‘Shakespeare: Internationally, Nationally, Locally’ #YorkShakes The first York International Shakespeare Festival (or YorkShakes) was launched on Wednesday 25th February, 2015, at the de Grey Rooms in the city. It brought together many of the principal players (both on the stage and behind the scenes) in this exciting venture, and I am honoured to be a part of it, convening the events Popular Shakespeares 1 and Popular Shakespeares 2 on 15th May at York St John University. Unlike the RSC’s Complete Works Festival in 2006-07 or the RSC, Shakespeare’s Globe, and LIFT’s World Shakespeare Festival for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, YorkShakes is not a one off affair*, but an annual festival modelled on the other major European Shakespeare Festivals such as the ones in Gdansk (Poland) and Craiova (Romania), and YorkShakes is part of the European International Shakespeare Network. The brain child of director Philip Parr, his company Parrabbola partners with York Theatre Royal and Prof Judith Buchanan at the University of York. The Festival is very much local as well as global. The headline performance is Yorkshire’s own Northern Broadsides, a company with an international reputation for re-claiming the classics. Its founder, Barry Rutter, will play the titular role in King Lear at the University of York, directed by Jonathan Miller, one of Britain’s leading directors and thinkers. However, it is many of the other performances, talks and events that run alongside this that make this Festival really special for York. With a focus on multicultural, intercultural or community theatre, it offers 10 days of fare, from productions such as Two Gents’ cross-cultural Taming of the Shrew , Aki Isoda’s solo performance of Two Shakespeare Heroines in which she contrasts Eastern and Western performance styles, Parrabola and Denmark’s Hamletscenen’s Prince H. Universe, Poland’s H(2)O, York Shakespeare Project’s Timon of Athens, and the Theatre Royal’s Youth Theatre’s Shedspere, to name but a few. Silents Now present a live music screening with a specially commissioned score of the silent, 1921 German expressionist film of Hamlet: Drama of Vengeance , which stars Asta Nielsen in a ‘mesmerising’ performance as a female Hamlet (see my blog post here). Both universities contribute performances, with York St John University’s A Response to ‘King Lear’: They Kill Us For Their Sport, which grew out of students recent ‘secular pilgrimage’ to Auschwitz, and the University of York DramaSoc’s Richard III. There are also series of workshops and lectures that reflect on productions and themes that come out of the festival. For Popular Shakespeares 1 and 2, I invite Zimbabwean director Arne Pohlmeier, whose two man production of Two Gentleman of Verona was chosen to be part of the 2012 Globe to Globe (see The Guardian Review), to give a demonstration of how his cross-cultural company works, and I convene a panel talk with festival founder Philip Parr, York Museums Trust, the British Friends of Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre, York Shakespeare Project, York Explore and other guests who are actively involved in popularising Shakespeare at a local and global level. The University of York are also running an exciting lecture series. Most of the workshops, lecture series and panels are free but ticketed. For further information and booking, see here. Book soon to avoid disappointment and we look forward to seeing you, your friends and your family there: there is something for everyone! Watch the official trailer: *Globe to Globe in a more modest form has become embedded into Shakespeare’s Globe’s annual season, however.
For the English version of this interview click here.
P1 Podrias contarnos acerca de tu rol/papel en EL anio de Ricardo? A quien protagonizas/ interpretas?
En la Obra El Año de Ricardo de la autora Española Angelica Liddell ,yo protagonizo a Ricardo , la autora se basa en el personaje de Ricardo III de Shakespeare trasladandolo al mundo contemporaneo, atravezando desde lo siniestro ,oscuro la debilidad de la democracia los valores, la religion ,la politica.el genocidio,la cultura poniendo todo eso en un lugar de fragilidad e invitando a su propuesta perversa.
P2. Que te atrajo a vos o a tu grupo/compania de la obra de Liddell?
Al Director le atrajo la propuesta quer plantea Angelica Lidell , provocative ,reflexive y auto critica de una sociedad establecida con formas de vida resueltas que la autora desestabiliza. A mi como actriz cuando me llego el texto me impacto la riqueza del recorrido que ella plantea de la sociedad …la mirada de lo que nos ocurre ycomo lo pone dentro de una estructura dramatica que me sedujo ….me atrapo , apenas lo lei me apasiono la propuesta y supe que no queria perderme la oportunidad de transitar semejante texto.
P3. Como te preparaste para el rol? Y en que se diferencia de otros roles que hayas interpretado?
Entrar en Ricardo significo un trabajo, un compromiso orgánico donde se juega el intelecto, la emoción y el cuerpo. En este y en todos mis trabajos me entrego, confió en el director y tambien en mi, me escucho, escucho a mi cuerpo. Ricardo exige una entrega corporal que significo mucho entrenamiento ,trabajo de energía para poder dosificar y entrar y salir de situaciones dramáticas muy diversas, lograr que Ricardo me pase por el cuerpo para que después pùeda decir …no solo con la palabra …El habla con todo su cuerpo. Como actriz un desafió inmenso …hace 25 años que hago teatro y este es mi primer unipersonal, de la mano de Raul Notta mi director que me eligio para hacer la obra y con quien trabajamos durante 5 intensos meses creando ,investigando, disfrutando.
P4. Cual es la significacion de genero en esta obra?
Es una obra de texto , su estructura no esta enmarcada como las obras tradicionales y la podriamos ubicar en el genero Dramatico.
P5.Como el Ricardo de Lidell se relaciona con el Ricardo de Shakespeare?
Hay una relacion en entre el ‘Ricardo’ de Shakespeare y el ‘Ricardo’ de Lidell en la esquizofrenia de ambos, en su ambicion de poder desmedida , en su ironia siniestra, su seduccion perversa con el objetivo permanente de dominar al otro.
P6.Las fotos y las imagenes del video de esta produccion son muy llamativas e intrigantes. Podrias contarnos algo de ellas? Por ejemplo cual es el significado de la quema de libros? Y las muniecas rotas? Y el hilo cosido alrededor de la cara de la mujer?
La quema del libro: es un signo muy ligado al texto original de la obra, la destrucción de la poesía, de los poetas y de los escritores que elevan la realidad a otro plano, el plano metaforico, que cuestiona los intereses de poder de Ricardo.
Las muñecas rotas: son el signo de la vida devastada. No sólo en el imaginario de Ricardo, sino en la visión de Angélica Liddell y -confieso- la mía también. Presenta a los cuerpos fragmentados, de los cuerpo enfermos, corrompidos. La carne que se llena de veneno por los deseos inconclusos (“Aquel que desea pero no obra, engendra la peste”, Milton).
El hilo que ata es prisión, como el alambre de púas en el cabello, casi como un campo de concentración. Ricardo está preso de sí mismo, de su propia locura; su psicopatía y el pensar actos atroces no lo liberan, no son catárquicos: sólo lo encarcelan en obsesiones centrífugas, que giran todo el tiempo sobre lo mismo (la génesis de la locura).
P7. Hasta que punto, esta obra cobra una nueva dimension al ser trasladada ( ella usa la palabra transplantada a Argentina?
La dimension es muy conmovedora por la universalidad de los temas que plante la autora y puede representarse en Argentina como en Japon.
P8. Podrias contarnos de esta puesta para el publico/ audiencia que no la ha podido ver/disfrutar?
Para los que no vieron la puesta, ‘El anio de Ricardo’ es una propuesta para la reflexion y el cuestionamiento acerca del bien, del mal, la religion, el racismo, la sin razon, la politica etc.
P9. Que mas es importanteque la gente/audiencia piense/sepa en relacion a tu/vuestra produccion?
Para nosotros es importante que la propuesta que presentamos, los provoque e interpele la dimension humana y a su vez que disfruten de una propuesta teatral que integra distintos lenguajes escenicos.
Earlier this year, I blogged on an appropriation of Richard III by Spanish playwright and performer Angélica Liddell called El Aňo de Ricardo (The Year of Richard) which was performed at the Habemus Theatre in Pergamino, Argentina (July 2014). Here, I interview the production’s lead actor, Pamela Lombari, on her experiences with this play. Questions and answers translated by Adriana Lombari Bonefeld.
Interview with Pamela Lombari on El Aňo de Ricardo
Can you tell us about your role in El Aňo de Ricardo? Who do you play?
In The Year of Ricardo by the Spanish author Ricardo Angelica Liddell, I played Ricardo. The author based her character on Shakespeare’s Richard III. The character is transferred into the contemporary world, presenting a sinister and dark view on the weakness of democracy, on religion, on politics, on genocide. It challenges these values from a stand of fragility but also from the stand of the play’s perverse proposition.
What drew you and the company to Liddell’s play?
Raul Notta, the director, was attracted to the proposition put forward by Angelica Liddell: her play is a provocative, and self-reflective critique of established social conventions. The playwright challenges and destabilizes these social conventions. As a perfomer, I felt drawn to the text as it conveys a seductive understanding of contemporary western society … I fell in love with the dramatic structure. As soon as I read it, I felt passionate about performing it. I did not want to miss the opportunity to play such a text.
How did you prepare for such a role? How did it differ from other roles you have played?
To enter into ‘Ricardo’ meant a lot of work and preparation. It entailed an organic commitment where intellect, emotion and body interplayed. In this and all my work I surrender. I trusted both the director’s and my own instincts. I listened to what he had to say but I also listened to my body. ‘Ricardo’ requires the body’s involvement and physical work, but also emotional preparation and energy. All this is necessary to get into and out of a variety of dramatic and diverse situations. I can say that Ricardo goes through my body so that I can express his voice not only with words but with all my body. It has been, indeed a huge challenge … after 25 years this is my first one person show. After Raul Notta chose me to perform this play, we worked intensely for five months creating, researching – and enjoying!
What is the significance of gender in this interpretation?
With regard to gender, Liddell at no time indicates if she thought the text should be interpreted by a man or a woman … she just named the character Ricardo. [Liddell herself did originally play the role, however.] The director thought of me when he read the script. As a performer I did not think about the character as having one specific gender …I work ‘organically’ investing my resources in the character … I guess the character can be played by a man or a woman. I would like to think that both of my masculine and feminine identities were invested in the performance. Moreover, I think I made good use of my irrational aspects – what I can describe as the ‘animal inside me’. All aspects [of the self] are required when ‘entering’ such complex characters. As a performer, I draw on high levels of consciousness to get rid of my prejudices that may limit the creative process. The gender perspective is somehow less central in ‘The Year of Ricardo’.
How does Liddell’s Richard relate to Shakespeare’s Richard?
There is a relationship that lies in his schizophrenia, his ambition for autocratic power, his sinister irony, his wicked seduction used to achieve his lifelong aim to dominate others.
There are many striking images from the production and from the video that was part of the production. Can you elucidate some of these for us? For example, what did the burning books represent? And the broken dolls? And the string wrapped around the woman’s face? (Significantly, this was translated as: And the thread sewn around the face of the woman?)
The burning of the books is closely linked to the original text of the play, it is a sign of the destruction of poetry, the death of poets and writers who challenge the power that Ricardo pursues. [Adriana Lombari Bonefeld glossed this further: ‘Liddell’s play references ‘Nazism and dictatorships current and past. Knowledge has to be burnt and destroyed as it poses a threat to power,’ she explained. So, did she think that the play related to the Argentinean situation, past or present? ‘It relates to all dictatorships, and in Latin America unfortunately there is a sad and long history of that!’]
The broken dolls represent life’s devastation. Not only is life devastated in the imagination of Ricardo, but in Angélica Liddell’s view and – I have to confess – in mine too. The broken dolls led to the idea of fragmented bodies, sick bodies, corrupted bodies. The unfinished desires fill the flesh of venom. (“He who desires but does not act, breeds pestilence” Milton).
The thread that binds is a prison, the barbed wire hair, it is like a concentration camp. Ricardo is a prisoner of himself, of his own folly; psychopathy and his thinking do not set him free. His heinous acts are not cathartic: they only imprison him to his obsessions, which spin all the time about the same (the genesis of his insanity).
To what extent does this production take on new meaning when transplanted to Argentina?
The dimension is very moving for the universality of the themes that the author raises, it can be performed in Argentina just as it can in Japan.
How would you sum this production up for audiences who have not had a chance to see it?
The Year of Ricardo is a proposal for reflection and questioning about moral aspects such as good and evil, about religion, racism, human foolishness, politics etc.
What else do you think it is important for audiences to think about in relation to your production?
For us it is important that our proposition challenges the audience on the human level and, also, that they can enjoy a theatrical approach that integrates different stage languages.
Hamlet, directed by Sarah Frankcom, at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, Saturday 20th April, 2014 (matinee)
In Act 1, Scene 2, Claudius chastises Hamlet for his unmanly grief at the death of his father: “Fie, ’tis a fault to heaven,/A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,/To reason most absurd…” The manly Laertes weeps for a moment when he hears of the watery death of his sister, then “When these are gone/ the woman will be out”(4.7.187). Reason is male, emotion is female in this binary, patriarchal world, with its vestiges of blood revenge and its masculine intellectualism. Sceptic 101, commenting on Michael Billington’s Guardian review of Frankhom’s Hamlet, in which Hamlet, Polonious (Polonia), Rosencrantz and the gravediggers are all played by women, would doubtless agree: “Just don’t see the point of women playing male roles unless it’s panto of course. Nothing is gained and the play is just messed about with. I won’t bother with this one. I’ll check back later for the feminist howls of outrage but really, this is silly tokenism.” S/he is wrong about the tokenism. The RSC have noted that ‘The role[of Hamlet] was regarded in the late 18th and 19th centuries as embodying many feminine characteristics and was frequently played by women, culminating in Sarah Bernhardt in 1899-1901.’ And Asta Nielsen’s bobbed haired 1920s silent Hamlet combined German interwar Expressionist angst with flapper sensuality in her princess disguised as a prince.
Frankhom’s production challenges traditional casting on many levels: a black Laertes enters next to a white Ophelia with no need to create complicated back-stories, a mature black and female player king (Claire Benedict) caresses ‘his’ wife, played by a white teenaged boy from the youth theatre, but the boy isn’t a cross-dressed “boy player”, he’s just a boy, and this isn’t a transgressive affair, they are both just actors playing a role they have the skills to play. As part of Frankcom’s work to enlarge women’s role in classical theatre, five of the other traditionally male roles are played by women. I don’t think this production is simply increasing the ratio of male/female actors in principal roles, however. To me, it seems to be exploring a whole range of approaches to cross-gender casting. Gillian Bevan’s brilliant Polonia, in her heels and power suits, regenders the old courtier into an ambitious woman first minister. The antagonism between her and Gertrude edges towards rivalry; her dressing down of her love-struck daughter (and her silly romantic fantasies) is no longer about patriarchal control of Ophelia’s womb but a from-the-heart warning about the threat of a ruined reputation and career faced by any woman who gets found out. Jodie McNee’s Rosencranz, complaining that “My Lord, you once did love me” probably left the stage to update her relationship status to “it’s complicated”… At the centre of all these is Maxine Peake’s luminous Hamlet. This has had generally rave reviews, with critics noting the androgyny, liking her cropped hair and pale face to David Bowie in his Let’s Dance phase, and repeatedly underscoring that she isn’t “underscoring maleness” but is feminising Hamlet. Neither Susannah Clapp, in her Front Row review (BBC Radio 4, 17 Sept 2014) nor Michael Billington saw this as a falling off of masculinity. The production is taking the character beyond those simplistic gender binaries that Claudius and Laertes, then critics such a Goethe, held so much store by. “[Hamlet] is, […] as Goethe was first to say, part woman. But Goethe was wrong, as Freud was wrong, to assume that woman means weakness. To equate women with weak and tainted bodies, words, and feelings while men possess noble reason and ambitious purpose is to participate in Denmark’s disease dividing mind from body, act from feeling, man from woman” (Leverenz, 1978, in Coyle, 1992, p133) Peake’s Hamlet, as noted by academics Peter Kirwan and Julie Raby at today’s performance, seemed extraordinarily young, almost on the cusp of pubescence, and at times her voice, its shortened Lancashire vowels sitting so much more comfortably with Shakespeare’s verse than our post 19th century received pronunciation, almost seemed to break.
But surely, surely, surely, everything in Peake’s performance and presentation points not to a negation of gender and sexual orientation, but a concentration of it? “To be or not to be? If a woman plays Hamlet, should she pretend to be a man or make the role female? Is she then in a lesbian relationship with Ophelia?” quips Dominic Maxwell in the Times. I’m not sure how much of a relationship there was between Hamlet and Ophelia despite the kissing on the lips, but there was certainly a large contingent of lesbians in the audience, some of whom, like me, could hardly be distinguished from our heterosexual neighbours, but the majority of whom looked, well, rather similar to Maxine Peake’s Hamlet. The lace-ups, the the sports bra that showed through the back of her dress shirt, the loose slacks that had a touch of the Night Watch costume department about them, the cropped locks and the touch of lipstick all suggest a Diva fashion shoot to me. And a conscious courting of the pink pound. Cavendish’s review, also available in full here, is the only review so far in one of the big papers that has begun to address this. “Her Hamlet, [Peake] says, is ‘born a woman and has decided to take on the mantle of a man’. As we talk in her lunch break from rehearsals, she refers to her character interchangeably as ‘he’ or ‘she’. She looks dashing and androgynous, her hair dyed blonde, cropped and quiffed into mid-period Bowie. ‘We’ve reimagined Wittenberg, where Hamlet studied,’ she says, ‘as Eighties Berlin or New York Greenwich Village.'” There is nothing more explicit about why she has taken on a mantle of a man. The Royal Exchange has some interesting materials on its website, however. This is a “Hamlet for now, a Hamlet for Manchester” it says. Its Key Stage 4 and 5 resources for schools linked to this production include a Trans Awareness activity. The critics may be out on whether Peake’s Hamlet is male or female, straight or gay, cis or trans. Either way, this Hamlet is decidedly queer, and it seems queer that nobody has really written about it. (Since posting this, Mark Lawson HAS written about what he sees as ‘the perils of cross-gender casting’ in The Guardian – although I’m not convinced by his ‘perils’ in an otherwise interesting article!) Production photos available here. Leverenz, David (1978) ‘The Woman in Hamlet: An interpersonal View’ in Martin Coyle, ed., (1992) New Casebooks: Hamlet Basingstoke and London: Macmillan
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On the 19th September 2014 the Grand Opening of the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre will take place. It is one of the most unusual venues in the world and the only modern theatre building with an opening roof that allows the staging of plays in daylight, in the tradition of the Renaissance.
This is an exceptional event as the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre is the only dedicated theatre building that has been constructed in Poland for almost forty years. Therefore the Grand Opening ceremony will gather many notable persons from the world of culture and business, as well as government and local authorities.
The idea of the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre, a modern reconstruction of the Elizabethan-style Gdańsk playhouse, where English travelling actors performed in the seventeenth century, was born under the patronage of HRH Charles, Prince of Wales. Other notable supporters of the project include renowned Polish film director Andrzej Wajda, celebrated British theatre director Sir Peter Hall and many leading British and Polish actors, among them Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Allan Rickman, Kenneth Branagh, Krystyna Janda, Jerzy Stuhr, and many others.
Because the building cannot accommodate all the guests we would like to invite, the Grand Opening of the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre will take place in two stages: a closed ceremony will take place inside the theatre with VIPs, sponsors, foreign guests and journalists. All other festivities will take place outside the building for other guests wishing to take part in the celebrations.
The Grand Opening of the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre will start in the evening, at 8.30 pm. It will begin with a celebratory performance outside the Theatre that will last approximately 30 minutes. It will
include a Spanish fencing show and a performance of aerial acrobatics. The performance will close with a march of all the spectators, led by the fencers and actors, through the Theatre’s Main Hall, where they will be welcomed by Shakespearean characters.
The design of the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre by renowned Italian architect Renato Rizzi has been recognised as one of most interesting architectural projects of the twenty–first century. The outside brick construction, reminiscent of Gdansk’s Gothic churches, contains a wooden, early modern playhouse interior, and is thus an architectural dialogue with the building’s past. Rizzi’s design uses the seventeenth century Fencing School in Gdansk – said to be the first public theatre in Poland – as its inspiration. At the same time the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre provides a real glimpse into the future of theatre
design with its unique architectural and technologically advanced elements – created with daring and ambition – such as the opening roof which provides daylight during performances and a retractable modular stage design providing both an Italian box stage and Elizabethan thrust stage.
The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre will become a vibrant centre for culture and the arts. Its forthcoming programme of events will include: a series of week-long events celebrating European culture (starting with the British Week from 20 until 26 September), a series of month-long events devoted to Polish theatre, an extensive educational series for primary and secondary schools, and finally the annual International Shakespeare Festival, currently in its eighteenth year, which will take place from 27 September until 5 October 2014.
The distinctive combination of historical tradition and modernity makes the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre not only a unique tourist attraction but also a new international cultural platform dedicated to theatre innovation and artistic creativity.
Dr Aleksandra Sakowska
London Shakespeare Centre, King’s College London
Press Office, Poland
tel.: +48 691 08 22 77
The Year of Ricardo by Angelica Liddell at the Habemus Theatrum, Theatrum, Pergamino, Argentina, with Pamela Lombari, directed by Raul Nutta, video directed by Fabian Diaz. Performances on 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27 July 2014
Versión española/Spanish version of Rolandelli's review (without my introduction).
Living in York, I have to be careful how I respond to a question like ‘How do English people think of Richard III?’ After all, this city has a museum dedicated to righting the wrongs of the Tudor propaganda that came out of London… Yet, despite Philippa Gregory’s and the BBC’s recent attempts to repackage Richard sympathetically as a smouldering heartthrob, manipulated and maligned, to most he is still the ‘poisonous bunch-back’d toad’ of Shakespeare’s play. My friend, Adriana, who originates from Argentina, had a specific reason to ask such a question: her sister had been cast as Richard in a production of Angelica Liddell’s free appropriation El Aňo de Ricardo (The Year of Richard). In this monologue, part of Liddell’s ‘trilogía de actos de resistencia contra la muerte’, or ‘trilogy of acts of resistance against death’ , the Spanish playwright and performer re-imagined him as everything that is dark and twisted within the world. The authenticity of a historical Richard is irrelevant here: it is the symbolism that counts. “We identify with him. Ricardo shows us how democratic mechanisms are used to abuse power, cause suffering, and compensate for personal faults,” said Liddell. As the prison of Denmark becomes a parallel for any totalitarian regime in global Hamlets, so the figure of Richard can be seen to stand in for any dictator, from Hitler to Saddam Hussein, but also in Liddell’s work the implication is that he stands in for all that is dark and twisted in the self: we too are complicit, perhaps?
Striking in the images released by Lombari and the Fratacho Company is the burning of books. Liddell’s play references ‘Nazism and dictatorships current and past. Knowledge has to be burnt and destroyed as it poses a threat to power,’ explains Adriana. So, did she think that the play related to the Argentinean situation, past or present? ‘It relates to all dictatorships, and in Latin America unfortunately there is a sad and long history of that!’
Currently running at the Habemus Theatrum in Pergamino this theatre isn’t afraid of putting on challenging productions and its lead actor, Pamela Lombari, is no stranger to challenging roles.
This review of the production by Carmen Rolandelli, translated by Adriana Lombari-Bonefeld, gives a flavour of how Shakespeare’s play transforms across time, place and gender.
The Year of Ricardo
Pamela Lombari’s performance in “The Year of Ricardo” excels. It can be argued that this is her best work but that would detract from the many other important projects that this actress has faced throughout her career. Yet, in this play she has come of age, overcoming her own goals. It is a difficult performance, splitting the action from the word, that Stanislavsky himself considered was so important, when words become alien themselves, displaying the subtext, the cross action of the word. A stark text by Angelica Liddell that is difficult to digest, it is uncomfortable and angry. A ruthless criticism of the social system that goes beyond the disappointments of Liddell, it arrives at a place of absolute disbelief and scepticism, a place that does not give rise to hope.
“Dying is as close to the truth as we get,” says the author and from that position generates anxiety in the audience, from that place challenges power. Who speaks in the voice of Ricardo? The perverse capitalism, which excludes, which preys, which feeds his more egregious greed? It presents a cynical look at the only tool capable of transforming reality, politics. But is it not, that voice that mocks the ideology and power of the masses, is not speech the right of the last man? And after that, what? The author does not tell us what after that. Or maybe this, its revealed truth, is nothing more than a desperate cry. “Uninterrupted pessimism makes me distrust the human being,” says the Spanish author but also adds that the overwhelming desire to side with the loser appears. This is, in my opinion, a reaffirmation of the political. It would be good to open a discussion with the public, and that is who Liddell questions and challenges.
Raul Notta, responsible for an impeccable adaptation of the play, proves once again his ability to translate complex plays into stage language. His work and drive, keeps the spectator in awe from the beginning. Here, I can say that the concept of “spectator” is present because it is impossible not to be swept away by the action. The message confronts us, making it impossible to remain as passive subjects. On the contrary, it is impossible as a subject not to feel thrown to the depth of the swamp, that makes us angry and uneasy. Beautiful and deep is the intervention of Fabian Diaz, with his aesthetics of the margins, the unspoken words and what underlies his images. Could this be the beauty of the unhappiness and the anguish of Liddell? Hence, this is a confrontational text that leads us to the discussion of our own ideas anchored politically and collectively, and shows the excellent level and place of honour that the theatre in our community must occupy . The year of Ricardo achieved this.
By Carmen Rolandelli, translated by Adriana Lombari-Bonefeld
Versión española/Spanish version of Rolandelli's review.
For English translation and introduction click here
‘El año de Ricardo’
Excelente trabajo de Pamela Lombari en “El año de Ricardo”. Podría decir que es su mejor trabajo pero sería como desmerecer tantos proyectos importantes que esta actriz ha encarado a lo largo de su carrera. Pero, indudablemente, en Ricardo ha alcanzado su madurez, la superación de sus propias metas.
Un trabajo arduo, un desdoblamiento desde la acción a la palabra, a la que el propio Stanislavsky daba tanta importancia, cuando las palabras ajenas se convierten en propias, la visualización del subtexto, la acción transversal de la palabra
Un texto descarnado, difícil de digerir, incómodo, rabioso, una crítica impiadosa al sistema que va más allá de la decepción de Liddell , llega al descreimiento absoluto, al escepticismo, que no da lugar a la esperanza. “Morir es lo más cercano a la verdad” dice la autora y de ese lugar genera la angustia, desde ese lugar interpela al Poder. ¿Quién habla en la voz de Ricardo? El capitalismo perverso, el que excluye, el que depreda, el que se retroalimenta con su voracidad más atroz? Una mirada cínica sobre la única herramienta capaz de transformar la realidad, la política. Pero no es acaso, esa voz que burla la ideología y el poder de las masas, la voz se las derechas, del no lugar, del último hombre? ¿Y después de esto, qué? La autora no nos lo dice. O quizás, esta, su verdad revelada, no sea más que un grito desesperado
“Un pesimismo ininterrumpido me hace desconfiar del ser humano” dice la autora pero también agrega que aparece el deseo irrefrenable de ponerse del lado del perdedor y esto es, a mi criterio, una reafirmación de lo político. A ese público que Liddell incomoda sería bueno proponerle el debate.
Impecable dirección de Notta que elige obras complejas y demuestra, una vez más, su capacidad de trabajo y conducción, y una puesta fuerte, que mantiene al espectador en tensión y acá puedo decir que está presente el concepto de “espectactor” porque es imposible evitar ser arrasado . No es un sujeto pasivo quien se enfrente a esta puesta, a la profundidad de esa ciénaga donde parece que caemos permanentemente, que nos enoja y nos confronta.
Profunda y bella la intervención de Fabián Díaz, la estética de los márgenes, de lo no dicho, de lo que subyace. ¿Será esa la belleza de la infelicidad y la angustia de Liddell?
De lo dicho, de un texto confrontativo que nos dispara a la discusión de las ideas, ni más ni menos y a nuestros propios anclajes en lo político y en lo colectivo, se desprende el excelente nivel y el lugar de honor que debe ocupar el teatro en nuestra ciudad. “El año de Ricardo “es prueba fehaciente de esta realidad