Ane Gabarain, actress: “I was terrified of bathing naked in the river at 60 years old” | Culture

Ended the function Bernarda Alba’s house, at the María Guerrero theater in Madrid, and left quickly for Valladolid. Nothing less than the Goya award for best supporting actress for her character in 20,000 species of bees, the film by Estibaliz Urresola that brings to light in a brilliant and shocking way the world that surrounds the transsexual collective. Ane Gabarain, 60-year-old actress from San Sebastian, who participated in the series Homeland and for which she was nominated in 2021 for best female performer at the International Emmys, she is now in the shoes of Poncia, Bernarda Alba’s maid, in Lorca’s play directed by Alfredo Sanzol. “It is a text that has been with me for 40 years,” says the actress.

Ask. What does a first Goya mean at 60?

Answer. It is a rush, a kick for someone who has been working for 40 years, during which you have beautiful moments, but also bad ones. I am a basic actress, with pick and shovel, working every day, inventing work if there is none. I have had a very complicated year, in which I have had professional disappointments.

Q. By?

R. You have to assume that this job is like that. One day you have a job, then you disappear, you go months without being called and then many things coincide. But this year things have happened to me that, at my age, about to turn 61, it has been a bit difficult for me to overcome. I don’t want to go into details. And, suddenly, the Goya arrives and injects you with enthusiasm and reconciles you with your vocation. It has helped me a lot to overcome bad times.

Q. She has defined herself as an actress of pick and shovel. In what sense?

R. 40 years ago I entered the Official Theater School created that same year by the Basque Government, in the midst of post-Francoism. Everything was yet to be done, in full effervescence, television, the professionalization of theater, culture. I was very young and I really wanted to do things. I became in tune with people like me, fans of independent theater, of teamwork. It was a time in which job, training and vocation had nothing to do with what one can live now. I have always conceived the job as something collective and with a lot of effort behind it. I am very hardworking, I always have been.

Q. In her speech at the Goya gala she spoke about the visibility of mature actresses and their greater participation. Are we facing a change?

R. I’m not very clear about it. It is true that women have advanced, but we must also take into account that there are more productions, series and projects and that causes a greater number of characters. For me it was striking that the five actresses nominated for supporting roles were all mature women. I thought it was very nice. I felt very proud.

Q. When and why did he decide to go gray?

R. I have had gray hair since I was 30 and I had always dyed it, but because of the movie 20,000 species of bees, they bleached my hair because Estibaliz (the director) wanted a natural woman. Now I feel very well and, in addition, they compliment me a lot about my gray hair.

Q. His character in 20,000 species of bees He is a free soul. What fears were you facing?

R. There were two specific things that terrified me. The first, all the handling of the real bees that I had to handle. I did it with the help of an apitherapist and a beekeeper who taught me how to use tweezers and with whom I practiced a lot. The second thing was bathing naked in a river. Me, 60 years old and everything hanging, and getting into a frozen river. Poof. I was very reluctant, but Estibaliz convinced me and now I have to admit that the treatment of the sequence is very elegant. What this job has is that it helps you overcome challenges.

Q. What learning have you learned from the transsexual collective?

R. Thanks to this film my eyes have been opened to a reality that is somewhat distant for me. I have met trans people, their families, environments, friends, and I have to admit the bravery and difficulties they have to go through. It is so important that they recognize themselves and reaffirm their identity.

The actress Ane Gabarain in an image from ‘Patria’.HBO

Q. His career began to take off on television, with the first successful series such as Bi eta Bat, in ETB. How do you remember those years?

R. I would have been 27 years old and I remember the bombshell that it was Bi eta Bat, in which he worked with Elena Irureta and José Ramón Soroiz. I have a special affection for him because my media career began to take off there. We didn’t do more than 26 half-hour episodes, but it was a very novel and extremely careful thing. For a half-hour episode, we might have spent five days filming. Where has that been? We are light years away. Now half an hour of one sitcom It’s done in a jiffy.

Q. What did your participation in Homeland for your career?

R. It has been very important. Not only as an actress, but also for participating in a story about what was experienced in the Basque Country. We were not aware of the expectation and success that she was going to have. She even led me to be nominated for best actress at the International Emmys. And as a Basque citizen, she was a personal catharsis. The fact of doing Homeland and analyzing the story, the characters, was a shock. You wonder how we have been able to live so many years like this. It is a series that should be viewed in institutes and schools so that new generations can see it.

Q. He is back on stage with Bernarda Alba’s house. What do you find in the theater?

R. I don’t want to sound pretentious, but I paid a high price to participate in the play. When Alfredo Sanzol offered me the Poncia, I put aside other works I had, because for me this work is sublime. This text by Lorca has been with me for 40 years. There are entire scenes of the play that I have known by heart for 40 years. I couldn’t resist.

Q. What attracts you most about theater?

R. The theater toughens you a lot. I have done a lot of theater out of profession and necessity. By this I mean that doing theater is not always enjoyable. I have suffered a lot. It’s like everything, it depends on what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, who you’re doing it with, and under what conditions. You can suffer and enjoy a lot doing theater, you can suffer and enjoy a lot doing film or television. I have learned with this job not to belittle or sublimate anything.

Q. What does Lorca tell us today with this work?

R. Lorca tells us about the tyranny of patriarchy, desire, love, social classes. His messages are very alive. One of our desires with this work is to engage with the viewer and, above all, with the young viewer so that they can empathize with these characters, with their desires, their desires, their conflicts, so that they do not see it as something old and distant. .

The actress Ane Gabarain at the María Guerrero theater in Madrid.
The actress Ane Gabarain at the María Guerrero theater in Madrid.Andrea Comas

Q. What stands out about Poncia?

R. She is a basic woman on the outside and very complex on the inside. A wonderfully contradictory woman with an enormous survival instinct. Poncia, an outcast of very humble origins, the daughter of a prostitute, who has been in Bernarda’s service for more than 30 years, perfectly embodies what the class struggle is. She is a woman mistreated and despised by Bernarda, but, at the same time, she then mistreats and despises the maids who are beneath her and her beggars.

Q. Were you afraid when facing this character so represented over the years?

R. Yes, but you have to know how to let go of that burden. We have made our house Bernarda Alba.

Q. It seems that he has abandoned comedy somewhat.

R. No, that never. As an actress and as a person I need humor. If an actor or actress does not do comedy, they are not complete. There are very solemn actors or actresses who I am not going to raise their rating until I see them doing the trick. Comedy is underrated and is a tremendously difficult genre. It’s easier to make a good drama than a good comedy.

Q. Has it been easy for you to get involved in the world of acting?

R. It is a job with very irregular and discontinuous activity, and this creates horrible anxiety. When you haven’t worked for six months, everything starts to falter. Over the years I have relaxed somewhat, but I am worried about not contributing. In theater it is more difficult than in cinema because the prices are lower. We have a very irregular and discontinuous activity.

Q. Do you feel well paid at 60 years old?

R. I feel like I could have been paid better, but I’m not complaining.

Q. What reflection do the cases of workplace or sexual harassment in the world of culture suggest to you?

R. They seem tremendous to me. We must continue fighting, raising our voices, sharing, fighting and denouncing.

Q. Is there fear of reporting?

R. Fortunately something is being lost, but there is still fear.

All the culture that goes with you awaits you here.

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