Category: Society

Chicken Soup with Barley: the End of Idealism

La Perla 29

This Catalan version of Arnold Wesker’s 1956 play, Chicken Soup with Barley, centred on a working class family living in London, is a finely staged and well-choreographed production, featuring a strong central performance by Màrcia Cisteró as the die-hard socialist Sarah Kahn. The play (Catalan title: Sopa de pollastre amb ordi) centres on the ideals… Read more »

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Protagonist – Human Nature and Narcissism

Protagonist: Cullberg Ballet / Jefta van Dinther

Without recourse to technological statements or politically-correct diatribes, Protagonist, created by the Dutch/Swedish choreographer Jefta van Dinther for Sweden’s Cullberg Ballet, averts the shock tactics that audiences now expect from contemporary dance performances. Semi-dressed dancers on a semi-dressed stage: red, black; a frame at the back could be scaffolding or gymnastics bars (and are used as both)…. Read more »

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Massacre! a bullet point history of Spanish capitalism

Marta Calvó and Alberto San Juan in Masacre Photo © David Ruiz

The average worker – aka the Spanish middle classes – is the focal point of a satirical stage production by the Madrid-based cooperative Teatro del Barrio. Masacre (Massacre) is an informative and incredulity-inducing theatre piece that covers some 100 years of Spanish economic history in just 80 minutes. The production features prominent Spanish actors Alberto San Juan… Read more »

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Història: A Play of Shifting Perspectives

Història - Sixto Paz Productions Photo: © Kiku Pinyol

The shocks and infidelities of history and memory are explored in Història, a small format theatre production brought to Barcelona’s Espai Lliure after a successful run at Sala Beckett. This narratively and visually engaging piece is the work of Catalan playwright Jan Vilanova Claudín in collaboration with director and actor Pau Roca, and features strong… Read more »

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Splendour (Esplendor) – Abi Morgan’s play of Ice and Fireworks

Esplendor (Splendour) by Abi Morgan, directed by Carme Portaceli. Photo: Albert Armengol

Four women gather in a luxurious residence in an unknown state in civil war. It’s the home of Micheleine and her absent husband, ‘an important man’, whom Katheryn, a foreign photojournalist, has come to shoot. They wait with Katheryn’s young guide and translator Gilma, a hungry woman with greasy fingers, deep pockets and shoes that mud… Read more »

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Pujol, the play – Corruption of the Catalan Kind

The playwright Jordi Casanovas, author of the forthcoming play Pujol. Photo

A forthcoming Catalan-language play by Jordi Casanovas (pictured above) takes on the charismatic, disgraced Catalan ex-premier Jordi Pujol, the former president of the regional ‘Generalitat’ government (1989 to 2003), who, in 2014, admitted to holding undeclared millions in secret foreign bank accounts for a period of 34 years. While he claimed the cash to be an inheritance, the 85-year-old Pujol and… Read more »

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Grec Festival 2016 – A Brief Introduction

De Stille Kracht, Toneelgroup Amsterdam. photo: Jan Versweyveld

If you’re passing the Palau de la Virreina on the Rambles or staring up at any of the lampposts around Barcelona, you’ll see some rather optically-challenging ads for a summer event called the Grec, an annual performing arts festival of some 141 acts, plus discussions and other activities that go on through July. Its name derives from the expansive amphitheatre a bit up… Read more »

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The Reign in Spain – An Unofficial History

A satirical theatre production at Madrid’s Teatro del Barrio (6th April – 22nd June 2016) interrogates the role and reputation of the King of Spain as the country’s head of state and its military. The monarch in play is the now 78-year-old Juan Carlos I, who first set foot in Spain at the age of 10,… Read more »

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Feeding the World – New Images of Africa

Tahir Karmali, Dennis Muraguri, Tonney Mugo: Jua Kali City.

Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, an exhibition currently at Barcelona’s CCCB, is the vibrant, visual manifestation of an extensive, on-going research project that brings together the work of 120 artists and designers from all over the continent. Curated by Amelie Klein of the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, the show was put together under… Read more »

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B for Bárcenas – Spanish Scandal on Screen

B., la pelicula is directed by David Ilundain and based on the stage play Ruz/Barcenas by Jordi Casanovas. It stars Pedro Casablanc as Bárcenas and Manolo Solo as Ruz.

The extraordinary court encounter between the Spanish judge Pablo Ruz and the Partido Popular politician Luis Bárcenas Gutiérrez has been made into an award-winning, triple Goya-nominated film directed by David Ilundáin. In 2013, Bárcenas, of the right-wing ‘People’s Party’, was brought before judge Ruz for a second time and admitted to running a slush fund for nearly two decades while holding the… Read more »

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