Interview with Hernán Casciari: “This work makes me feel less guilty as a son” | The writer creates “An outgoing mother” in El Nacional

It’s Friday at 5 o’clock in the afternoon and the contrast between the interlocutors is felt through the telephone line. On the one hand, the infernal traffic of the city of Buenos Aires makes the call inaudible, which must be reconnected at least three times, between the endless horns that stumble and the bad telephone signal. On the other hand, the song of birds harmonizes the emotional stability of Hernan Casciari, from San Antonio de Areco, his adopted home for years. “Don’t worry, there is no rush”, calms the interviewee in the face of the difficulties that arise. The excuse of the interview is the first of an outgoing motherthe storytelling recital with which the writer will return to the stage with the stellar presence of his mother Chichita. The function will be Today Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. at the El Nacional Theater (Corrientes 960).

“Never before had a national writer allowed himself to be humiliated by his live mother, with the obvious exception of Borges.” It is the ironic descent, but without fleeing from a certain truth, of the work of stories that will today find the founder of Orsai editions with his mother. An artistic, emotional and playful reunion for viewers, but which actually contains a much more human genesis.

“The premiere of the show has to do, more than anything, with a personal matter,” Casciari naturally admits in the interview with Page 12. “After the pandemic, my mother became a little weak, as if many years had come to her at once. She was always a very energetic woman and the pandemic discouraged her. Every time she saw me , she told me that I had to do something again. I noticed that work is like therapy for my mother. Every time I told her we could do a function on that side, she was 60 again. So, between the desire to return to the presentations and the situation that my mother was going through, everything was put in place for this return”, underlines the author of Have more respect for your mother.

-Or if an outgoing mother is more of a son than an artistic preoccupation?

-I don’t know if it’s because I’m a good son, but going on stage with my mother is the only way I can find to connect with her. I don’t go to visit her and she doesn’t come home often. It’s not that we have a very fluid relationship outside the dressing room. So it also makes me feel less guilty as a son. It’s not so much to be a good son.

-The scene saves the distances they have in real life? Or is the distance due to the fact that they live in different cities?

-No, Mercedes is not that far from San Antonio de Areco. It is not a geographical question. Offstage, I don’t have much conversation with my mother. On stage, you have to start well, which forces us to work together before the performance. The work allows us to connect around a specific theme. If you leave this specific topic, either you get into the family gossip, which is boring, or you get into the political topic where the conversation becomes absolutely unbearable. She voted for Alsogaray, her and my old man, both of them have always been very straight. I went out for ortho… So that’s better.

-The existence of any person is marked by the presence or absence of his parents. Why did you decide to add your mother to your artistic career?

-It was very relaxed. Both were in my childhood and my adolescence related to what I do. Not always for the positive; also for the negative. That sometimes my mother goes on stage has to do with a coincidence: when in 2015 I invited her to do a show that was going to have only one function and it worked very well, because she is very professional and a very good actress. She amuses me on stage, she is very keen on improvisation, without losing her temper. I’ve never had a problem of any kind with her on stage and what we do works well.

Are you going to let your mother humiliate you? How much is scripted and how much is improvised in the show?

-There is a structure, which is the series of stories that I tell and in which she participates. She has a script and she escapes from it when she wants, because she knows how to do it and because the public is impatiently waiting for her. In what she understands of what humiliation is, she plays her role very well, she tells intimacies that I play and that I don’t like her to tell. In some cases I don’t like it, but at this point I’m old and I don’t care. We have a lot of fun escaping into this structure.

the one man band

– For some time now, you have been much more than a writer, from the moment you decided to break with the traditional publishing market and open your own spaces with Orsai, which include everything from TV and radio appearances to a bar. How did this transition from writer to this SME that you are today go?

-I have always liked the whole context of communication. In fact, before the Internet, I used all the resources I had at my fingertips. In Mercedes, it’s not that I wrote in a newspaper, but when I was little I founded a newspaper and a magazine, and that gave me work, I entered the printing works, I bought a printing company and then founded it. .. I was still the same. I didn’t just like to write. I liked getting publicity, getting involved in all the production and distribution processes. I liked the whole context. In my short time in the publishing industry, I noticed that the writer is not allowed to fall in love with context. One of the first things that happened to me when I was publishing at major publishing houses was I went and tried to sit at the drafts table to see the paper weight, the line spacing, the marketing , and they pissed me off. They tell you, “No, you leave the manuscript here and we’ll pay you 10% of what we tell you we print. And it’s done. Obviously, I realized very quickly that it was not my way. It wasn’t what I liked to sit and wait to be paid 10% of whoever told me they were printing. It was never my wish. So I started doing what I wanted, already in the age of the Internet, which was easier for me than at Mercedes.

-And do you still love the context, or did the growth and diversification swallow up the passion of the times?

-We like Orsaiwe have grown a lot, but like Hernán I am still me. Orsai It’s a lot more than before, but my job over the years has always been to learn how to have good managers to talk to. They are the ones who talk to a lot of people, but I only talk to them. In Orsai audiovisual I speak with a person, in Orsai same editorial, and in the events part I speak with only one person. And they continue to be my friends for life… Afterwards, they have a lot of problems and I have very few problems and also friends.

The world of publishing and its pitfalls

-Have you heard or read Guillermo Saccomanno’s speech at the opening of the Salon du livre? What do you think about it?

-I heard it. In some planes I totally agree, in others not. I usually don’t agree when people who make art ask things from the “father state”. It generates bread for today and hunger for tomorrow, it gets you used to not having a back, to not having a waist. And there are things Guillermo said that strike me as amazing, that strike me as great to have said in this area and not in another. It seems to me that the most interesting thing in Guillermo’s speech is not so much what he said but where he said it. Because what he pointed out has already been said in other forums where we all agree with that. The interesting thing, the funny thing, the disturbing thing is having said it at the Fair. And among these things, I share a lot. But when an author, a director, a singer, gets up to ask for grants, it always makes noise.

-Because? Do you think that, far from giving freedom, the state presence linked to art limits it?

-Two things are happening. And it’s not a theory, it’s what happens. The first is that you will always have “daddy”; and it’s awful to have “dad” in the art world. It is not good for someone to tell you until what day you can play or under what conditions. The only way to solve this problem is to put all your energy into not having a “daddy”. And another thing that’s going on is the shrinkage and the huge comfort of those who get paid. Salary is the worst thing that can happen to your brain for an artist. It’s like an easy way out: if you can’t think of another, ask your father for money. It gives me that feeling.

-Do you think you need to escape for comfort in order to stay active?

– I think the same of the private, huh? The magazine Orsai There is no advertising and there is no subsidy either. There’s neither, because it’s the same thing: “Dad, give me some money for the back cover, I want to play something…”. We have to get out of paternalism. I put all my energy into not getting involved.

– But do you understand that at a certain moment of the production or the construction of an independent space one can need the “state or private father” to be able to do it?

-You have to think where to put the energy. It’s a tremendous amount of energy that goes into businesses to sell the back cover and then trying to get paid; they always pay you late and the bike starts in which you have to pay others… All this energy, which must be 75% of the total deposited in a medium or a work, must be used in something else. That’s a lot of energy. A lot of people think about that. And I don’t see so many people thinking about his work, his medium, how to improve it, the texture of the paper, how the quality of what’s being told is better… I see a lot of people trying to ‘to get money. And it does not work after another.

-What does the world look like from San Antonio de Areco?

-Like in slow motion. I work a lot, I have very dizzying discussions, because we do everything. with my friend from Orsai audiovisual we have a film in progress, a miniseries in pre-production and a documentary filming. With the people from the publisher, we have 14 books coming out, plus mine. And with the person in charge of events we do a lot, next month I’m in Montevideo, Santiago de Chile, Costa Rica… There are a lot of them. But when he cut the Zooms, there’s a horse next to me. When I turn off the Zoom and get out of the house, I start walking through huge grass and everything so far behind… That contrast is what I love. This slow motion, to think that everything has started to move in different cities but that I am still there reassures me a lot.


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