Fears behind Javier Ibarra’s scene

Javier Ibarra Letelier (34 y.o.) id the founder and director of Teatro del Terror, Company that he carries eleven productions and that looks for revolutionize through a non-common genre in the theatre world: terror.

The theater was never really his thing. This actor, who always has a smile on his face, confesses that he was closer to mathematics and music. After leaving the middle room I had thought about entering Architecture, a career that mixes numbers well with the arts, but after an impulsive act, Javier opted for Theater at the University of Chile. With fear, he began to advance in the specialized tests of the race, challenging his own abilities and entering little by little into the unknown world of the tables.

Without a previous incursion in a workshop or work, he affirms that he felt like a pig in mass in front of his companions, but with the passage of time he learned his stories and realized that it was not as complex as he had imagined. In the first year his interest in management and production arises: he began to focus more on the realization of the exercises in class than on what he had to do as an interpreter, complementing his scientific mind with the theatrical vein. “For me to direct is an organization of all the talents, the capacities of each artistic human group that works in pursuit of a creation,” he says.

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Since then he began to look at the lighting, aesthetics and special effects that a montage could have to be a memorable and quality show. Only a step away from his retirement he wrote and directed the work “Dolores”, story with dyes of terror about a woman who runs away from her ex-husband with her daughter and who decide to stay in a cabin run by a mysterious man. The assembly was recognized in 2007 as the best address of the 6th Festival for New Theater Directors, organized by the Master in Management of the same house of studies.

On the challenge of writing and presenting his own stories, Ibarra affirms that it is more challenging to mount other people’s works. “There is already an authorship based on that text and what one has to do is give a stamp, an identity to that story, and there is the difficulty: start to share and dialogue based on a work done by another person, who in most cases I do not know or we are from different times “.

Javier (right) togheter with a part of the Teatro del Terror cast  (Source El Mostrador)

Theater and terror: frivolous fears

Fear is one of the most primitive emotions of the human being, however, one of the least explored in the theatrical world. Javier says that there are no records or references about works that work this emotion fully. “There are Chilean companies that work from darkness and tragedy, but they do not go deep into terror itself. That’s why we decided to play them for this genre. ”

Thus, the Teatro del Terror Company arises, which to date has released eleven works and has marked guidelines regarding a new use of language in the national scene. They have obtained six times the FONDART award to perform five of their works and national tours, in addition to winning the award for the best direction for the installation “Macbeth” in the Festival of Theater Direction 2014 and participate in the Festival Santiago a Mil the year passed with “El Pelícano”.

His productions are characterized by taking classic stories, such as “Richard III” by William Shakespeare and “The ghost sonata” by August Strindberg, but in his last work entitled “La Espera” they decided to land terror in the south of our country, in the Maule region of 1936. On the reception, Ibarra says that “we felt quite satisfied because we did something new: to touch a topic related to our roots. We are no longer taking texts from England of 1500 or Sweden of 1900. ”

Regarding the work of fear in his productions, Javier believes that a large part of the works linked to the terror that he has seen do not explore this feeling in depth, but rather remain in the most superficial sphere of sensation. “I lived a year in Barcelona and I saw a lot of theater. I was struck by a Swedish company called Jakop Ahlbom, which has many resources and makes a great staging with tremendous effects that, although one can identify it as terror, is rather a spectacular terror, almost a freak show. It does not reach to captivate you with something deeper like the history “, remembers, referring to the “Horror” production.

What Javier and his company are looking for is captivating the viewer through a deeper connection with the characters. It seeks that the audience is reflected in their stories and actions so that, finally, they question to what extent they can identify with those uncomfortable and somewhat hidden emotions of the human being.

“El Pelícano” (2016) (Source Teatro del Terror)

The curtain rises, fears fall

Javier slowly takes his espresso coffee, attentive to the next interrogation. I ask him if he has fears, to which he answers yes, like everyone else. “What are your main fears?” I ask him back. It takes longer to answer and look through the window of the cafeteria, looking for your greatest fear. “It has to do with the uncertainty of what is coming. The theatrical office is super unstable: I am my own manager, producer, producer of everything we do, although the good thing is that we work in community, but the future is always uncertain, “he reflects.

He does not know what will become of him next summer or what his projects will be about. He would like a little more stability in his trade, but admits that he would feel drowned if he were to meet a specific schedule or routines. The freedom that the theater gives him is a factor that would not change for anything in the world, despite his insecurities and risks. He does not hesitate to expose his anxiety in the different stories he produces, frequent fears of a society that lives a thousand per hour, in order to transform the scene into therapy for himself and his audience.

However, one imagines that Javier is a person who constantly thinks of fears or the perversity of human beings, but it is the opposite. He declares himself an admirer of director David Lynch and his positive stance on life. “Terror helps me to take out my darkness, but I try to see life in a more optimistic way. What enriches me most in that space outside the theater is my daughter, to whom I give everything I can, “he concludes.

 “There are Chilean companies that work from the darkness and tragedy, but don’t deepen in terror itself. That’s why we decided to take the risk in this genre”.

On the fear of failure, Ibarra thinks that you do not have to deceive yourself and that you have to be more loyal to yourself, no matter how much you want to please others or the public of the company. Many of these fears are exposed in rehearsals and meetings with the rest of the actors in order to understand what they want to convey on stage. “Even if you put on all the staging with a style of terror, the characters in the play finally deal with very human subjects. That’s when we have to do a very autobiographical job, “he reveals.

About the fears of humanity, Javier believes that cinema is its main reference: demons, zombies and monsters have been responsible for shaking our hearts for years in the face of uncertainty. Fear is a primary and captivating feeling, which is always hidden under lock and key and it is inevitable that it surprises us. It is that which produces strangeness and chills with just imagining it. “We have to ask ourselves what we are afraid of today because we no longer believe in anything. We relate less, we are always online, I think it has to do with that: the disconnection of the human being and control through these devices, “he concludes, taking his own IPhone to exemplify.

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