"Otro" teatro español
Supresión e inscripción en la escena Española de los siglos XX y XXI
A substantially revised and updated Spanish-language version of my 2003 monograph, ‘Other' Spanish theatres, this book looks at the trajectories of six key figures in twentieth and twenty-first century theatre. Arguing for a revisionist history of Spanish theatre that recognises the contributions made by actors and directors to our understanding of how theatre is made and travels across local, national and international borders, this is a book that asks questions about how history is constructed and made ‘official’.
I have made a fair number of changes to the original manuscript and rewritten much of it. Published in Spanish, it needs a slightly different context and I’ve wanted to ensure the work of practitioners still working is brought up to date. (I’m very grateful to the book’s diligent translator Mar Diestro-Dópido here!) There’s been some extraordinary work produced over the twenty-first century: Nuria Espert playing Lear at 80; La Cubana restaging an earlier hit in a very different socio-political context; Lluís Pasqual returning as Artistic Director of the Lliure. It was important to explore how trajectories develop and also how the legacy of practitioners who died in the previous century has shifted, as with Enrique Rambal’s recognition in Marcos Ordóñez’s 2002 novel Comedia con fantasmas and Casares’s influence 20 years after her death. Spain has changed also.
I rewrote the book during a recession that imposed VAT at 21% on theatre tickets, that cut state subsidy, and generated a leaner aesthetic in stagings. The value of culture was being questioned at a time when a large proportion of the population was unemployed and facing dire economic conditions. What role does theatre play during these times? How does it generate public debate? How does it present alternative viewpoints? In addition, issues of historical memory have gained a greater prominence and shaped how work is made and received. As the world changes so theatre changes too, it’s a living, breathing entity, a mirror on the society that produces it.