BEG-ADA DE AMOR
As Spain's most successful theatre group springs its record-breaking show Cegada De Amor on an unsuspecting Festival, writer and director JORDI MILAN tells us not to worry.
Words: Javier Mazorra and Andrew Burnet
50 THE lIST 8—14 Aug 199/
STRAIGHT ()tl'l‘TA BARCELONA this week comes the most successful Spanish theatre show ever. (‘cgar/u De Amor.
Performed by the colourful (‘atalunyan troupe l.a Cubana. Blinded By Law (to give it its English title) has been seen all over Spain by more than ‘)()().()()() people. Now La (‘ubana is bringing this phenomenal show to the lidinburgh International Festival. It will be the company‘s first llK visit and the show's lirst airing outside Spain. Are we ready for this‘.’
l.a (‘ubana‘s massive success has not come overnight. Formed in l‘)t\’() in Sitges. a coastal resort near Barcelona. the company began by performing in unusual spaces. The corner ol~ a plaza was their first venue. l‘ollowed by shop windows. markets and bars.
liarly work included entertaining delegates at conventions. or staging spectacular events for public ceremonies and l'airs. This area ol’ La (‘ubana‘s work peaked in 1992. when the company staged ('n/mnu Murat/Inn Dancing as part of the opening ceremony at the Barcelona ()Iympics. ()nly since 1986 has the company performed in ‘eonventional‘ theatre spaces. but certain things have always marked l.a (‘ubana out as a
unique creative l‘orce.
~ I ‘ '\\'e, like to characters that have a me of their own and go beyond the script. trying to catch the viewer in the edge between ﬁction and reality.. explains .lordi Milan. the
'We like to go beyond the script, trying to catch the viewer in the edge between fiCthll and reality.’ lmdi Milan
company‘s eo-l’ounder. director and main writer.
Many l.a (‘ubana projects have audaciously blurred that lil'e/art division. including the 1990/91 New Year's Eve Special for (‘atalonia‘s TV3. La (‘ubana appeared as television employees who improvised their own show al'ter 'l‘V3 abandoned its plans fora New Year‘s live special.
\‘v'ith ('cgru/a [)0 Annn‘. reality and fiction blur even l'urther. The actors portray the cast ol~ a lilm whose own characters have a life ol‘ their own.
‘lt is about a group of actors making a musical about an eighteen-year-old orphan ingenue (played by a 40—year-old “child prodigy") who is blinded by accident but who wins. loses and maybe wins back again her man.‘ explains Milan. ‘We have merged the “magic” ol~ cinema with the “presence” of theatre. creating a very precise and technical Molotov cocktail that might be described as a three-dimensional show.’
In case that seems conl'using. Milan helpl'ully adds: ‘Do not be tooled . . . I might be teasing you.‘ In any case. a combination ol’ linglish. 'Spanglish‘ and surtitles should make the show accessible to liestival audiences.
With a cod—60s setting. ('cguz/(t lh' :lnnn‘ has the luridly stylish look ol a Pedro Almodt’ivar l'ilm — an influence Milan willingly acknowledges. ‘I am 46. and the o()s were the years when I started enjoying cinema. theatre. litshion.‘ he says. ‘I think they were quite wonderful —- including the corny bits. Almodovar's lilms also show his liking l‘or the style ot' those years.‘
.'\s might be expected ol‘ a company with a background in street theatre. audience participation is also a t’eature — which may strike fear into the reserved hearts of British audiences. "l‘hey are definitely going to be leased. amused. surprised. but never insulted.‘ assures Milan. ‘We want them to l’eel part ol‘ the show -- we believe they are the real stars. So they should not worry. just Icel uninhibited. relaxed and ready to enjoy something quite new and unexpected . . .’
Cegada De Amor/Blinded By Love (International Festival) Edinburgh International Conference Centre, 0131 473 2000, 12—23 Aug (not 18) 8pm, £6—E14.
La Cubana: blurring life and art