Ruth Gabriel: “There Comes a Time When Women Stop Being ‘Crap’ or Sexually Attractive”


Ruth Gabriel (Saint Fernando, 1975).
Ruth Gabriel (Saint Fernando, 1975).Alberto Di Lolli

San Fernando, 1975. Who was a girl from ‘Sesame Street’ and a ‘dunk’ prostitute from ‘Das Contados’ is now Magdalena in the version of ‘La Casa de Bernarda Alba’ which is being performed at the Teatro Espol in Madrid. 5 June. At the same time, Ruth Gabriel Finalizes a Project as a Producer: Documentary by Jose Luis López Linares’ Goya. The Listening Eye, which will be presented at Cannes Classics.

What is it like to represent this kind of play in Madrid?
I am not going to deny that there is a little fear, but it is also true that the day the fear is over, I will think that I am not ready, something is wrong. It is true that Madrid is a class that scares us because everyone is more ‘Lorquist’ than Lorca. But on the other hand, there are things that we have pretty solid. We’ve been on tour for over a year, we rocked it so well, we made a really powerful group of friends and we all grew together. Plus, in this time that’s been so convoluted, we’re all a little confused personally, a little more vulnerable and we’ve supported each other. So what you’re about to see is a real family.
He says the work is particularly alive.
This is the third time I have done ‘La Casa de Bernarda Alba’ and never in my life have I experienced such a powerful connection with the public. Because on this occasion the story is very close to the surface: we have experienced captivity and seen daughters locked up. We participate in the fall of Kabul and we see these women who lose their lives, their ability to walk. War breaks out in Ukraine and we find a Bernarda who is a dictator, the prelude to what would later become a civil war in Spain.
What is it like to be in the character of Magdalena?
I understand your pain, immense pain. And after that pain nothing matters anymore. In fact, the first sentence he says is “I don’t care”. You can only live with the energy of hate. And I also understand that: you are already at a rather complicated age. You know your family is losing money. The only real support you had, who gave you some freedoms and some privileges, was your father, the person you love the most in this world. And as soon as the ceremony begins, it is dead. I totally understand a woman’s reaction to a sexual outburst, not being able to do anything with it. Imprisoned in that house is an express cooker whose spout has not been opened.
What does one learn from that time?
My grandmother’s generation carries more stuff than it does today. You look at young people and they don’t believe it. You must have superhuman strength to be able to live life in such harsh, inhuman conditions. The work ends up being associated with ancestral things that scare us a lot, especially women. For example, if you don’t have any men, go back to not having any.
How has the situation improved?
I feel safe in Spain, although women who go out at night and don’t come back, who don’t show up, continue to die here too. Cases of gender-based violence are heard almost daily. It’s a joke compared to what might happen in Guatemala or Ciudad Juárez, but that doesn’t mean I’m not alert whenever I see a girl late at night.
I wanted to ask you for some personal reflection on Covid.
I know the pandemic had started and I had fallen into a hole that I thought was not going to come out. But all of a sudden, thoughts started popping up in my head and this has been one of the most productive years for me. On the other hand, I am concerned with young children, teaching them not to share, not to touch. What will happen to the social development of these children?
Why become an actress?
I’ve had a really bad time with my profession, but I prefer it to nothing in this world. You may be up, you may be down but the important thing is what you learn.
What is it like to grow up in front of the public?
I love a sketch of Amy Schumer who’s having a party when they stop being ‘crap. It is directly projected as such while being sexually attractive. In fact, I’ve heard officers say: “You have to wear this so that I feel like fucking him.” It’s so cruel. We do not have the right to grow old silently. And I’m in a time right now when I feel more powerful, stronger. Plus, they’re already demanding it from men: Now, if you don’t have a chocolate bar, you’re going to have a hard time. When we don’t realize that our real job is to reflect society. But to make it naturalistic you must be divine as death, grand, splendid, valiant… but not understandable when you speak.

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