Madrid, 1914. In a turbulent world on the threshold of the First World War, Benito Pérez Galdós releases his particular version of a Euripides classic: Alceste The writer from Gran Canaria faced the ruined and sick end of his days -fallecería in 1920-, had spent two decades working on the project, for which he had the advice of the actress and theatrical entrepreneur María Guerrero, at the time protagonist of the assembly.
Directed by Víctor Formoso and starred among others by María de Vigo, Mingo Ruano and Mari Carmen Sánchez, the adaptation of Alceste, which is part of the so-called Biennium Galdosiano (2018-2020), can be seen this weekend, today Friday and tomorrow Saturday, at 20.30, at the Cuyás Theater. It will be the first representation of the work since its premiere in Madrid in 1914.
Back to the premiere in Madrid, the premiere of Alceste He had the assistance of the royal family. The coming-of-age, for which no media was spared, took place on April 21 at the Teatro de la Princesa in the capital, and aroused great interest in the press of the time, which dedicated covers and good reviews, such as remember in the section Madrid and Galdós from your blog Urban History of Madrid the specialist Eduardo Valero, who profusely has investigated on the relation of the writer with the city that adopted it from 1862.
"Once again showing a healthy and hospitable artistic criteria, the theater company of the Princess offered us yesterday, coinciding with the benefit of María Guerrero, the first fruits of the famous tragedy of Euripides, recast and improved by maestro Galdós [?], (who) has respected the Greek poet's thought in all its integrity ", published Herald of Madrid after the premiere.
Also that day, Galdós himself referred to The countrys of the time a letter "to the viewers and readers of Alceste", which would later be included in the printed edition of the work and in which it justified a series of licenses with respect to the original text of Euripides to present it" in a theatrical form with modern procedures and styles ", as in the coming days they would also testify The goblin, The artistic illustration or The sphere.
Precisely, a copy of that last newspaper guarded today in the National Library highlighted: "Without rigorously conforming to the myth, dressing the original fable with new foundations, and adapting the technical procedure to the current tastes of the public, the distinguished Galdós has managed to compose a of the most important theatrical works of contemporary theater ".
The result: a mythological fable of enormous value, but also a political text, which defends self-denial, altruism and general interest along with the importance of regeneration, which gives it an undoubted validity even in our days.
Now, more than a century after its premiere and as often happens with the great classics, that version of Alceste, one of the most unknown texts of its author, is represented again, for the first time since then, within the framework of the so-called Galdosian Biennium (2018-2020), with which the Cabildo of Gran Canaria and other institutions commemorate the 175th anniversary of the famous writer's birth and the first centenary of his death.
So says the Gran Canary Víctor Formoso (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1983), who signs this adaptation that hosts the Cuyás today Friday and tomorrow Saturday. The Gran Canaria Cabildo invited six experienced local companies to present projects with which to provide content to the scenic section of the Galdosian Biennium. Finally, four proposals were made, of which, in addition to Alceste, the version of Misericordia, by Prophets de Mueble Bar, was selected, which will be shown in 2020.
About Alceste, explains Víctor Formoso who has not made a version, but "an adaptation, to be able to eliminate characters and carry it out". "I have not dared to put a comma to the word of Galdos or make any addition, I have simply unified some characters to try to leave the Galdosian essence completely intact," he says.
The play has a "very choral" cast of ten actors, compared to the original score, which also has Nati Vera, José Luis de Madariaga, Lamberto Guerra, Pepe Batista, Kevin Sánchez, Tony Báez and José Manuel Trujillo.