From plays to artistic interventions in schools. This is only part of what the first version of the festival “A lo Quinta, theater and pedagogy” will offer, which will be held in the commune of Rengo between the months of May and August, and which seeks to pay tribute to the late theater pedagogue, actor, theater director and playwright Hernán Quintanilla Méndez, who died in December 2021 due to cancer, at the age of 83.
This festival -co-organized by the cultural group “Cacho e Cabra” in collaboration with the Department of Culture of the Illustrious Municipality of Rengo, in its program Rengo Creativo- seeks to promote and preserve Quintanilla’s legacy as a teacher and theatrical creator, a task where he inspired to generations of artists, cultural managers and, above all, people, during its more than 60-year history, leaving an indelible mark on the Renguina community and, in general, on the world of culture and the arts.
In its first stage, which will take place during the month of May, the festival will be held in the historic assembly hall of the Luis Galdames de Rengo School, where three national theater productions will be presented, in whose casts renguinos actresses and actors participate During their time as students, they had the opportunity to learn from the teacher Hernán Quintanilla.
On May 14, at 7:00 p.m., “El Tony Chico” will be presented free of charge, by the Escuela Popular de Teatro de Recoleta and directed by Felipe Lagos (La Familia Teatro). This free version of the classic by Luis Alberto Heiremans tells the story of an impoverished circus on the outskirts of the city, which is transformed by the arrival of Landa, a foreigner threatened by his dreams and alcohol, who will renew the energies of this circus. faded, but it will also awaken the most hidden passions and misadventures of the members who daily cover their pains and secrets behind the makeup and sequins of each function.
A week later, on May 21, “Just as the fruit arrives” will be presented, directed by the prominent national actor and director, Rodrigo Pérez, and which covers part of the history, the repertoire and the time on the radio of Las sisters Loyola during the 1940s. Through cuecas, tunes, waltzes and some other forgotten melody, this production will offer a true journey through time and the folk and popular sound heritage of Chile.
Meanwhile, on May 28 at 7:00 p.m., the play “Los Despertares de Marín” will be presented, premiered in 2019 at the Matucana 100 cultural center. The show -written and directed by Bosco Cayo- mixes the life of Gladys Marín, maximum a referent of the left of the 80s and 90s, his mythical Victory Train (1999) and speeches extracted from news and social networks in counterpoint to a disappointed militant who needs to believe.
Origin of the festival
The actor Jaime Leiva was one of Quintanilla’s former students and is part of the cast of “Los Despertares de Martín”, among other shows on the national scene of the last decade. The prominent national actor explains that the idea of holding this festival arose after the death of the “Quinta”, as they called him, an instance that brought together several generations of former students.
“We do not consider Quintanilla’s departure as a departure, as a death, we would like to point it out as a step, as the departure of his body, because it has been impressive how Quintanilla has not died, he is more alive than ever in us, and in what what we are doing today. This prompted us to get together, to propose ideas to continue recalling his image, and more than valuing it, continue working with the image of the Quinta”, he says.
From his role as a teacher, Quintanilla instilled -almost like a mantra in his students- that “the theater heals, in theater it saves”. It is in this line that the second stage of the festival will be focused on opening dialogue and reflection between students and artists about the creative processes and the pedagogy of love transmitted by the deceased artist with a limp.
For this, the festival will carry out a series of pedagogical-creative mediation meetings between the educational centers Emma Escobar from Lagos de la Isla, Víctor Nicoletti from Chanqueahue and the Rengo Industrial School, where the works “Chile Chico”, “El Wizard of Oz” and “The Careful Guardian”, works adapted and authored by Quintanilla. In addition, a traveling museum that portrays the playwright’s career will be exhibited in each “MUTAR” establishment.
Finally, the third and final stage of this festival will take place in August, the month of Hernán Quintanilla’s birth, where Quintanilla’s works will be presented free of charge for educational communities and the limp public.
During his six decades of career, Quintanilla dedicated himself to cultivating and developing art in various expressions, highlighting among his creations hymns from numerous educational establishments, stories, poems, and dozens of plays in various genres and styles. The latter have been presented by school groups, youth and adults, both amateurs and professionals.
An example of this is “Mari Mari, cacique Puma”, a children’s play that opened the 1990 season of the National Theater of Chile, directed by Daniel Muñoz. “Mari mari”, re-released in 2016 by the company La Yunta de Rengo, tells the story of the chief Puma, who lives in the Araucanía area, accompanied by other characters such as the Owl, his daughter Puma Linda and his faithful survivors, the Toads. However, the chief Puma has a serious problem: his hair loss, which he will try to solve with the help of his friends. Through his history, the indigenous roots take center stage, making a patrimonial rescue of the Mapuche culture. In addition, the characters reflect on caring for the environment, highlighting the importance of the flora and fauna of our territory.
Another key work in the history of Quintanilla is “Sunday Sundays”, premiered in 2012 by the municipal company of Rengo, and which corresponds to an adaptation of the story by Rosario writer Ulises González and which includes various heritage elements typical of the town of Rosario, delving into its industrial and sports history through the presence of the sugar and alcohol factory, Azucol, and its soccer team. A story inspired by remembered neighbors, who returned to the stage to tell the story of their beloved town. In the story, Domingo is the star of the Azucol de Rosario team, but an accident puts his victory in the championship in jeopardy. Don Luis Garcia, president of the club, is looking for various alternatives to recover the scorer.
And although there are many others, “Of wines and burning love” is another key work to understand his legacy, especially because of the autobiographical elements it contains. In this work, premiered in 2007 and re-released in 2015, “Nano”, a young teacher and poet, loses his youthful love, Mónica, due to being immersed in alcohol and bohemia. The story takes place in the well-known Estación de Rengo neighborhood in the 50s and 60s, between restaurants and the well-known house of Yolita, the cabaret manager, where the characters give life to this reconstruction of the memory and biography of its author.
Like many of his works, “Of wines and burning love” is written in tenth spinel, one of the hallmarks of his dramaturgy.