tlf news

Vol. xlii #1

July, 2021

Singing in La Fragua

by Jorge Duarte

Ever since I was a child when I used to go to teatro la fragua for its artistic seasons and later as part of my student obligations, I felt that I was in a "sacred" place: a place where everything imaginable exists.

I have seen with the eyes of imagination its actors climbing a tree...and I swear I saw the tree, I saw the wolf talking to St. Francis of Assisi, and I heard the voice of the wolf, not that of the actor. I saw rivers, castles, entire cities and extensive crops, glasses, ropes, machetes, and everything that the actors wanted me to see in a small space of perhaps eight square meters.

And that is because la fragua has magic, the magic of the theater, of the spirit, of illusion. Lives, stories and legends fly in its space; when you enter its stage you feel the vibe of commitment, you feel a gala costume that envelops you because it is a special occasion.

In 1988, I had the opportunity to perform in the theater with my school's theater group, and I remember feeling important. It was a religious experience for me as a teenager.

I always wanted to have the opportunity to perform again in the theater, and, even more so, when every artistic season I have visited, now with my family, what for me are the fine arts of Progreso.

a fragua has the particularity of having the actors just a few meters away, of seeing the sparkle in their eyes, feeling the sound of their footsteps and reflecting their shadows in the front row. In la fragua no detail goes unnoticed because it is live, direct and in real time. No edits, and no room for error.

Life has given me gray hair, family and many musical experiences since 30 years ago when I dared to sing in public for the first time, but I have just achieved a dream, to sing in la fragua.

And at the end of this article

The COVID 19 pandemic has robbed us of many things, but it has also given us others. In my case, the opportunity to sing so that the people in this confinement have a little entertainment, and, with this I have also achieved my own occupational therapy with which to carry the situation a little better.

In the month of December 2020 I thought that I should do a concert with live musicians and sounding something acoustic, that was mine, that beyond the stage loaded with scenery what stood out was the music, the lyrics and the message of love of the songs. I immediately thought: Of course! Of course! If in Honduras there is a place with that spirit where what matters is the message, it's la fragua!

I confess that the idea scared me because la fragua is a sanctuary of the arts for me, and because the commercial has never been the idea of the institution, the message and the national reality has always prevailed. But, as if God opened a door, one day in the social networks of the theater I saw that a space was opening in the facilities, so that the artists could present themselves and express themselves virtually from their stage.

I immediately called the advertised number and was cordially attended by the person in charge of the project, who received my request with great openness and consulted with the general management, who approved my request in a couple of days.

The next step was the musicians, the songs, the television production and everything else, but first things first, it was la fragua, because it was there or nowhere.

It was my turn in a few days to visit the old building. Empty, lonely, peaceful and I could almost say sad because of what the pandemic has stolen from it. Its audience.

However, as soon as I entered I heard the voices of so many actors, I remembered so many plays and musicals seen from its bleachers over the years. And they are there, they have not left and I am sure they will return.

I stood in the center of the stage, its marked quadrants, its wooden floor sounding like a real theater, and, suddenly, the lights came on and illuminated me and I felt the shiver of feeling like an artist.

With the dress rehearsal, one day before the recording we stayed late; Luis, in charge of the theater and principal technician, treated us with decorum, respect and above all with kindness. Without complaining about the time, always attentive to our requests and transmitting confidence.

TeleProgreso produced the event and at the end of the work everything was impeccable. The theater looked spectacular, the atmosphere it provided was intimate and cozy. With nothing more than its lights and its sober stage, it looked and felt at its best.

30 years singing, experiences all over the country, on TV and in concerts full of people, and each experience has been special, but singing in teatro la fragua has been more than sublime.

Its founder and eternal director, Father Jack Warner SJ, has just left. And the future of the company is now in purely Honduran hands, one more test they are sure to pass. The building needs everyone's help and we will surely get it, now if I say this in plural because I feel part of la fragua.

I think we should be grateful and committed to the project, we are indebted to it, they are, as far as art is concerned, our maximum expression, our face and our pride.

The building needs a lot of help, but its cast is ready and its audience is just waiting for the box office to open for the show to begin again! It is a matter of time, and you will see it again!

I, who hope in God to have the joy of being on this stage again and this time surrounded by a close audience, even if I am dying of nerves, I am sure that day...will be my graduation as a true artist.

--Jorge Duarte


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