The Santa Cruz City Council has presented this week the design of what will be the Carnival scene next 2024, dedicated to the topic of Television. The scenic proposal is the work of Nareme Melián (Punta del Hidalgo, 1987), graduated in Fine Arts from the University of La Laguna, has a company (Pelete Estudio) dedicated to design and animation together with another partner and was the winner of the contest for the Santa Cruz Carnival posters. the years 2018 and 2023. Now he has faced the challenge of designing the new setting for the Chicharrero Carnival, where, he explains, “I have not gone literally”, but rather he wanted to “tell the story of the Carnival through television” to unite all generations.
-What was that moment like when you were asked to design the stage for the next Carnival?
“It was a surprise. I am within the world of Carnival through posters, because some friends told me to present myself in 2018. And from there it has evolved and it was a surprise. Two days after my birthday the Festival Councilor called me, it was summer and I thought it was for something related to Christmas, in case something had to be done now, or Plenilunio, but when he told me about the stage I stayed silent and He asked me if I didn’t want to, and I told him that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to, but that he had just given me one of the best birthday gifts of my life. And I said yes, I hung up the phone and thought: oh man, this has a lot of responsibility. And two days later I went to a meeting with him and we spent about four hours talking about the history of the scenarios, what to do, what not to do, and I was practically locked up at home for five days to make the first sketch.”
-So, has it meant fulfilling a dream?
“My idea before making posters was always to make the Carnival scene. At home I played to make Carnival scenarios with Playmobil and shoe boxes. When I saw Superchicha for the first time, I told my mother: take me downstairs to see that stage. I said that I wanted to dedicate myself to the world of art and I have always had Carnival inside me because of my mother, who is a lifelong photographer of a Carnival party venue, which was Barbacoa Tacoronte.”
-And what has been the most complicated part of the process?
“The most difficult thing was facing the blank paper, the beginning. That is, leaving my comfort zone and taking it to another language. At first I was very nervous, I have my team behind me, which is Laura and Eduardo, but it is true that Javier Caraballero also helped me a lot and accompanied me, because he has also been a set designer and he told me: “Make a poster and from there the stage is going to come out. Enjoy it, let it flow and we will be here to help you.” Because it is true that I am very meticulous with creative processes and I have never dedicated myself in this sense. It is true that in Arona I spent two years creating the stage, but come on, it was adapting the poster to a structure that they already had, but we are talking about the Santa Cruz Carnival and it imposed a lot on me. Until I got the idea that I’m making one more poster, and from there the whole more conceptual story emerged.”
-In this sense, what is the idea you wanted to convey?
“People might have expected it to be something more literal, like a Ruperta or, as I say, a showcase of what television was like in the 90s or something like that. But I also wanted to unite all the generations because I am from the 80s and I ate that whole world of the 90s, but there is a whole generation that has no idea about that and so I wanted to do something a little more conceptual and more generic for everything the world. I wanted to go into history and look for something that all generations could understand, it was very important. So I wanted to tell the story of the Carnival through television because it has been the witness. The first televised gala was at the Guimerá Theater in 1982. And I love to investigate and I realized that the Carnival transforms, that is, it deconstructs all the places, which have been designed for one thing and the Carnival changes them, that is why the stage It is deconstructed, like a puzzle.”
-And based on that idea, how have you structured the scenario?
“They are few elements, but they are very large. In the end the stage is very simple, there are three doors, each one represents a stage, a set that the Carnival had: with the Plaza de España in the center, on the right the bullring and on the left the Theater Guimerá. And among them are like two sets that measure about 8 meters in total and that are going to be for the presenters or one of the performances, since you can walk through them, and that are very much from the program One, two three…, with those corporeal letters with the names of Santa Cruz and Carnival. Also to give a little brand to the Carnival, because in the end it is still a product that is sold outside, we are of International Tourist Interest and I think that should be there as a small signature every time you see plans of the stage. And I believed that on a conceptual and aesthetic level, recreating the spaces, the Theater and the squares, seemed a little boring to me and I think there would be no visual cleanliness. So I wanted to unify them through the adjustment chart, I wanted more of an order of colors, which at the level of scenery is very difficult with greens and reds, but it will be achieved because when the lights change, it will change color, then it will be continually changing in that sense. We also put LEDs on all the edges so that the shapes are not lost if the lights go off. And at the top, there are some spotlights that are props and we also want the real lighting part to be like vintage type spotlights with tabs, like those in the cinema, to create even more the feeling that it is like a Carnival set. . And all the props are going to be in a matte color, they are not going to have any shine because we want that to go to the background and that the troupes and murgas, which are going to have a lot of shine and a lot of movement, make your eyes go away. them. We also want to give importance to the visuals, so that the stage wins with the screens, the idea is that the scenery goes with the animation of the screens, last year I collaborated with the stage signs for all the contests and the candidates. And also the black and white of the adjustment letter is on the ground, which I transform as if it were the past.”
-Where will that particular walk of the stars go…?
“With which I want to thank those great teachers of the Carnival, because thanks to them we are where we are and not forget, because if we do not teach the new generations where we come from, the Carnival is going to lose that essence, which in the end is the union of the people and that transformation. And, furthermore, this year has been very dark for the world of Carnival because we have lost many references and they will be reflected in that walk of the stars and in the end they all come together in the rotating, with the big star. The idea is that there are people who have died and people who today continue to be a reference.”
-And crowning the stage, those two great figures of King Kong and Superchicha…
“I think Superchicha marked my generation because I think what they did that year on stage was very beast, because it is true that the Plaza de España, being outdoors, gives much more play when it comes to heights and structures.” . So I had to put it in some way. And King Kong is because it was the first stage that was put in the Plaza de España, it is true that it was still done in the bullring, but a stage was made in the Plaza de España for the theme of the dances, which that “I came out of the jungle last year and that King Kong was made.”
-Are you happy with the response received?
“Yes, let’s see, there will be everything, there are people who do and there are people who don’t, but for tastes, colors. I am super happy with my work, always, as I say, things can be improved because I am a fan of perfection, but I am quite happy and people have responded quite well to me, especially people from the Carnival and people who have understood the history, that I have wanted to take it to another concept, that is, to the world of Carnival within television, I have not gone to something literal.”
-And I imagine that you will really want to see that design become a reality…
“I still don’t believe it. When we had to go with the technicians and the engineer who handles the part of the specifications and with the Fairgrounds, they were setting up the stage for the Pablo López concert and that’s when I realized what a marvel it is and how high it is. The thing is that King Kong measures 5 meters and the tower in the Plaza de España, along with the others next door, are 14 meters high. So it’s going to be very big, the truth is that I can’t imagine it, but I’m looking forward to seeing it, totally.”
-And with dates so close to Christmas, there is little time for assembly, right?
“This year is mega early. The PIT, which is in the Fairgrounds, ends on January 5 and in the afternoon they begin to dismantle and on the 18th the first Carnival competition begins there. The idea is that the stage is already there and that it is like assembling an Ikea piece of furniture, because in the end the layer system, which is the scaffolding, the structure, is assembled super quickly in two or three days, and then it is time to place the props and screens.”
-And you were talking before that your mother was a lifelong photographer of a Carnival party venue, so is there carnival DNA in the family?
“I have not been in groups but my family connection comes from my mother, who was a photographer for 22 years at Barbacoa and also in the nightclubs of Puerto de la Cruz with my father, who met there. So, my mother was working in that party room, which could be said to be the only place where Carnival was breathed all year round because it was Fiesta Canaria and Carnival Tacoronte, and the Carnival groups went there and great designers. During the week I went there and there were more children and it was my world, that is, I think that the creativity I have is because, instead of being with machines and TV, what I saw was a show, and I made my drawings and he made queens, scenes. I loved Carnival when I was little. In fact, my mother was a very good friend of the character of Charlot, of Don Pedro and Doña Victoria, and I went out to act with him as a child dressed as Charlot.”