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Maremar: the refugee crisis interpreted in theater

The new play uses Shakespearean tales to the tune of Catalan protest music Lluís Llach to the backdrop of the refugee crisis

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21 September 2018 07:30 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Theatre troupe Dagoll Dagom is back with a new play: ‘Maremar,’ a modern reworking of the Shakespearian piece ‘Pericles, Prince of Tyre,’ which itself has never before been performed in Catalonia or in Spain. 

It's interpreted using music by Lluís Llach, Catalan singer-songwriter, and anti-Franco activist. The original play also takes place between modern-day Lebanon and Libya: inasmuch, the theater company also seized the occasion to set the backdrop as that of the refugee crisis.

Within each person forced to flee "there is a hero," says director

Just out, the show will run until January at the Poliorama Theater in Barcelona. Director Joan Lluís Bozzo explained that the central message within 'Maremar' is that "within each person who is forced to flee their country, for reasons of war or poverty, there is a hero." 

  • "Within each person who is forced to flee their country, for reasons of war or poverty, there is a hero"

    Joan Lluís Bozzo · 'Maremar' director

He further advanced, in a previous interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN), that the Shakespearian play also has "Odyssey-like elements, it’s an endless voyage of the protagonist by sea, shipwrecked, losing his wife and daughter in a storm."

In his earlier interview, Bozzo admitted that in his 44 years, this will be his first Shakespeare performance – and his 30th play. "It’s always intimidating and thrilling to tackle Shakespeare and the classics," Bozzo detailed, advising that "you have to have both a lot of respect and a lot of lack of respect, otherwise you’ll be paralyzed by fear, faced with the strength and the architecture of its words, and you won’t be able to advance."

Maremar featuring Dagoll Dagom on September 21 2018 (by Pere Francesch)

Modern-day Lebanon

The original play is named after its main character Pericles, ruler of Tyre, located in Phoenicia (modern-day Lebanon), on a quest to evade assassination and to rejoin his lost wife and daughter.

His adventures take place in modern-day Libya and Turkey, as well as throughout the Mediterranean Sea. The Dagoll Dagom troupe saw only fitting, then, to pay tribute to refugees who risk their lives in these very places today.

"For us, they aren’t victims—they’re heroes," says play executive producer

The executive producer of ‘Maremar,’ Anna Rosa Cisquella, explained in a previous interview with ACN that the play is "an homage to all those who cross by sea, and who, for us, aren’t victims – they’re heroes for daring to climb aboard those boats."

The theater troupe Dagoll Dagom also stated that they wanted the work to act as a reflection on "the drama that ravages refugee camps and the suffering undergone by a population trying to flee the war to search for a better future."

It follows the story of a little girl in a refugee camp, who cries inconsolably over the loss of her parents. A fantastical character comes to comfort the little girl, telling her the story of Pericles, a prince forced to flee his home and separated from his family, but ultimately reunited by the Greek goddess Diana.

Scene from Maremar by Dagoll Dagom on September 21 2018 (by Pere Francesch)

“The musical universe” of Lluís Llach

Regards music by Lluís Llach, Bozzo explained that "it’s a very loose interpretation," since the musician "gave his permission to manipulate his music as deemed most fitting."  Andreu Gallén was the musical director in charge of converting the singer-songwriter's songs into theater-ready pieces.

Gallén also highlighted that the music to this play is that of Lluís Llach, Catalan singer-songwriter, and anti-Franco activist. "We’re basing ourselves in the musical universe of Llach to paint a new score with two types of musical sections,” said Gallén. "On one hand,” he detailed, "there will be arranged Llach’s songs and, on the other, new creations composed exclusively using Llach’s songs as a starting point."

‘Maremar’ is in fact both a song and an album by the singer-songwriter. The songs are interpreted in unique ways, as well, mostly acapella and with minimal instrumental accompaniment.

The play has the musical direction, arrangements, and new compositions by Andreu Gallén, choreography by Ariadna Peya, direction of Joan lluís Bozzo, and executive production by Anna Rosa Cisquella.

It is interpreted by Roger Casamajor, Anna Castells, Cisco Cruz, Mercè Martínez, Marc Pujol, Aina Sánchez, Marc Soler, Elena Tarrats, and Marc Vilajuana.

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  • A scene from 'Maremar' performed by Dagoll Dagom, at the Teatre Poliorama on September 21 2018 (by Pere Francesch)

  • A scene from 'Maremar' performed by Dagoll Dagom, at the Teatre Poliorama on September 21 2018 (by Pere Francesch)