Sara Isabel Quintero talks about "the hug machine"

the hug machine is a play that performs its season at the Vivian Blumenthal Theater on Saturdays and Sundays in May.

It is a story of the Spanish playwright José Sanchis Sinisterra, which takes place during a conference on psychiatry specializing in autism and the theme that the text exposes is the symbolic or indirect violence that people with disabilities can suffer due to indifference, ignorance, medical negligence, scientific policies, professional competence, lack of visibility, among many other things. .

the hug machine. SPECIAL/COURTESY.

The work addresses autism as a disease in a double facet, scope or pathological dimension and therapeutic possibilities, as well as a metaphor of a reality that wants to be hidden. The importance of dealing with these issues is to put on the table the invisibility that we have towards them and make the viewer reflect and understand that there is a complex world inside and outside of people with autism.

For this reason, it has been decided to apply it to amphitheater for the first time and make this work a benchmark on the subject.

Miriam Salinasa renowned therapist, gives a lecture at a renowned congress, where she talks about the therapeutic advances she has had with Iris de Silvaa young patient diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and who has improved her condition thanks to an unorthodox therapy. Irisalong with her best friend Fridayour plant, accompany Miriam in his presentation where he speaks personally about his progress and his particular way of relating to the world, but during the conference, Iris She suffers a relapse and this causes both of them to go into a crisis, each entering their own world and completely losing control of the situation, revealing that they have a lot in common, not only the therapist-patient relationship. Miriam and Iris they experience the same world, but with different eyes and bodies.

And about this work, Sara Isabel Quintero speaks in an interview.

How did the idea of ​​taking this story to the theater come about?

“José Sanchis Sinisterra published the text in 2002, a well-known playwright, who has investigated how to innovate the scene, has done a lot of work for new playwrights. So that the hug machine is the product of a very serious investigation, of a theater person about a health issue, that we as playwrights consider very sensitive issues, so the pretext for staging this work is precisely to call on the general public to join us in immersing ourselves in this story where there are two characters. One who is dedicated to the science of mental health, is a psychotherapist, and her patient, who is autistic, they come to give a conference, and that is where we find that autistic people are not people with limitations, but rather , with another way of existing in this world”.

the hug machine. SPECIAL/COURTESY.

How long has it taken you to complete this project?

“The story is long, it is a project that years ago, when the teacher José Sanchis Sinisterra was here in Guadalajara giving some workshops where I participated, I had the honor of being told “I give you the work The hug machiner”. I had a cultural space, La Casa Suspendida, that when the light rail started and they were going to close the streets, I also had to close my space and postpone. Other years passed and a UdeG graduate – Teresa Suárez – contacted me to invite me to direct a play, which is the hug machine. The production company Untitled Films, which has been dedicated to film projects, but they are also doing theater, they call me and give me all the freedom in the world to form the creative team, me directing the scene, putting together all these things that help materialize the project. The two actresses who make the Dr. Miriam Salinas and his patient Iris de Silva. This project premiered in 2020, and the seasons were suspended due to COVID, so these two years go by and another of our producers and also managers is Lorena Navarrete, who surprises us by saying I competed in this theater and we have a way to replace, to come back The hugging machine, and well, we are happy”.

What has been the biggest challenge in mounting this work?

“The economic issue, but this time we had the chance to breathe to be able to produce it, that is, to be able to materialize it, The biggest challenge that we have in all productions is when it comes to opening a season and reaching out to the public that may be interested through the dissemination that the media gives us, to support us in that sense.. That is the biggest of the challenges that any montage that sees the light has.

As a director, it is the first time that you have used the multimedia resource that you implemented for the stage, which has a very particular objective, which is to show the inner world of the autistic character, that is the most beautiful thing about this, how these technical resources help us to support the imagination and this that the character is narrating to us, how he knows life through his condition”.

the hug machine. SPECIAL/COURTESY.

Do you have any other theater or tour scheduled?

“I hope so, we are always attentive to any festival, invitation or event that is held.”

What can you tell us about autism?

Perhaps it is still in the shadows, not so long ago how to diagnose, how to treat, in short, the truth is that the autistic aspect is a condition, it is a way of inhabiting this world, but it also depends on each person, what manifest in a specific waythere are as many different autistic people as there are individuals who live with this, with greater depth, with less, the important thing is to attract attention, that the public is allowed to see how this autistic character works, that they give themselves that opportunity and that it comes out with many questions.

the hug machine. SPECIAL/COURTESY.

We were very surprised and intimidated, we are theater people and what are we going to know, it is a very big responsibility, we had to investigate, approach institutions that could answer some questions and realizing that we could not think of building the character of Iris and that it encompassed the symptoms or ways of being of all autistic people. The playwright is very clear, he clearly says what symptoms he does have Iris and what symptoms you don’t have, and how has been your process to try to communicate and manage to communicate with the world. It is surprising and for the viewer, our greatest aspiration is that they leave there with every intention of continuing to investigate.

I think that starting to shape this sensitivity, this curiosity, this respect for otherness, was wonderful for me, this work can be especially digested by people who have a specific relationship with the behavioral sciences, there is no doubt, but this work is going addressed to a general public. And the author has put them in a situation for which no one was warned and I feel that the public is going to leave sensitized with a great desire to know more about the subject, or to get closer to people who live with autism.

Anything else you want to add?

One of the primary tasks that theater has is to show what is in the world, its raw material is the human, these human beings have to be made visible, we have to sit down, listen and understand, become aware, pay attention and understand that the world is so diverse, that there are so many people who are not classified as ‘normal’, but who actually do not obey general laws, they are integral beings with their own nature and that is wonderful”.

the hug machine

Vivian Blumenthal Theatre.

May SD, 7:00 p.m.

$150 overall. $100 with student, teacher and senior ID.



  • Play
  • the hug machine
  • Sarah Isabel Quintero
  • Vivian Blumenthal Theater

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