Brighton Fringe Festival 2021
Agustina Dieguez Buccella
5, 6 June - 5:15pm / 12, 13 June - 3:30 pm.
“Fragile” is about a self-assured and powerful woman who “doesn't need anyone”. When lost in the middle of the mountains, this woman realizes that she got it all wrong. In order to survive, she has to go back, get rid of all the layers that she is unnecessarily wearing, and admit that asking for help is her way out. Vulnerability, breakthroughs, empowerment, and new beginnings.
Hey Agustina, thanks for talking to TNC, how have you been keeping during these rather strange Covid times?
Thank you so much for having me! Covid times have been a bit of a roller coaster, same as for most people I would assume. For moments it was a struggle, I felt lonely and hopeless, especially with the industry shutting down and all the uncertainty. As for the positives, I got myself into running with more consistency, video calls with my family back in Argentina became a weekly thing, and I explored different areas of my creativity. For a while, I did some fun sketches for Instagram, joined every single Zoom class or seminar I could find, and obsessed with being productive and making the best out of these times. That didn't last much and instead, I decided to listen to myself more and do things only because I felt inspired to do them and not because I felt like I had to. Writing became my main enjoyable thing, I can say.
During lockdown did you develop any bad habits that have been hard to break?
Yes! Going to sleep late, plus LOTS of screen time. I find it a bit difficult to break them, to be honest, especially the mindless scrolling on social media and the Netflix binge-watching. It's so easy to fall into them!
How does it feel to be able to have your World Premiere at the 2021 Brighton Fringe?
I am incredibly excited to have my one-woman show being premiered at Brighton Fringe. For me, this is like my first baby, my first creative project that it's 100% mine. I feel so proud of it and I believe in the story and the message. Honestly, I can't wait to share it with the world and hopefully bring something new, relatable, beautiful, and thought-provoking.
Do you have any rituals before you go out on stage?
I always do quite an in-depth vocal warm-up, with lots of tong twisters! Having English as my second language, I believe this is one of the most important things I should do. Then I do a little bit of yoga, to connect body, breath, and mind. After a quick meditation, I follow up by smiling at myself in the mirror while saying "you've got this". I like to close my eyes and feel gratitude just one second before going out on stage. Basically, anything that makes me feel connected, grounded, and ready!
Tell me a little bit about Fragile, how did the show come about?
I started writing freely for a bit over a month until I realized that everything I was writing was somehow connected. I let myself be overtaken by inspiration and continue writing without censoring or editing myself. Later I found the perfect context for my story, once I lived a particularly interesting experience (I got lost in the middle of the mountains in Spain and had to be rescued). This made me discover that I had a message to share and a one-woman show seemed like the perfect channel for it. It was my first time writing something like this but I didn't let fear or self-doubt bring me down. I kept believing that it was a story worth sharing so, after lots of drafts, I brought it to life.
Photographer: Ali Wright
"I always liked theatre and I was even forcing my siblings to be my supporting actors in the shows I was presenting to my parents, ever since I was a child."
Did you have any apprehensions about writing and performing in a piece that draws from you own experiences?
I firmly believe that writing from your own experience is the best thing you can do. It feels authentic, unique, whole, surprising, and gratifying. I used my experience as an inspiration and then I went deeper. Not everything you will see in the show happened in real life. I took reality and I made it even more honest. I investigated what was underneath the surface and I decided to be brave enough to share it in my story.
Has it been cathartic for you being bale to look back at these experiences and take new or fresh understandings from them?
Yes! Absolutely. I think when you write, and especially when you do it from your own experience, you are revealing bits of your heart with every written word. Being able to put it together and present it in front of an audience made me feel audacious, brave, and vulnerable. I took some painful experiences and I transformed them into art, and that for me is beautiful. Also, the more I open myself the more people can relate to the message and that is the ultimate goal.
What has been the most valuable lessons you've taken away from writing Fragile?
I have to say the realization that I was enough. Embracing that message in every decision I made with the show. Every time I was doubting myself, the show, the writing, the staging, I kept reminding myself "what's the message you want to leave? You are enough. Trust!". Also, in the show, I talk about being independent and at the same time lonely and ironically, I found myself wanting to do absolutely everything by myself without any help. The writing, the staging, directing, acting, producing, promoting, etc. The struggle is real! In other ways, I felt like I grew so much from when I first wrote the show, and that makes me feel happy.
Where did your passion for theatre come from?
I always liked theatre and I was even forcing my siblings to be my supporting actors in the shows I was presenting to my parents, ever since I was a child. I used bedsheets as curtains and playdoh snacks for intermissions. I took acting classes most of my adult life, but always as a hobby. I actually graduated as a lawyer, back in Argentina. I believe it was when I was watching the show "Matilda" on Broadway, NYC, clapping at the end and feeling my heart pumping when I realized, I need to give this my full attention. I abandoned the secured path of working as a lawyer and moved into London to pursue my passion. No regrets!
Has your style and the approach to your works changed much since you started out?
Yes, at the beginning it was more for the outside, more superficial, and trying to fit someone else's expectations. Now my style and approach are honest, genuine, daring, and bold. I like to go deep, I like to experience humanity fully and embrace all emotions. I don't try to "hide the ugly bits" because I believe that those are precisely what make art so beautiful.
What has been the best advice you've been given?
To believe in myself and in what I can create. We are all so endlessly capable of creating the life we dream of. I wouldn't be where I am if I hadn't believed in myself and taken some risks.
Do you have any advice you would offer a fellow theatre maker?
If you truly believe in something, do it! Don't think of the obstacles, they only matter if you allow them to matter. There is a story in you that everyone is waiting to hear about!
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your show?
I hope people can see themselves in my story, that they can discover something about themselves that they didn't know before. I want to make them laugh, feel, cry, think and go back home feeling that a little bit of my story will stay with them for a while. I want to inspire, show something original and make everyone leave the theatre saying "wow, that was a roller coaster of emotions".