The Catalan troupe La Fura dels Baus covers Brussels Opera House “in mud” for their newest release ‘Oedipe’
Georges Enescu’s opera Oedipe will start its run next Saturday at a Belgian Opera House. It is a new challenge for La Fura del Baus, who was handed the task by Brussel’s La Monnaie–De Munt’s director after the great success of Le grand Macabre in 2009. Alex Ollé, director of the Catalan theatre company, explained CAN the troupe’s interest in this type of spectacle that is “equally or even more interesting than theatre”.
Brussels (ACN).- \u201CThe mud covers everything\u201D. That is how Àlex Ollé defines La Fura del Baus\u2019 new project: the opera Oedipe by George Enescu, which will be staged in Brussels' Opera theatre La Monnaie \u2013 De Munt. The play is based on a \u2018muddy\u2019 fate and the symbiosis between a mythical time \u2013that of Sophocles\u2019 Oedipus- and a historic one \u2013Ollé\u2019s own interpretation-. This combination of both times aims to prove how the values and the classical disasters \u201Cendure over time\u201D. La Fura dels Baus started back in 1979 as a street theatre group in cities around Catalonia and it is known for its search to overcome the boundaries of the traditional concept of scenic space.
Ollés\u2019s proposal of this particular Oedipe has two main lines of action: mud, used to illustrate fate, and time. \u201CAll characters, elements that are shown and the stage itself are covered in mud\u201D, explains the director. The play maintains \u201Cthe idea of catastrophe\u201D throughout, linked to a fate that looks like a mud river. But why mud? \u201CIn 2010 a toxic mud spill in Hungary flooded fields, towns and rivers, and we found it to be an element that could be conceptually useful for talking about fate and how difficult it is to get rid of it\u201D, says Ollé. The metaphors also apply to the main character \u201Cwho travels through time until today\u201D, and who goes from Freud\u2019s office \u2013to talk about the Oedipus complex- to the Second World War.
The Catalan troupe returns to Brussels
La Fura dels Baus returns to a city \u2013Brussels- and a genre \u2013the opera- where they have always felt comfortable. The troupe naturally went deep into the opera because it is an artistic genre that matches the Catalan group's style thanks to a \u201Cmultidisciplinary language\u201D. \u201CActors, dancers, musicians, singers and the structure of the opera house itself, which is very big, allows you to work with new technologies and video\u201D, states Ollé. After the great success of Le grand Macabre in 2009, the director of Brussels\u2019 La Monnaie \u2013 De Munt theatre, Peter de Caluwe, was so pleased that he asked the theatre company for a new project. Àlex Ollé stresses the importance of the untraditional opera created by La Fura dels Baus: \u201CWe have provided the world of opera with this visual DNA, this energy that identifies ourselves, without any prejudices\u201D. And he adds: \u201CWe were naïve, and we fearlessly risked everything, and what we have done has worked very well\u201D.
La Fura dels Baus, famous for their visual impacts
The distinct theatrical language used by the Catalan troupe is a feature that has always been present in their history. Their first performances through the towns and cities of Catalonia during the 1980\u2019s already displayed the Fura\u2019s spectacles: the use of unusual locations \u2013parking lots and prisons, for example - and their interaction with the public. In 1992 they were asked to develop a performance for the inauguration ceremony of the Olympic Games in Barcelona. Their Mediterráneo, mar olímpico (which in English means Mediterranean, Olympic Sea) reached an audience of billions of people throughout the world and allowed the expansion of the theatre group and from that moment they started performing outside Catalonia- in Italy, Chile and Belgium to name a few-. The innovative troupe is also famous for its adaptations of great opera classics such as Wagner\u2019s The Ring of the Nibelung or Mozart\u2019s The Magic Flute or literature pieces like The Divine Comedy or the Marquis de Sade\u2019s Philosophy in the bedroom. The Fura dels Baus transformed a cargo boat into Naumon, a boat touring worldwide, picturing an industrial universe through a travelling spectacle that visited many harbours around the world.
After performing street theatre, cinema, opera, a boat tour and other spectacles, what\u2019s left to do? Ollé says he never gets tired of working and explains that the troupe has many future performances in mind, including premieres in Mexico or Australia among others. \u201CWe have always proved to have a natural ability to reinvent ourselves, to jump from one genre to the next\u201D, explains one of the founders of La Fura dels Baus. He added that \u201Cthere are always things to do, as long as you stay open-minded and never have prejudices towards new languages\u201D.