Four microphones in the center, some white frogs lying on the ground as if they were four corpses, a whole series of cards with very random words and concepts with a tarot deck and the Dixit cards next to it, a wooden coffin in the background. This has been the scene of the rehearsal room of El Canal during the penultimate week of March, and it is that the company Ninyas de papá has come to make a residence there to work on its new project, which is still very embryonic: F.O.M.O de mi funeral.

They are four young girls, Berta Cardona, Carla Font, Raquel Díez and Júlia Roch, with very firm ideas and a very clear speech. They met in the Degree in Performing Arts at the ERAM University School of Arts in Salt and with the End of Degree Project they gave birth to the first piece of this project, Things to do so they listen to me; undress me, die, a piece that already indicated ways: it offers the public a collective suicide and puts on the table the current insensitivity to many political and social injustices, “this rotten world”, in Font’s words. “There is also a part of self-criticism: as a generation we complain and make claims, but really when we are asked what change we want we don’t really know what to do”, explains Font.

After touring Menorca, Lleida, Girona and Madrid with this first work, they are now preparing a new project. The need to talk about another topic and seeing that many of the materials generated by the previous piece were very linked to death, with obscure aspects and with the world of death, made the birth of F.O.M.O de mi funeral a natural consequence, almost necessary, for artists. This new project is still in a very embryonic phase, but one thing is clear: the context of the piece will be the funeral ceremony, the burial, within Judeo-Christian culture. Starting from this point, the artists are now in the midst of experimenting and exploring concepts such as guilt, rituals around death, conventions and everything that happens when someone dies , what death implies at a social level but also at a physical level, of the body—you cease to exist—, what mourning implies and how it goes along. “As much as the new generations grow further away from religion, society continues to have this background of guilt. And we are interested in investigating it”, say the artists.

In this residency week of March, the company is in the process of opening up its creation. They still don’t have a closed story, just the context from which to work: death and all these conventions that surround it. Later, in June, they will return to El Canal to complete this process. The artists move in post-dramatic theatre: they do not seek to tell a classic story with a beginning, a knot and a denouement, but rather create a context in which to place the audience and from which they give birth to capsules to touch on various themes and points of view. Their intention these days is to create material, research what interests them, test improv scenes to see what works and what doesn’t, write possible texts and make a selection of material.

The very name of the company, Ninyas de papá, is both a statement of intentions and a self-criticism at the same time. The expression, which refers to the figure of the pampered girl, is a self-reference to the members of the group: “We are aware of the place from which we are explaining things, a place of quite a bit of privilege. We are four white girls, with parents who have paid us a degree and we can continue with this project because we have this support”, says Cardona. They claim that the world is rotten but they are very aware that they are not starving and that is why in their works they often ridicule themselves and portray themselves on stage. At the same time, this “dad” hovering over his artistic name is also a reference to the male gaze that is always present in his stage projects.

Ninyas de papá are, therefore, four girls who go on stage and complain about a lot of things but at the same time make it clear that they are pampered outside and that they have almost everything. This is why his stage projects include an important point of self-fiction. They work from the non-character. When they appear on stage, they are themselves, with the same name and play to mix reality and fiction. They seek to create doubt, to make the audience wonder if what is happening is improvised, if it is fiction or if it is real. “We like to make the audience doubt what is really happening and what is inside and what is outside of the work”, says Font.

This collective’s desire to disturb is evident from the start, but they do not take the stage with a moralizing speech. “We say harsh things, but we also include ourselves in this reality”, says Cardona. They let criticism go outwards, towards the public, but also inwards, towards themselves. For the company, the theater must be one space to reflect, where not to leave the viewer indifferent, to make them think and question things. “If we’ve only managed to get one person to leave the theater thinking that there is something in their life that may need to be reviewed, for me the job is done”, says Font. Their projects seek the limit of what is uncomfortable, bearable, for the public. On the other hand, artists always take the viewer into account. In his projects this always has a function, he is someone. In this new project, the spectators will be the people who will attend his burial and, as such, will have a role.
The mixture of all these elements – social, political and cultural criticism, self-fiction and self-criticism, humor and direct questioning – ensures that when this company steps on stage, the room shakes and hearts shake. “What’s interesting about theater is that it’s an experience that surprises you, that you didn’t expect, that there’s a direct questioning”, they say with conviction. Despite being very young, their determination is firm and their messages clear and direct.

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