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Shakespeare, refugees, Catalan protest music in a play reimagined

The ‘Maremar’ production will reinterpret ‘Pericles, Prince of Tyre’ to the tune of Lluís Llach with a backdrop of the refugee crisis

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30 May 2018 02:53 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 performed in Catalonia or in Spain. And, for its debut in the country, it will be 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.

An Odyssey-like Shakespearian voyage

The show will debut in September at the Poliorama Theater in Barcelona, and run until January. Director Joan Lluís Bozzo explained that the Shakespearian play has “Odyssey-like elements, it’s an endless voyage of the protagonist by sea, shipwrecked, losing his wife and daughter in a storm.” 

  • “The play is an homage to all those who cross by sea, and who, for us, aren’t victims – they’re heroes,"

    Anna Rosa Cisquella · 'Maremar' executive producer

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.”

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 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.

“The musical universe” of Lluís Llach

The musical director for ‘Maremar,’ Andreu Gallén, 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 musicsl 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 will have the musical direction, arrangements, and new compositions by Andrey gallén, choreography by Ariadna Peya, direction of Joan lluís Bozzo, and executive production by Anna Rosa Cisquella. It will be 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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  • Performers interpreting one of the numbers in Dagoll Dagom's 'Maremar' on May 29 2018 (by Pere Franchesch)

  • Performers interpreting one of the numbers in Dagoll Dagom's 'Maremar' on May 29 2018 (by Pere Franchesch)