AN ENGLISH GIRL AT THE OFFICE
…OR LUCINDA’S INTERNSHIP AT THE CROSS BORDER
During this year 2013-14 we have had the pleasure of having with us Lucinda Spearman, a student form University of Cambridge who has done an internship as production assistant at The Cross Border Project. After a year of hard work, now she shares with us her experience on this post. Thanks so much!
As a languages student at university, the most exciting part of my degree is the third year abroad – an opportunity to live in another country, working or studying, and improve your fluency in a foreign language. A passion for theatre from a young age led me without hesitation to theatre production, and I optimistically started sending emails to the major theatres in Madrid asking for a job.
Months passed, however, and I received no response. Just as I was beginning to give up hope, an email from Lucía Miranda arrived in my inbox. And so my internship with the Cross Border Project began: 5 months of production, translation, rehearsals and shows. As the weeks went by, I realised how unique this company is and the importance of what they do – and I feel very fortunate to have been a part of it.
I arrived at my first rehearsal in Embajadores in January. The witty, nuanced script and (albeit quite bizarre) imagination of Perdidos en Nunca Jamás, which addresses what it’s like to have your dreams threatened in a recession-burdened generation, was a powerful introduction to the company’s unfalteringly relevant work. I have often felt frustrated by the sheer quantity of dull theatre productions programmed nowadays; but this was fresh and experimental, and asked all the right questions of the audience. Should you take a risk working in what you really love, or choose stability in a field where you feel no passion? What is the power of fantasy in a period of hopelessness, and can it be trusted? How will the future of the younger generation unfold? With its musical interludes, staggeringly relatable protagonist and kinky fairies, it was a pretty weird show. I lovedit.
Over the next few months, I worked closely with Lucía as a production assistant. From translation to accounting to research, it was a full immersion in what it is like to run your own theatre company. The website now appears fully translated into English, as part of a dedicated effort to widen the breadth of the company’s international reach. One of the most intense days involved 8 solid hours of translation work under extreme time pressure to make a deadline for a funding application; I had worked up to the wire in student theatre before, but it was a comfort to know that professional companies work in a similar way!
Later this year I went to a performance of the Cross Border’s other current show ¿Qué hacemos con la abuela? or What shall we do with Grandma?.This was my first Forum Theatre experience. While I did not choose to actively get involved in the improvisation (my own grandmother is an Alzheimer’s patient and so I already have first-hand experience), it was fascinating to see the audience so infuriated and eager to affect change.
The methods used in the production inspired an openness and empathy that is rare to see. This type of show does exactly what theatre should do, making it extremely valuable in today’s cut-throat society – it challenges us to ask how we judge others, how we confront the ugly truth of mental illness, what is our (perhaps sexist and out-dated) way of assigning female roles. Itwasimpossible to forgetafterleavingtheroom.
Looking back, I am glad that those bigger, commercial theatres ignored my emails, because it led me to a far more interesting and immersive experience. The Cross Border Project is a one-of-a-kind company, which made me feel more welcome than a large and faceless organisation ever could have. Their work in the community and as mouthpieces of this generation is extremely important. I am pleased to be able to handover to the next English intern for the company, continuing our English-Spanish collaboration. ¡Adelante!