La Nina Barro

Aug 5 2014 | By More

✭✭✭✩✩    A feminine awakening

Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom (venue 93) Thurs 31 July – Sun 24 August 2014

What does it mean to be a woman? And how do women form their ideas of self awareness? Edinburgh-based Fronteiras Theatre Lab explores these notions in an original, physical, transcultural performance at the Free Fringe Festival.

La Nina Barro preview performance. Photo: Sandra Navarro

La Nina Barro preview performance. Photo: Sandra Navarro

La Niña Barro is inspired by a collection of over 20 poems by Spanish writer/journalist Marta Massé. Performed exclusively through physical movement and Spanish spoken word, La Niña Barro tells the story of a girl made of clay and her journey from creation to self awareness.

The production deals with a number of profound themes, exploring the creation of meaning and femininity, parental responsibility and the ascription of shame and self awareness.

Actress Elizabeth Sogorb embodies La Niña and the show follows her progress, emerging almost unformed from the cocoon of clay, seeing her struggle with newfound physicality and her first stuttering steps. Her birth is accompanied by music by Alexandra Rodes, who improvises reactions with a mbira; a Zimbabwean musical instrument.

Sogorb is enchanting as La Niña’s consciousness begins to emerge and she experiences the world around her. Her mental awakening is symbolically accompanied by the gradual removal of clay from her body. The childlike wonderment and delight is clearly portrayed with La Niña’s first contact with water – it’s a magical experience to watch.

a poignant reminder

During this process, Rodes appears to take on the role of parent in caring for La Niña and moves between teaching, nurturing and ignoring her. It’s a poignant reminder of the importance of parental responsibility and how that can shape a child’s development. As La Niña grows, Sogorb begins to explore femininity and displays an increasing awareness and vulnerability of her body. This is exacerbated by an encouragement by Rodes to cover.

Some audience members may struggle with the entirely Spanish vocalisation in the show, which does not have subtitles. While this has been a deliberate decision by director Flavia D’Avila, it can cause confusion. This doesn’t detract from the performances, but non-Spanish speakers are left wondering if they have missed a vital part of the performance. An accompanying translation included in the programme may be beneficial.

D’Avila, has had a challenging time creating her vision for La Niña’s growth. Her direction has spanned continents and she was almost stymied by local prudery. For the latter, an introductory explanation concerning the nakedness situation maintains her artistic integrity, while her vision has been realised on the stage through the expressive and sometimes enchanting portrayal by Sogorb and Rodes.

Running time: 1 hour
Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom, 5-11 Leith Street, EH1 3AT (Venue 93)
Thurs 31 July – Sun 24 August 2014
Daily at 12.00 noon
For more information:
Fronteiras Theatre Lab website:


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