Sebastià Portell, born in Salinas, writes from - and about - textual and experiential frontiers. He is the author of the novels Ariel y Los Cuerpos (2019), El día que murió David Bowie (2016, Time Out Barcelona Creator of the Year Award) and Las alturas (2022). He has also written the short stories Maracaibo (2014), the non-fiction book Las niñas que leían al lavabo (2021) and several plays, such as Transbordo (2018), which has been translated into Spanish and Italian and has been performed for five years in theatres all over the Catalan Countries. She has also curated the biographical volume Antònia Vicens. Massa debts with flowers (2016) and Amores sin casa (2018), the first anthology of Catalan LGBTQ poetry. Since March 2022, he has been the president of the Association of Catalan Language Writers.
With his play Transbord, performed by Assun Planas and in Marc Joy, he has conquered us, and for this reason we decided to get in touch with him to know how this experience had been for him.
How was your experience of listening to your work converted into a podcast?
It has been a fantastic experience and a privilege. Although the proper format for theatrical texts is their live performance, the fact that it takes another form is a joy for the text and its dissemination, and another way to bring it closer to audiences who, for whatever reason, do not have access, or do not have such easy access, to conventional theatrical performance. On the other hand, my play, Transbord, has a strong textual component, which is why its adaptation to the podcast format made all the sense in the world.
What is your creative process like?
Each story asks me for a different form, and therefore the creative process of each book or theatrical text I have written has been unique. In the case of Transbordo, which was commissioned by "Producciones de Hierro" for the "Torneo de Dramaturgia de las Islas Baleares", I worked from bibliographical research of theoretical texts, such as Testo yonqui, by the thinker Paul B. Preciado, and witnesses of transgender people. Preciado and witnesses of trans people about their trafficking and the treatment that the health system and the public administration had done. Then, the challenge was to write from these premises and generate characters with their own emotions and stories.
How long did it take you to write this play?
I would say that I spent between one and two months; I combined its writing with that of my penultimate novel, "Ariel y los cuerpos", which also deals with transsexuality or non-normative gender experiences, but from a more lyrical and prose approach. Therefore, both texts are manifestations of the same process of reflection, but with very different forms and results.
Do you follow any ritual when you write?
No. I just need to have a lot of time ahead of me and to be in the mood, to have energy, that day. Otherwise, it's impossible to try. It's not only a question of physical space and time, but also mental. The luxury of being obsessed with a story.
Do you think this project should be continued?
I think so; it is a very good way to disseminate contemporary dramaturgy and to bring our proposals closer to other audiences, without this harming in any way the exploitation and distribution of our theatrical productions, on the contrary. It is not only a very good tool for playwrights and playwomen and playwrights, but also a good pedagogical resource for students and to make culture more accessible to citizens.