Category: Society

Jetse Batelaan: a whole new story

Photo courtesy of la Biennale di Venezia / A Avezzù

Amidst the chaos: injustices, strikes, rabid press reports, soaring temperatures and prices, it’s hard to know what to do with the kids. Do we take them to the aquarium (of dubious ethics), the zoo (worse), a football match (potentially inciting a negative spirit of rivalry), or leave them locked in their rooms to play violent… Read more »

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Minefield / Campo Minado: theatre of war by Lola Arias

Minefield / Campo Minado is a bilingual theatre piece that reunites Argentine and British veterans from the Falklands/Malvinas war nearly four decades on. The production premiered in London in 2016 in the run up to the Brexit referendum. Looking for Drama spoke to its creator, Lola Arias, about the project, its impact and its relevance… Read more »

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Die 120 Tage Von Sodom: Sex, scatology and deadpan humour

In a two-hour block separated into segments, the Swiss production 120 Days of Sodom carefully dismantles Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notorious ‘art horror’ film, released in 1975. Based on the writings of the Marques de Sade (interest in whose work never seems to fade) it tells the story of a group of fascists who kidnap 18… Read more »

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The Vibrator Play: Power to the Passions

L'habitació del costat (In the Next Room)

This pitch-perfect Catalan production captures the comedy and charm of Sarah Ruhl’s provocative play In the Next Room / L’habitació del costat. Set in America in the late 19th century, at the time of Thomas Edison’s invention of electrical lighting, the pioneering Dr. Givings receives female patients complaining of ‘hysteria’, to whom he applies a recent… Read more »

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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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