WHAT’S BACK ON? El Principi d’Arquimedes

Another chance to see this cool play at La Villarroel theatre in Barcelona, until May 5th.

In the 3rd century BCE, Archimedes, a Greek mathematician and engineer, invented a precise means of measuring the density of an irregular object. He found that a body immersed in a fluid experiences a upwards force in contra that is equal to the weight of the fluid it displaces. The authority of Archimedes’ Principle as a fact of science remains. Unfortunately, we now live much of our lives in a world not of ‘bodies’ but of virtual bodies, so how do we gauge how dense something is? Or, in other terms, how important it is.

El Principi d'Arquimedes by Josep Maria Miró i Coromina photo by David Ruano Performed at Sala BeckettThis dilemma kick-starts an excellent contemporary play by Catalan dramatist Josep Maria Miró i Coromina (Vic, 1977), El Principi d’Arquimedes, winner of the Premi Born de Teatre in 2011.
Set in the staff changing room of a swimming club for kids, Jordi and Hèctor are two young instructors whose locker room banter is interrupted by the arrival of its pokerfaced manager Anna. She is troubled. An affectionate gesture by Jordi towards a 5 year old boy, a member of the swimming group he teaches, has been attributed the gravity of a serious offence by a concerned group of parents, led by the boy’s father, David. Jordi’s initial disbelief turns to fear and then panic as circumstantial factors are sucked into the rumour, and it takes on a whirlpool-like force.

El Principi d'Arquimedes by Josep Maria Miró i Coromina photo by Josep Aznar Performed at Sala BeckettUnder the direction of Miró i Coromina, and just over an hour long in performance, the production at Sala Beckett is pacy and profound. Its cyclical structure of overlapping scenes and a set that switches sides, designed by Enric Planas, contribute to a sense of certainty that is continually confounded.
Roser Battala is the lonely Anna who struggles with her own personal traumas to placate worried father David, played with a well-balanced mix of paranoia and exhaustion by Santi Ricart. Perhaps most devastating in the play is the visibly fracturing relationship between the former friends Jordi and Hèctor. Rubén de Eguia is the lippy attention seeker turned terrified victim, Albert Ausellé is the admirer who abandons him.

El Principi d'Arquimedes by Josep Maria Miró i Coromina photo by Josep Aznar Performed at Sala BeckettDespite its mathematical inspiration, El Principi d’Archimedes is a play that amounts to more than the sum of its parts. Both a study of the evolution of human relationships, where befriending and unfriending take place with casual ease, it also highlights one of the great paradoxes of technology, as a sophisticated tool to further the most primitive of urges.

ArchimedesEl Principi d’Archimedes is on at La Villaroel
until May 5th, 2013
The play is in Catalan
Click here for tickets 

Thank you to Patricia @ Sala Beckett, catalandrama, and David Ruano and Josep Aznar for the photos.