Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Tamsin Clarke on Manuelita
Manuela Saenz, lover of revolutionary Simon Bolivar, is 'part fact, part fiction and full of fancy'
This article is from 2014.
'As a South American, you somehow automatically know about Simon Bolivar,’ says Tamsin Clarke. 'He is a hero and an ingrained part of history. However, I had never heard about Manuela Saenz. She was supposedly his lover and companion for many years.'
Written and performed by Clarke and accompanied by award-winning guitarist Camila Menjura, Manuelita is a journey through the life of Manuela Saenz (1795–1856). 'She was a fighter – believing in a cause and working hard to see it through til the end,' Clarke adds. ‘She overcame the tedious rigors of society and made changes in opinion in a rigid world that was very male orientated.'
Clarke spent a month and a half in South America (including her mother’s native Venezuela) tracking down stories of Manuelita. From them, she has woven a musical performance to show off the good and the bad of a young woman who excited a revolutionary continent.
This promises to be less feminist reclamation and more honest retelling of the world of Bolivar through one of the unsung female heroes. In my opinion,' Clarke concludes, 'she is a true legend – part fact, part fiction and full of fancy!'
Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 2–24 Aug (not 12), 12.40pm, £8–£12 (£7–£10). Previews 31 Jul & Aug 1, £6.