Mongolia Magazine rises to the Fringe festival scene

By Cristina Álvarez Cañas | Edu Galán. July 8, 2013


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a flying pig? No. And nothing like it. It’s Mongolia Magazine on stage. That is to say, their members conducting a scathing monologue about current events. The satirical magazine has been invited to the Fringe Madrid, Scottish festival franchise—although they only share names—that will offer an extensive program within the performing arts this July in Matadero. Mongolos, fasten your seatbelts. We’ve kidnapped Edu Galán for 40 minutes in our office so he can tell us the whole truth and nothing but the truth about this spin-off.

Is this Mongolia’s first stage appearance?
No. From the start Mongolia was devised as a magazine, but also like a “chou”. In fact, I think we’re the first magazine to become “chou”. We’re a six person team. In the humor section: Darío Adanti, Fernando Rapa, Eduardo Brava and me;  in the "formal" part is Pere Rusiñol, responsible for the serious news, and Gonzalo Boye, who is our editor and lawyer. We have brought almost 40 performances on stage and everything arose from the capacity of some of us to do monologues. In these we mix word and humor with audiovisuals and current events.

What is it that you offer?

At first our intention was to pose a Mongolia Medicine Show, in the United States style from the end of the 19th century, when those who carried potions to the people went through the towns with their carts. We capture this essence, offering a placebo product so that the public will feel better without really curing anything. Basically, the spectator comes to the show, has a good time with our placebo medicine—because it doesn’t have any effect—and the political situation doesn’t change, but at least for an hour, we all think so.

The performance only lasts for 60 minutes, "what's good, when brief, is twice as good"?

In Fringe we have stated this approximate duration, but in general it depends on other factors: on how the public is, how excited we are…Each show is different. And with summer just around the corner, we’re preparing a big renovation of the show to start the new tour.

What type of reader would be interested in Mongolia, the show and the magazine? Is it true that young people aren’t interested in politics?

I don’t agree. The current generation is conscious that they don’t have a future and this has made them mobilize much more than what we did. We’ve seen it in the universities we’ve gone to. We’ve also realized that we have a lot of female readers, despite our humor being more masculine because we are guys. In general, our public ranges from 25 to 40 years. Besides, there are also older people, people who come from the satirical tradition of the 70s and have revisited that moment with Mongolia.

You’ve recovered the importance of the cover in press. Which one has been the most memorable?

We’re conscious that a good cover influences sales a lot. If you hit it with the cover it’s easier to connect with the reader. But it also depends on the moment we live in, we’re all subjected to powerful stimuli. Intense and really short. Do we get to hit the mark? Not always, because we depend a lot on the moment, the creative inspiration, and our own present. Of the most memorable covers –we only have 15 issues, although it seems like we have been here forever—we could choose the first, “Spain has a way out (Barajas)”, and “The King could rape you (and 100 other things that the King can do and you can’t)”.

Paraphrasing journalist Ramón Arangüena, what was it about this “bitter controversy” with an angry reader because, being from the left, that you don’t spread the content for free?

The letters to the editor are fake, we don’t mistreat our readers like this (laughs). But it’s a letter with a plausible fiction. We have received this feedback with similar messages through Twitter, for example. We don’t give our work away, being from the left is to value your work potential and collect it. At Mongolia we give away content for distinct causes but not under commercial ends. We are this unsupportive.

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