Agustina Dieguez Buccella is heading to the Camden Fringe with a very personal show this year. Here, she talks about her journey into the industry, influences on her work and the intentions of this new play, “Fragile”, which plays the Etcetera Theatre on Saturday 7th August and Saturday 28th August.
First of all, how are you, and how have rehearsals been going for the upcoming performances of “Fragile”?
Hi Eliza, thank you so much for having me! I am doing really well, feeling very energised after performing “Fragile” in Bedford this past Saturday. I am enjoying the rehearsals and connecting with my piece on a deeper level every time I perform it.
That’s lovely to hear after the 18 months we’ve just had! Now, I was very intrigued to read that you switched careers from lawyer to actor – what prompted such a shift in direction for you?
I was born into a family with very traditional career choices and while growing up I only saw acting as a hobby. I was taking classes and performing in theatres while studying at Law School thinking that acting was something I could only do on the side, just for fun. My passion for theatre kept growing and it wasn’t until I was watching some Broadway shows in NYC that I realised I could no longer ignore what my heart was yelling at me. I moved from Argentina, where I am from originally, to London and decided to pursue acting professionally, as a career and as my priority. It has been (and still is) challenging, and even more when you are starting out, but I’ve never been happier and I don’t regret my decision.
I’m glad to here it. So “Fragile” is your first solo show following previous theatre and film projects, and it sounds like it comes from a very personal place for you. What influenced you to bring this story to the stage?
Fragile came so organically and effortlessly to me. I found myself writing things that were coming from my heart, in a non-judgemental and cathartic way. I didn’t know at the beginning that I was writing a one-woman show. I was simply allowing what was in my heart to be put on paper. It was later when I was re-reading my notes that I came to realise that I had a story to tell. A one-woman show felt like the perfect medium for it.
And the central character in “Fragile” finds herself in quite a dangerous situation high up in the mountains. How are you going about capturing such a place on stage and, for you, how significant is this setting to the piece?
The setting of Fragile is very minimalistic. Black box theatre. A huge backpack, the costume, and the script will set the scene. Then the audience will be in charge of creating the images in their mind, allowing their imagination to take over. The fact of being high up in the mountains is significant for the story but the most important thing is what it represents. It represents danger, loneliness, perspective, silence, alone time, fear, sense of being lost, sense of needing to get out of there. The story is set in the middle of the mountains because it’s based on real-life experiences. I got lost in the mountains in Spain after hiking for 11 hours, during a hot summer. I spent the last 8 hours of the hike without seeing any other human being. It took me into every single emotion and I struggled to accept that asking for help was the right thing to do. That is the context of this story but it’s relatable to any other situation where you experience being lost and in danger.
The play also toys with timeframes, going backwards to learn about the character’s decisions and behaviours in the present. How much will audiences learn through this dynamic?
I believe this dynamic is helpful to the audience because it will make them reflect on themselves, immerse themselves into the character’s journey, and understand why they behave the way they do in the present. It will give an understanding that otherwise wouldn’t be possible to achieve. It will bring perspective, compassion, and comfort.
So survival and empowerment through vulnerability appear to be the central themes here. Does “Fragile” seek to be an empowering force for its audiences as it is for its central character?
Fragile seeks to be an empowering force that provides a “permission slip”. It wants to tell the audience “you don’t have to do it all by yourself”, “asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it just makes you human”, “you can be both strong, powerful AND vulnerable”, “you are enough, you don’t need to prove anything” and “seek connection”, among others.
What are you most looking forward to when it comes to being back in a theatre space and performing for live and in-person audiences?
The energy that I receive from live performances is unmatchable! The way I feel right before stepping under the spotlight is one of the best sensations that I have ever experienced. What I am looking forward to is seeing the audience’s reaction, seeing how my show impacts them and if the story I am telling speaks to them and makes them discover something new about themselves.
And finally, in just one sentence, tell us why audiences should be booking to see “Fragile” at the Etcetera Theatre.
If you want to be taken into an emotional journey, feel human, find out new things about yourself and listen to a heartfelt, relatable and true story, FRAGILE is for you!
So there you have it! Remember, you can catch “Fragile” on Saturday 7th August and Saturday 28th August 2021 at the Etcetera Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe. You can find your tickets here.