Independent Theater Hungary presented a performance and conversation around Profound Dignity (Spain) with the Roma Theatre Retrospective 2020 livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 22 September 2020 at 9:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 12:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 17:30 BST (London, UTC +1) / 18:30 CEST (Budapest, UTC +2) / 19:30 EEST (Bucharest, UTC +3).
“On 25th January 1939, I died, according to my medical chart, of some infection. My remains were buried in a common grave in Almeria. I chose well. The militia of the second Spanish Republic locked me up and let me die with my unborn child." - Excerpt of the first beatified Roma woman’s story.
The actress living and working in Sevilla commemorates two Spanish Roma women. One of them is Emilia Fernández Rodríguez (the first Roma women who was beatified, in 2017) and the other is Gabriela Ortega Gómez (the first Roma performing artist with a university diploma). The actress tells their stories in the first person, with poetic narrative, changing the roles in surreal situations. Two stories of two heroines unfold in parallel. They both stood up for their own values and beliefs opposing the authorities of the time: one of them fought communism and the other one the Franco-regime.
Performed by Sonia Carmona Tapia and Jaime Vicent Bohorez
Written by Jaime Vicent Bohorez
In Spanish with English subtitles.
Sonia Carmona Tapia: At the early age of 17 Sonia leaves her hometown, Granada, the city of the Alhambra and Federico García Lorca, to cross the Atlantic Ocean thanks to a grant from the program Youth for Understanding. Initially she goes to the USA for one year, but stays there for five years. She obtains a performance grant in aid to study a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre specializing in acting. In 1992 she graduates from West Virginia University magna cum laude. She then returns to Spain and settles in Sevilla where she studies theater directing at the Sevilla Theatre Institute and doctorate courses on Theatre Science at the University Hispalense.
In 1996 she launches her own theatre company, Aaiún Producciones. Sonia has directed and produced over 30 plays. In 1998 she starts storytelling and begins working on a project called: “Stories of life and experience” with elderly people. She is astonished by the work: a whole generation of silence, the generation of the post Spanish civil war. Working on this project will influence her deeply. She has worked on neighborhoods such as “Las 3000 viviendas” portrayed in the film Polígono Sur where she is right now working in building a theatrical HUMAN library with the program “Roots and Wings, Poligono´s Sur Human Library.
As an actress, we could see her recently in Jaime E. Vicent´s “De Profunda Dignitatis” a solo two hours show that portraits the lives of Gabriela Ortega and Emilia Fernández. She is also Yekhipé in the web-series “European Family”.
Sonia has been part of the European Erasmus + projects: Pics, imagine your story and Roma Heroes in the theatre and everyday life.
As a storyteller she has worked all over Spain. She is right now collecting tales from the Roma women of Spain, which will be published by the editing company Libros de las malas compañías.
She is taking part in the project “Holocaust by bullets” with the Yahad in Unum organization. And will be developing a program in Spain to portrait through storytelling the “Porraimos”, the Roma genocide during the Nazi occupation.
About the Series
Although Roma are the largest ethnic minority in Europe, they still experience high level of racism and have to deal with many societal issues. Additionally, Roma are being represented in a very stereotypical way in the media and art world. The Roma theater has more than a century long past with active professional theater groups in many European countries, but unfortunately, they are still hardly known. The Roma Heroes Theater Festival initiated by the Independent Theater Hungary is the only international Roma theater encounter in the World, which have been organized in every year since 2017. Many of the artists and their work are featured in this current series.
Judit Ignácz mostly worked at NGOs in Roma related projects, organizing and facilitating trainings, seminars concerning the topic of racism, human rights and non-formal education. She finished her studies of Master of Public Administration of School of Public Policy at Central European University and became a French and Romani language teacher at the University of Pecs. She also has experience in media and communication. She is passionate about human rights and non-formal education.