The two lives of Verónica Forqué in the theater: from ‘¡Ay, Carmela!’ to the Max award | Culture


José Sanchis Sinisterra recalls that the premiere of Oh, Carmela! In 1987, in Zaragoza, it meant a before and after in his career. A success that made him leave the margins of the alternative theater in which until then he had moved to jump to the big stages and become a benchmark of contemporary Spanish dramaturgy. The work became a classic that was even adapted to film (directed by Carlos Saura in 1990) and television (Manuel Iborra, 2000). But Sanchis Sinisterra confesses the dazzling he felt when he saw his Carmela materialize for the first time, perhaps because the interpreter who embodied her seemed to have been born for that role: it was Verónica Forqué, accompanied by José Luis Gómez, who also directed the show. “There have been wonderful Carmelas since then, but it is true that being the first one shaped the character in some way. It filled it with light and poetry “, recalls the author by telephone, saddened by the death of the actress on Monday.

This is how the name of Verónica Forqué was inscribed in a prominent place in the history of Spanish theater, in addition to that of cinema. The actress was then going through one of the most popular moments of her career, in full swing after her participation in What have I done to deserve this? Y Matador, by Pedro Almodóvar, or Be unfaithful and don’t look with whom Y The year of lights by Fernando Trueba when we have the information. She combined all those films with the theater, where she had made her debut in 1975 as the daughter of Núria Espert in Divine words, that he was reluctant to leave despite the hustle and bustle of filming because it was where he felt happiest, as he confessed in numerous interviews throughout his life. “The theater forces you to evade your own reality because it requires enormous concentration and that is wonderful. It is something very liberating, ”he told this newspaper in 2019.

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Verónica Forqué and Nuria Mencía, in 'The breath'.
Verónica Forqué and Nuria Mencía, in ‘The breath’.javier naval

Paradoxically, after the success of Oh, Carmela!, the actress got off the stage for 15 years. At that time he only returned in 1997 to interpret The chairs, again with José Luis Gómez under the direction of Carles Alfaro. And then nothing until 2003. The cinema had her too busy, but she also needed to fall in love with the works she performed on stage.

Sanchis Sinisterra says that in a meeting with her a few years after the premiere of Oh, Carmela! The author asked him why he was not doing any theater at that time and Verónica Forqué replied: “After Carmela, I find it difficult to find a character that motivates me.” Up to that point that work marked her. And even more, the playwright continues: “She even told me to write a monologue for her to encourage her to come back. At that moment I said to myself: ‘Glups! I’ve never done a play for a specific actor. ‘ But curiously, thinking of her, that same night the seed of Valeria and the birds, that I ended up writing expressly for her, accompanied for many months by her image, her luminosity, her tenderness, her magic. And his smile! ”. In the end, Forqué could not premiere the work but his smile returned to accompany him in another special moment of his life, when he was awarded in 2018 the Max Honor Award for Performing Arts, which he received from the actress.

But Forqué’s career in the theater was going to have a second part. In 2003, Miguel Narros seduced her with The dream of a nigth of summer, Shakespeare, to get back on the stage. And he did not go down again. He continued with Narros in Doña Rosita the single (2004) and in a new staging in 2006 of Oh, Carmela! which he performed with Santiago Ramos. Since then he has continued to premiere almost one show per year, including Shirley Valentine in 2011, directed by her then husband, Manuel Iborra.

Verónica Forqué, Candela Salguero and Julio Vélez, in 'The things that I know are true'.
Verónica Forqué, Candela Salguero and Julio Vélez, in ‘The things that I know are true’.JAVIER NAVAL

In 2016, she came across a work that amazed her: The breathing, written and directed by Alfredo Sanzol, current director of the National Dramatic Center. “I remember that after seeing a performance, he came to say hello to tell me that he had especially liked the play. A few months later, it happened that the actress Gloria Muñoz could not continue with the tour and it occurred to me that she could be perfect, although I thought she would not accept because it was a substitution. To my surprise, when I proposed it to him, he did not hesitate for a moment, ”recalls Sanzol. Another proof of how he chose his roles: infatuation. And on stage, she made the audience fall in love. It had a special magnetism. And above all, an astonishing mastery of the comedy times. I learned a lot with her ”, admits the playwright, who won the 2017 National Dramatic Literature Prize for this text.

Verónica Forqué’s second life in the theater was as fruitful as the first. Just like then, he never played it safe and participated in avant-garde productions such as The lost bodies (2018) and The last white rhino (2019), both directed by Carlota Ferrer, and Everything that is next to me, a scenic installation by Fernando Rubio in which eight actresses tucked into bed spoke with a spectator. And she even had time to win a Max for Best Actress in 2020 for her magnificent performance in The things that I know are true by Australian Andrew Bovell, with a staging by Julián Fuentes Reta, in addition to launching herself to direct three plays: Temptation lives above (2001), Adulteries (2014) and Spanish, Franco is dead (2020).


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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