A shell in the heart 

A shell in the heart is the work of Wajdi Mouawad that can be seen at the CulturaUNAM Festival and directed by Rebeca Trejo. The fears, violence and fragility of childhood are the central themes of A shell in the heart, an autobiographical text by Wajdi Mouawad that the director Rebeca Trejo takes to the stage of the Santa Catarina Theater. It is a production of Teatro UNAM and the company Dorado 70 that narrates the physical and mental journey of the character Wahab, who goes from an episode of extreme violence to the death of his mother in the hospital where he arrives after receiving a phone call announcing it's time to say goodbye.

The childhood of the protagonist, Wahab, takes place in Lebanon, a country where a civil war was going on and was marked when, at the age of seven, paramilitaries boarded a bus full of civilians, killed them and then set them on fire, a fact that changed a childhood of games and hope for a confrontation with the violent reality that he witnessed. 

Rebeca Trejo explains that this fact generated an immense fear for Wahab that materialized in a woman whom she names the "woman with wooden limbs", which is like her monster and is present throughout her life through sounds, doubts and fears. 

Later Wahab and his mother were exiled, first they go to France and then to Canada, where at 14 years old he again faces a difficult situation that makes him run away from home by not recognizing his mother, who has changed in everything sense because the cancer she suffers transforms her from a woman with an oval face, round eyes and pretty hair, to a pale, thin woman with blond hair. 

“The work is the physical journey that the character makes from his apartment to the hospital, to the room where his mother dies and leaves. It is a journey through memories, in memory, he investigates when this story began and when it ended: did it start when I found out that my mother had cancer or did it start the day I saw the bus catch fire? and begins to make a mental journey to release those ghosts”. Rebekah Trej

Rebeca Trejo, who for 10 years has had a close relationship with the author and has even staged his works as an actress and producer, and for the first time as a director, states that she was interested in delving into the internal moments of the character, dreamlike moments and moments of reality that will lead him to confront his own existence, so it is a sensitive, profound and playful montage, but one that maintains the humor that Wajdi's text, translated by Raquel Uriostegui, suggests.

The project carried out with the support of the Support System for Creation and Cultural Projects (SACPC), will star Bernardo Gamboa, whose monologue will be supported by actress Paula Watson on video. The director's scenic proposal is more visual due to the fact that the character is an artist and therefore creates stage pictures; it will be an abstract place, a path drawn on screens like chaos, as if his memory had burst because what he remembers does not mean that it was real. 

Although in the text the physical journey is carried out by Wahab at 19 years of age, Rebeca Trejo decided that the narrator should be the same actor at 44 years of age, when there is already a kind of digestion or reflection of what he is talking about in a continuous present, of that journey that he takes and that results in a flashback in memories that are like a dream. A trip to the hospital that turns into an adventure, during which he even has an encounter with a Santa Claus.  

Wajdi Mouawad was appointed in 2016 director of La Colline, French National Theatre. Over the course of the last 20 years, he has established himself on the international scene for the vitality of his writing and the unique sharpness of his theatrical aesthetics; Whether through his plays, his staging or his novels, he expresses the idea that "art is a testimony of human existence seen through the prism of beauty." 

Among his more than 20 works are Litoral, FiresForests, Skies, All birds, Alfonso and Pacamambo, which have been translated into more than 20 languages ​​and have been staged in various countries such as England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Australia and the United States. 

Performances at the Santa Catarina Theater (Jardín Santa Catarina 10, Coyoacán)

From October 9 to October 16, within the framework of the Festival CulturaUNAM

In season until November 20, Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday at 6:00 p.m. 

Tickets cost $150, with a 50% discount for students, teachers, and former students of UNAM and INAPAM. On Puma Thursdays the price is $30 pesos.


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