Vicky is now Victoria, Victoria Luengo (Palma, 1990). “It’s what she calls my mother and the name with which I want to sign my work from now on,” explains the actress. Luengo has been in the news for a long time, especially due to her audiovisual successes, but now she arrives in Barcelona with an impressive 100-minute monologue. We are talking about Prima facie, by the Australian playwright Suzie Miller. The actress answers questions from La Vanguardia at the Poliorama theater, where she will present, from May 29 to June 22, the work premiered in Madrid, directed by Juan Carlos Fisher.

What is prima facie about?

It is the story of Tessa, a criminal lawyer who usually defends alleged sexual offenders. She comes from a humble family and is now at the top of her career and she really likes her work. Suddenly, something happens to him that makes him rethink her view of the legal system and all the beliefs she has had until now, because she becomes its victim.

All this with a single character?

No, I play a dozen. It is a monologue that is giving me a lot of joy, because, although it has been very hard to prepare and make and give birth to it, the result is very good.

How does this character who defends sexual offenders deal with this?

Before becoming a victim of rape, she defends these alleged sexual offenders. For me, as a woman, it was difficult for me, but I was lucky to be able to do this entire process with Juan Carlos Fischer, who is a very good director.

Now do you understand the character of the defense lawyer?

At first, I didn’t like her, because I couldn’t believe that a woman could empathize with someone who has sexually assaulted another woman. But we need lawyers for everything. That is to say, we live in a democratic State where we need to have the presumption of innocence.

Has cases like those in the work been documented?

From talking to lawyers and understanding where they see their work, we worked on the entire first part. And the second one did not require much research because, unfortunately, I believe that the work speaks of a common wound that many women have, most of all having someone close to them who has experienced that. According to verified UN data, one in three women is sexually assaulted. She is a very high number.

Prima facie means at first sight, and is used in legal language. Do you think that, as a society, we move excessively on first impressions?

I think that, unfortunately, there are many victims of these prejudices and first impressions, which is why the title of the work is very well chosen. The legal system, education and the society we have continue to judge the victim of sexual assault and, to begin with, question them. The first thing that comes to mind, to me too, is to think that he must have done something, or perhaps he didn’t say no with enough energy. Education must change so that this first view changes as well.

In this sense, does the work help?

In any job I do, I ask a question. I don’t just start doing what the text says and that’s it, but I try to contribute, as an artist, my specific question. And in this case it was: What happens in a body when it is sexually assaulted? I had many conversations with women who had suffered assaults, with centers and with psychologists, who helped me structure the idea of ​​what is happening to this body.

Does it reflect it on stage?

Theater has a power that no other art has, which is that something is happening before you and the spectator cannot be impervious. You are there and if what you are seeing is happening honestly, it sinks in. So, I thought it was a good opportunity to take the journey through the body, to try to make the viewer feel in their body what a person who has been a victim of sexual assault feels. Just having five people a day leave the room understanding what has happened to this body, I am happy.

How do you combine theater with successful series like Antiriots or Red Queen?

I love cinema because, when I shoot, I have a feeling of danger that is very stimulating: you have to hunt for inspiration at the moment. If an idea or question that I like to ask myself does not occur to you at that moment, it has already passed and you can no longer ask it. But I can’t imagine my life without getting on stage again. I have a contradictory feeling with theater, because I am not comfortable on stage, I feel vulnerable. A theater actor is like a tightrope walker: he has to be very concentrated to be present, and furthermore he cannot stop, he cannot repeat.

How do you experience this function?

This monologue has the same effect on me as climbing Dragon Khan. I’m in line, which is my 20 minutes before going on stage, and I say, no, no, no, I don’t know why I want to do it, I don’t know what I’m doing here, I’m sure something will happen, I’m sure now break the device. So I go up, they put the security things on me, and it’s, no, no, no, I want to go down, I want to go down, which would be the minute before when the announcement that says the show begins is ringing. The performance begins and it is horrible, because my expectation is that I will have a terrible time, I won’t know how to do it, I won’t be able to finish, and I swear that’s the case, it’s not false modesty. When I premiered I had tachycardia, I felt like vomiting, because the body doesn’t know that you are an actress, and I carried all that emotion of anxiety and fear with me. And then the pirouettes begin, those descents that generate deadly adrenaline, you scream and raise your arms, and when it’s over you say: “Another one, another one!” 

Catalan version, here