Gentrification, Sun Tzu and Silvia Pérez Cruz: Barcelona’s Grec festival kicks off
Theatre, dance and music throughout July
Barcelona’s Grec Festival is one of the main visual arts events in the city, with a mix of theatre, dance and music. In its 42nd edition, the festival brings 83 different shows—less than in previous years, but organizers have made a point of focusing on quality rather than quantity.
The leading theme of this year’s edition is the Silk Road, in an attempt to establish a dialogue between Western and Eastern arts. This spirit will be present in many of the shows in the program, such as the inauguration play of The Poem of Guilgamesh, king of Uruk.
Back to the cradle of civilization: The poem of Guilgamesh, king of Uruk
One of the most ancient stories ever told, the Sumerian epic poem of Guilgamesh depicts the life of a king from around 2,700 B.C. It contains notorious episodes of Western mythology, such as the Great Flood. Oriol Broggi, artistic director at La Perla 29, retells this story in a large format staging that transports spectators at the Grec Theatre back to the cradle of civilization. Running until Wednesday, the play lasts 115 minutes with actors speaking Catalan.
International authors brought to you by Catalan artists: Chekhov, Hável and Karam
With Audiència & Vernissatge, the Catalan actor and director Pere Aquillué will put on stage two of the most popular pieces of Vaclav Hável, one of Czech Republic’s most celebrated authors. In these plays, Havel—who was president of the country for ten years—explored the most absurd and grotesque aspects of his time. You can see the play at the Villarroel theatre from June 26 to July 29. Other works by international authors reinterpreted by local artists include Mario Gas’ adaptation of Humans, by Stephen Karam, winner of the prestigious Tony Award; Vania, directed by Àlex Rigola, one of the most famous plays of Russian writer Antón P. Chekhov, in which both the public and the actors will share the reduced space of a box; and La Resposta (The Answer), written by the Irish playwright Brian Friel and directed by Sílvia Munt, starring some of the best Catalan actors.
Catalan musicians take on stage: Albert Pla and Silvia Pérez Cruz
One of Catalonia’s most celebrated singer-songwriters, Albert Pla proposes Miedo (Fear) as an intimate and very personal trip. Beginning in childhood, Pla goes beyond the grave and walks us through the sensations, emotions and feelings that fear produce in a multimedia show drawing from avant-garde technologies. Rocío Molina and Silvia Pérez Cruz join hands in Grito Pleao, a musical and choreographic production which submerges us in the personal longing of a flamenco dancer to have a child. The piece brings together one of the biggest dancers and one of the most moving voices of Catalan music.
In English: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and Gentrification
A piece by Mos Maiorum (Mariona Naudin, Ireneu Tranis and Alba Valldaura), Gentry is a piece focusing on one the main challenges facing Barcelona and major cities all across the world: gentrification. The team used a technique known as Verbatim, bringing authentic testimonies to the stage while reproducing all the doubts and hesitations that occured in the original interviews. In Our Death Won’t Hurt Anybody - Part 1, two companies from Barcelona and Hong Kong working with diverse stage languages tell us about the nature of war taking as reference the classic by Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu.
Community projects: BooMbeta, Rebomboris, Caravasar, Akana and Gala
Community based theatrical projects will have a notorious role in the Grec Festival. Five plays will bring together local people from different backgrounds to display the diversity of the Catalan capital. Akana, with stage direction and dramaturgy by Marta Galán, features a group of gypsy boys and girls from La Mina neighborhood in a multidisciplinary production to talk about the history of their community from a prejudiced-free perspective. An international co-production by Jérôme Bel, Gala is a tour de force bringing together 20 dancers representing people living in Barcelona. Vida Laboral, by Claudia Faci, is a workshop focused on professions taking place from July 1 to 17 which will be presented in public on the 17 and the 18.