MimeLondon: Izaskun Fernández and Julián Sáenz-López on Entrañas (Insides)

Photo: Clara Larrea Quemada.

Entrañas, which roughly translates to ‘Insides’, will MimeLondon audiences with an anatomy class like no other when it opens at the Barbican Theatre early next month.

The production from Spanish theatre company El Patio Teatro asks questions about what makes us humans come to life: what are we made of? What is a body? Where does it go when we die?

The work of visual theatre explores different aspects of the body in a profoundly personal way using handmade objects, images and a moving original soundtrack.

The company, founded in Logroño in 2010 by Izaskun Fernandez and Julian Sáenz-Lopez are passionate about sharing stories of everyday life – transcending language. Their MimeLondon performances mark their first ever performance outside Spain

Ahead of opening, we caught up with Fernández and Sáenz-López by email to find out more about the play. Answering our questions collectively, they told us about what brought them to develop Entrañas (Insides) and what it’s like to be making their international debut.

Q&A with Izaskun Fernández and Julián Sáenz-López

What can you tell us about your company, El Patio Teatro?

We met in 2010 in a theatre course in Logroño, in La Rioja, North Spain, and since the very first moment we got along together and felt we wanted to create a theatre company that we named after EL PATIO. El Patio means “courtyard” and in Spain is like a meeting place where reflections, talks and encounters happen and where also people amuse together. The company is founded upon our need to share with audiences, stories from everyday life that happen around us, and through which we aim to seek out our own language to tell them on stage.

Since the beginning, this search has driven us to take refuge in objects, and to turn them alive on the stage in often small format shows where we can keep the audience’s proximity.

What was the inspiration for Entrañas (Insides) and the use of objects, images, and music to explore the human body?

Entrañas (Insides) was born out of the need to provide poetic and simple answers to complex questions about the human body.

In the end, almost unintentionally, we translated that whole universe into intimate and personal experiences of our own life and our relationship with our bodies and that of our loved ones. The more we discovered about our bodies, the more questions we asked to ourselves and the more scientific language seemed beautiful to us. And the plastic universe of medicine and anatomy became more and more attractive to us. We have tried to transfer it to the stage through objects, music, and images.

Photo: Clara Larrea Quemada.

You have a passion for sharing stories of everyday life; how important is it to tell stories about the ordinary?

We believe that many times, the ordinary life contains a poetry that can transform anything apparently simple into something extraordinary.

As a theatre company we have always given value to the small details of life, to ordinary stories or to things that may go unnoticed.

We like to poetize them and try to extract beauty from every little detail, this time it was relevant to us talking about the skin, the bones, the tears…

How does it feel to be performing at the Barbican as part of MimeLondon 2024?

For a company like ours, it’s a huge gift to be part of the programming of MimeLondon.

We are very grateful to be able to perform in a theatre like the Barbican. It is the first time that Entrañas is going to cross borders and be seen outside of Spain, so it is a challenge and a very big responsibility for El Patio.

We are excited and very happy [to be] performing in London.

What do you hope audiences take away from the experience?

In Entrañas we talk about the human body and about love, death, wounds…

We don’t answer almost any of the questions we throw on the air so, we would love that the audience leave the show asking themselves even more questions about the body and our relationship with it, about our feelings, our pains, our love stories, our injuries, the death of our loved ones…

Hopefully this brief walk through the human body, hand in hand with us, will take them to beautiful places…

Entrañas (Insides) is at the Barbican from 6 February to 10 February 2024. Though currently sold-out, any returns will be made available via the theatre’s website.

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