The ingenuity of the little ones

Vivian Jiménez *

When you enter the pantheon of Paris, between its arches and colonnades, the golden lights of a century are opening the way of history to stop in front of the man who looks high, in the distance, where his thought and work came. Upon the spreads which he held in one hand and with the tinted pen, in the other, he wrote that It is always advisable to strive more to be interesting than accurate...

The factory

More than two centuries later, the idea of Voltaire continues to determine the role of solid artistic projects like the one developed by the theatre Company The Wit Since its founding in the year 2011. With the aim of To produce, promote and distribute the performing arts of the Latin culture, the group of artists that make it up, under the direction of Lilliam Vega Lauten, they overturn all their professional and emotional effort, in developing an artistic work that deepen in the life of the human being, from the most explicit realities to the most hidden.

The center of operations El Ingenio Teatro is Miami, the ideal city to achieve the exchange between the varied, and so close, Latin American cultures that converge there. A fertile place, in a constant process of cultural expansion, where artists enter and leave with works of art marked by this mixture. Where all colors and flavors come together, guided by a common language and a related ancestral culture. In the midst of these excellent conditions, a consolidated and unique art can only emerge, generating its own seal of identity. From there it launches itself into the frank world of creation El Ingenio Teatro.

The company, through the scenic and visual arts, not only expands to other cities, other countries in Europe and Latin America, to show the artistic trends born in South Florida, but also tries to bring to their community the proposals that Other artists, interested in Latin culture or with works where their influence is perceived, develop in different parts of the world.

El Ingenio Teatro has recreated a range of tabloid works from classics such as Blood Weddings, A Streetcar called Desire, Hamlet, to others linked to phenomena that mark our times, such as migration, with the work Back to Havana. Others that search in the life of mysterious characters like Alberto Yarini Ponce de León, are also part of his broad repertoire. Great artists, great scenarios, a cordial and empathetic relationship in the group; But above all a great director, the Cuban Lilliam Vega Lauten, are responsible for making with their effort that life is more interesting than accurate.

The great sculpture of Voltaire that heads its sepulchre in the pantheon of Paris, reminds to a maker, to a valuable member of the factory of the universal thought. Someone who wrote works such as Oedipus, Zaire, Brutus, Candide, among many others, with the ambition to help dispel the darkness of human thought. Process From its pure state, Enrich, Exchange, Create, is the path that follows wit, Theatre Factory – as its members call it – that focuses its objectives on the common denominator of its environment, Latin culture.

Children in ingenuity

After having achieved suggestive projects since its foundation and considering more and more ambitious artistic programs, together with the professional activity of the adults, it El Ingenio Teatro created a Permanent art workshop for Children and adolescents.

To bring the art and the Latin culture in general, to the new generations, from its earliest stages, was the motive that led to this theatre factory thinking of the little ones. Aware of the characteristics of children between four and twelve years of age, where the capacity of assimilation lives its splendor waiting to be worked, the professors of the company are consecrated with preciousness and professionalism to a work of commitment From the first day of school.

This is a workshop where there are no exclusive requirements or preliminary auditions that determine the admission of children. Enter the one who wants it. Scholarships and special programs are also available for those children who need it. A space where students Enjoy and learn at the same time. Where they exercise the artistic manifestations as if it were a trip or a game. Knowing that the playful moment is ideal for the learning of the infantile ones, from El Ingenio Teatro they try to penetrate the infinite world of the children with the purpose of demanding them the most that they can give.

The workshops are organized to fit the school year, which allows them to participate without suffering any alteration in their studies. On the contrary, the aim is for what they have learned to El Ingenio Teatro form a creative psychological basis, integrated into their general life, which favours The development of the child's personality. Each week students receive classes in painting, music, singing, movement, performance, makeup, dance, among others. The purpose is that they learn to explore and to manage in the different artistic disciplines, necessary for the development in the scene.

While it El Ingenio Teatro is true that within the purpose of preserving the roots of the Latino culture in the United States, and as an essential element its Spanish language, it does not constitute an excuse for not being admitted by the Company that the student only speaks English. Within the flexible project of the workshops, it is contemplated to adapt the classes so that all the children can understand, communicate and enjoy it. The teachers are in charge of making the classes more enjoyable by using both languages as a communication tool, acquiring a bilingual nuance.

Some of the workshops presented as Platero, The Pirates, The Elephant Bernardo, are the result of the laborious effort Specialist Professors, and the interest, the daring and the sense of professionalism of the children involved. These last terms seem to be typical of the older ones, but in the right context, children can demonstrate that they are an active part of this world in which adults feel protagonists.

At the end of each semester is the presentation of the work on which the children were working, as well as a small sample of the exercises developed during that time in different disciplines. It is a great time for workshop participants, as they are given a certificate, and their family and friends can appreciate everything they have learned.

The task with the little ones is not confined to the workshop alone. Many of them, especially those who have been in the company for more time, have participated in professional shows with adults like Blood Weddings And The Hamlet case. At the same time, thanks to the dynamic that is established between teachers and students, the workshops have been attractive for others who are not so small. Hence, young people, up to eighteen years, are often approached to help and collaborate voluntarily in working with children.

In children's programs, it also El Ingenio Teatro introduces an extracurricular class format. At the West Miami City Recreation Center and the Women's Park, they have been part of the summer camps. Crucially important events, organized by the County, targeted at teenage girls. The spirit of the Company is not rigidly confined to the established, nor does it mark boundaries that hinder its growth as an artistic entity, but rather it is prolonged in an exercise in which the community itself participates.

Regálame a Smile

Regálame a Smile is the name of the program he develops El Ingenio Teatro with the children. The greatness of these workshops is that the children become able to Overcome their fears, their blocking, interpreting or creating characters. Begin to To develop a sense of responsibility to themselves and to the collective Of the other children who are part of the show. Release their bodily expressions of Pigeonholes, becoming creative and learning to show what they feel. Enrich their diction and vocabulary, exercise concentration and memory With each character they represent. All in A playful, friendly, safe and fun atmosphere, where they all find their place, and find it because they become capable, with the help and guidance of the professors, of Creárselo and believe. Impossible to doubt what can achieve the capacity and artistic mastery of the director Lilliam Vega Lauten, who besides being the daughter of two great figures of the art, the director of Cinema Pastor Vega and the director of the theatre Buendia Flora Lauten, had a very dear grandmother He had in his backyard as a mascot, a mouse and a toad.

In addition to the workshops, with children there have been adaptations of universal classics such as The Flying crab and the Puss in Bootsamong others. You El Ingenio Teatro are interested in encouraging your children The love of classical works reading, who know how to recognize the values of a heritage literature of all.

In the workshops, dynamics are introduced to improve the children's abilities, the world is recreated in a protected space, where they can learn what they will find in that less generous society. Director Lilliam has commented that the important thing about work is always children, being close to them, their tastes and their needs, their dreams, fears and ambitions. Here it includes not only the children who act, but also those who come as spectators. That is why the company's work is not restricted to theater as a place, they have also been presented in places as far away as in Saint Jude Hospital in Memphis and as close as in children's hospitals in Miami.

When you hear the name of the workshops in El Ingenio Teatro, Regálame a Smile, it can happen that you immediately think of a kind of petition that is made to children when they join the company. However, the sense travels on a contrary path. It is precisely the child who asks for a right that belongs to them and that the adults forget. The director Lilliam Vega Lauten expresses it in ideas as clear as: "Giving a smile to every child who arrives at our workshops is our responsibility, at the same time a very high goal that we propose to not disappoint them, we must ensure that in their lives has Always a space for hope and learning. "

Great experiences

The work El Ingenio Teatro with the children is not only based on artistic learning, it is also a deeply psychological work where Feelings, emotions and assessments of the child itself are involved. Processes that are constantly changing and readapting at a stage during which the bases of the personality feel.

The group of children, guided by the teachers of El Ingenio Teatro, is constantly revealing new behaviors that are essential in the human being, as a result of learning as a whole. Each new step taken by a child, no matter how small it may seem, is a step in his or her favour, one that will provide the necessary foundation for his or her strengthening and security. The workshops are full of experiences in this sense.

You can find situations like the one that happened with a girl who was very shy and fearful. He had attended the workshops carried out by his parents. During classes, teachers check that he was afraid to raise the look on the floor and liked to speak little. The artistic director, Lilliam, awarded him a character in which besides speaking he had to sing. In the first rehearsal during the music class, the girl starts to cry, and says she's not going to do it. Another girl who participates in the class tells the teacher not to worry that she would do it instead. The teacher holds a conversation with the affected child, in order to relieve the pressure she may be feeling, but without allowing her responsibility to be evaded. He explains that if he could not at that time, he would do it in another, when he was ready; But at that moment the other girl was going to have to do it because the show could not be suspended. The girl immediately reacted, stopped crying, and decided that she was going to do it. The girls were between five and six years old.

Challenges behind the curtain

The company's most complex company is related to teenagers. To the theatre come students with stories full of complexes, fears and distrust that have them immobilized and suffering, which makes it difficult to manage freely on the stage, much less in society. These teenagers have often been bullied at school. They are objects of mockery of their own classmates, because of their physical characteristics, their way of expressing themselves or moving, by their shyness, by their sexual preference, by the color of their skin.

They are teenagers who voluntarily arrive at the workshops. At first with many reservations, insecurities, as a result of the situations that have had to go through. But with the work of teachers and other classmates, they begin to discover and reveal their bad experiences, their problems, allowing them to start A process of liberation That contributes favorably in their lives.

Children and teenagers who arrive for the first time in the countryEl Ingenio Teatro, without knowing English or the society they live in, are not only motivated by an artistic interest, but also as a means of solving the new social challenges they face. With the workshops they are able to fill those gaps, to Gain confidence and develop the sense of belonging, which with the abandonment of the native country shipwrecks a time adrift. In the workshops Regálame a Smile Children find a space of freedom and feel part of it, Feel like family, because no one questions or judges them.

In some of the classes, students of different ages intentionally attend, they mix, an idea that has been very positive to the company because it develops a high level of camaraderie. The larger ones protect the small and help them, the little ones learn from the great. The significance of this work together is that children and adolescents then go out to society, to school, to the family home, with a stronger foundation about themselves and how to relate. Reproduce The ease, the conviction, the solidarity, who learned in a safe place like the one offered by the company.

El Ingenio Teatro It is based on the precept that, with regard to objectives and principles, There is no difference between working with children and with adults. The audience – regardless of age – arrives at the theater waiting for the curtain to be opened to find empathy, meet needs, learn, have fun and a multitude of other interests. So the artist is there, as old as he is, to Deliver All your talent and your energy, conquering attention, enchanting, arousing interest, and under those circumstances, create a Space for reflection and exchange. That's how Lilliam Vega Lauten, the director of the theatre ingenuity, thinks. Which helps to resume, and complete, Voltaire's phrase ... because the spectator forgives everything but the doze.

* Writer