Pola Oloixarac was born in Buenos Aires in 1977. Her debut novel Savage Theories was a breakout bestseller in Argentina, and in 2010 Granta recognized her as one of the best young contemporary novelists in Spanish. Oloixarac is a regular contributor to The New York Times, The Telegraph, and Rolling Stone, and her fiction has appeared in Granta, n+1, The White Review, and in an issue of Freeman’s dedicated to "The Future of New Writing." She has received scholarships from the Fondo Nacional de las Artes (Argentina), the International Writers Program in Iowa, and other institutions. She currently lives in Barcelona.
From the critically acclaimed author of Savage Theories and Dark Constellations comes Oloixarac’s Mona, where success as a "writer of color" proves to be a fresh hell for a young Latin American woman abroad.
I first met Pola during the U.S. premiere production of Hercules in Mato Grosso, an opera by Esteban Insinger, for which she wrote the libretto. Americas Society produced the US premiere production at Dixon Place in collaboration with the Centro de Experimentation del Teatro Colón (CETC, Buenos Aires) in May of 2015. Sets were designed by renowned sculptor Luna Paiva, and the production was directed by Paiva’s younger sister, Clara Cullen, who is well known for her films.
It was my second year working for Sebastián (Music Director, Americas Society), and I was thrilled to be working on my second US premiere production with the CETC. Miguel Galperín, who I will introduce in a separate post, has been an endless source of support and creativity for me over the last five years in both his original work and productions he has curated.
I had the opportunity to (virtually) interview Pola about her work on Hercules as it developed, from the Amazon to the sphere of early photography in Brazil. The US premiere production looked quite different from the original, but the orchestration remained the same: 2 pianos, electronics, and several singers. The two sopranos depicted anacondas that tempted Hercules (a tenor) in his journey with the German baron (a bass-baritone) into the Amazon.
It was an opportunity to see a production get built from the ground up, from huge set pieces constructed in Red Hook to a mishap with a fog machine that brought the fire department to tech rehearsal at Dixon — a truly wonderful adventure, start to finish. The costumes were dark and abstract, the makeup washed out and goth-like, the lighting bright white neon, stark and pulsing.
Pola has remained a friend over the years, from being based in Buenos Aires to working on her PhD at Stanford and living in San Francisco to relocating to Europe (Barcelona). Her Instagram is an honest and poignant reflection of both her personal and professional life, revealing her truth and magic.