This year 2022 may not be remembered for a particular work, for a great success or the revelation of a creator or actor. When asked how the ‘harvest’ of this 2022 has been, perhaps the only possible answer is: extensive and uneven. He started the season this September with fear in his body. The professionals warned of a drop in the public before the summer. The trend, although it cannot be confirmed that it has been reversed, seems not to be confirmed. The public in recent months seems to have returned to the theaters despite the economic situation. But it will not be until the end of the season that it will be possible to take stock. Gone was the previous season when attendance dropped by close to 20% compared to years prior to the pandemic.
The films of 2022: Spanish cinema could with everything (except with the box office)
The last great theatrical success is still a moonless night, released in 2021 but which continues its long tour. This year the production was awarded two prizes at the Max Awards, a contest in which another of the ascending figures and one to take into account this year, María Velasco, was recognized. In short, an intense year has come to an end, dominated by the omnipresence of theaters and public festivals, by the difficulty of carrying out projects and large productions; and that, of course, has had brawls, confirmations and the odd discovery. We report on this in this article.
The year of Juan Mayorga
On February 4, the news broke, the great Spanish playwright was going to the ‘dark side’: cultural management. Mayorga was appointed artistic director of the Teatro de la Abadía. The author and stage director had just succeeded with Silence, the work that adapts Mayorga’s admission speech to the Language Academy, interpreted by Blanca Portillo. And just after that premiere, on the 25th of the same month, it started at the Teatro María Guerrero golem, a new and disturbing text directed by Alfredo Sanzol that opened his dramaturgy to the horror genre in a production that also included other rising values of interpretation, Vicky Luengo. But the story would not end there. On June 1, Mayorga received the Princess of Asturias Award for Literature. What’s next? The Nobel Prize? It sounds far away, but maybe it’s not that far away. But the present rules and it will be from this coming January that it will be possible to really begin to evaluate his management at the head of the Abbey: his commitment to Fernanda Orazi to review Greek tragedy, nothing less than with electra; the return to the repertoire of Helena Pimenta with a Tabori, mother courage; his foray as director of a new text, Maria Luisa; and the call to one of the greats, Rodrigo García, who will arrive in May with a new production and a house brand title: Christ is on Tinder.
Pablo Remón and Pablo Messiez are two of the values that have been consolidated this year. The first from Madrid, the second from Argentina. Very different, but they are united by certain parameters: they have a growing and more loyal audience, their proposals are focused on the actor and the writing on stage and they have great actors who know how to give freedom and squeeze at the same time. Remón overwhelmed the box office with perhaps the great comedy of the season, the fakers, which included Bárbara Lennie, Nuría Mencía and Javier Cámara. The man from Madrid rounded off his season at the Conde Duque with Barbados in 2022a remake from a previous work of his with two greats, Emilio Tomé and Fernanda Orazi. Messiez, on his side, revolutionized the season at the Naves del Matadero in Madrid with the will to believework that was based on the film order de Dreyer and that at the end of December he will try to conquer Barcelona; the play will be scheduled in the large hall of the Teatre Lliure, the Fabià Puigserver. They will take some other Max Prize.
Lluís Homar, Almagro and a long and hot summer
Summer arrived and, with it, the Almagro Festival. The inauguration was amazing. The great event of the Golden Age theater opened with a tasteless tribute to the founder of the National Theater Company and the festival itself, Adolfo Marsillach. A dramatized reading with big names on the scene such as Núria Espert that led to the artistic divorce between the Festival’s director, Ignacio García, and the director of the National Classical Theater Center (CNTC), the Catalan actor Lluís Homar. The tension could be cut with a knife in the scorched streets of Almagro. And it is that behind it was hidden a real confrontation between the leadership of Almagro and the National Company.
The CNTC’s co-productions with private production companies and other festivals were hurting the company’s presence in Almagro, a fundamental presence for the festival’s economy. Collaborations are also closely linked to Catalonia. Do not take away from this sainete its part of plateau mysticism, of Numantine resistance to the Catalan pecuniary colonization. The matter ended with a harsh resignation letter from the director of Almagro. A letter that more than a friend song was a Castilian epic song. A new direction is already being sought for the Almagro Festival, everything points to a manager profile, the name of Irene Pardo, from the National Network of Public Theaters, is being considered.
Bezerra does not die because he does not want to
Paco Bezerra became trending topic this past November. Something unusual in this of the scenic. His response in the Madrid Assembly to Gonzalo Babé, the representative of Vox, that spontaneous “get the people of Madrid out of their mouths because the people of Madrid do not want to be in their mouths”, made the solitary crusade that this playwright undertook five months ago against the Community of Madrid and against the artistic direction of the Teatros del Canal will reach the public with force.
This newspaper has followed the case since the Community of Madrid, through the political council that administers the Teatros del Canal, removed the play on Santa Teresa de Jesús de Bezerra from the programming in July, I die because I don’t die. A few weeks ago the profession wrapped up the playwright in the dramatized reading organized by the SGAE Foundation of this work that won the prize that the Foundation organizes, the Jardiel Poncela. Every day the circle around the director of the Theaters, Blanca Li, narrows more, who has spent these months without attending to the press until last Friday when she offered a press conference; and on the Community of Madrid, which defends that the administration can go over the artistic directions of a theater and has established a contracting model that allows it. History is not going to stop, Bezerra does not seem to be going silent and, with each passing week, civil society is understanding that this is a conflict that goes beyond people and is linked to fundamental rights such as expression or freedom of expression. creation.
The dance: great in the small
In the world of dance, it has been the independent creators and small structures who have aroused the greatest interest. With the National Dance Company in a drift of invisibility that does not seem to be going to stop, it has been creators such as Jesús Rubio Gamo, Lucia Marote, Janet Novas or the Brazilian Poliana Lima who have been setting the pace.
The piece recently premiered at the Naves de Matadero by the bailaora Rocio Molina also deserves a special mention, carnation. This artist, who this year has also won the Silver Lion at the Venice Dance Biennale, has presented a groundbreaking montage of an existential dance close to the poetry of silence that opens the gates, like never before, between flamenco and contemporary dance.
If there is something that has surprised this world of performing arts, it is the irruption of a part of the Spanish geography forgotten theatrically and mistreated by its local rulers: Malaga. Alberto Cortés, La Chachi, Luz Prado, Alessandra García, Violeta Niebla. A generation born in the eighties, which arises from pure independence and do-it-yourself and who conceive the scene in a different way. They are in another and that shows and is appreciated. But be careful with Malaga, which is long. In April a marvel arrives at the Teatros del Canal by a veteran choreographer, Luz Arcas, who premiered at the Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla, mariana, pure folk turned into contemporary. The other discovery has been indoor night, by Serrucho, an unclassifiable piece that after its passage through the Autumn Festival is already beginning to tour.
Disappointing international scene
Perhaps the most disappointing of the year. Apart from safe values and already hyper-established in their codes and their way of doing things, such as the Italian Romeo Castellucci, Robert Lepage or Krystian Lupa, the matter has been very dry, especially after the disappointing passage through the Autumn Festival of two of the great assumptions of the international scene dominated by the French canon: the Brazilian Christiane Jatahy and the Portuguese Tiago Rodrigues. The big surprise came at the Cádiz festival, at the FIT, where a work by another Brazilian, Janaina Leite, was presented for the first time, with one of the most revealing stage dramaturgies in recent years; and with the confirmation of the Chilean creator Manuela Infante who presented How to turn into stone.
It is also worth mentioning in this section the appearance of the Argentine Marina Otero and the healthy continuity of the work of the French Pascal Rambert who premiered this year, with all sold-out performances at the Teatro de la Abadía, Finland together with the actors Israel Elejalde and Irene Escolar.
too many goodbyes
Every year, inexorably, death collects its debt. One of the greats of the international scene, director Peter Brook, and one of the greats of acting, Jean-Louis Trintignant, have died. In Spain, one of the most beloved actors by the public in the last 50 years died: Juan Diego. But other fundamental legs of theatrical history also left, such as Alicia Hermida and Berta Riaza, both began working in 1947, Hermida would do so until 2016, 75 years on the stage. This year has been especially cruel with the actors, so also disappeared Paco Merino, the actor who said he was invisible and did it all, the great Chete Lera, the Valencian Mariana Fernanda D’Ocon or Carmen de la Maza. Two men well loved by the profession also disappeared, the Catalan director Joan Ollé and the Valencian playwright and director Salva Bolta.