
R Fundamental values, which have to do with solidarity, with a sense of justice, values which I think are very present in the neighbourhoods, especially among the workers, in the small communities. Solidarity with your neighbor. These are very basic things, but they are what order my daily life.
P Still in touch?
R Well, I bought my house in the same neighborhood, across from my parents. It’s important in a job like mine, which leads to experiences that are out of the ordinary, for example, to be in cannes, to walk the red carpet. It helps me to take ground, to value where I come from. Mainly because the stories that interest me are those of real people. The artist is in danger: he separates himself from reality and begins to tell things that only interest him.
P said in the anthill that many days she gets up without wanting to be an actress.
R The least difficult thing for me in acting, the one that gives me the least problems, is acting. Everything else interests me much less and complicates my task.
P For instance?
R If you’re a young woman, you have to constantly correct the idea that you know they have of you when you walk through the door of a place. It makes you spend a lot of energy, it makes me angry, I don’t like it, because it’s creative energy that I should put into other things, into writing. It’s a surplus of energy that you have to put in to start from a place more or less similar to that of a cisgender man. It tires me.
P It has been widely reported how From the age of 40, actresses are made invisible… He doesn’t have many left.
R. I think we are experiencing a change in this regard. The fourth wave of feminism, which I hope is here to stay, is changing everything. Women are already producing and telling their own stories, the protagonists are not necessarily the stereotype of the nice girl.
P Her brand new nails are for a Netflix series. The platforms, from what you can see, give a lot of work.
R Revitalize the industry. The platforms and the exacerbated consumption of audiovisual that we have had since confinement have generated a lot of demand.
P Does it have a dark side?
R They have burdened the industry a bit. We used to charge royalties when your work was sold in other countries, which is reasonable. Now, since you work for these international distribution platforms, they pay you less than before and we never receive these rights. We are all somewhat slaves to this new model, not only the performers, but also the producers. The platforms have come to explode the market. But there’s not much more option than to produce for them.
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