The theatrical project Between Verses and Marsillach conquer the House of Culture Villa de Moya captained by the actress Blanca Marsillach, along with the actress Begoña Mencía and ten elderly people from the Senior Center of Las Palmas-Ciudad Alta [en convenio con la Consejería de Empleo, Políticas Sociales y Vivienda del Gobierno de Canarias], who have rehearsed the text for a week. The scenic proposal is based on an adaptation of the production One night with the classics, represented by Adolfo Marsillach, Amparo Rivelles and María Jesús Valdés in 1997, and based on a reading cycle of the most famous poets of the Spanish Golden Age, with the purpose of bringing the poetic and the scene closer to the group of elderly people .
How is this project of poetic-social nature gestated and that, in addition, pays tribute to his father, Adolfo Marsillach?
Between Verses and Marsillach It's a project that my production company does Varela Productions together with the Obra Social la Caixa for eight years. In this time we have already been to 25 cities in Spain, with a single function per city, and today we will represent it in Gran Canaria for the first time. The seed of the project comes from the Obra Social la Caixa with the aim of incorporating a group of older people into some kind of artistic activity that could help them to enter the world of art and that experience, in turn, I will enrich them as people. And this search joined the desire to pay homage to my father through poetry, because Between Verses and Marsillach is an adaptation of one of the last works he played on the stage. Therefore, the idea was also to make a representation in which Adolfo Marsillach was present with us on stage through the rear-projections of his image.
How is the staging of Between Verses and Marsillach?
Well, let's say that the representation is divided into two halves: in the first part, Begoña Mencía and I perform a dramatized interpretation of the verse with the projected image of my father behind us and, in the second part, we invite the rest of the participants to join us and recite the texts.
What has been the reception of the elderly people who participate in the theatrical proposal?
The reception has been very positive for what it means for them on a personal level, because the theater helps them a lot in issues such as memory and the ability to remember, the way of relating to others or to integrate in the environment. That is why, in each city we visit, we embark a series of elderly people in day centers that we can help or enrich with their incorporation into the theater, because the challenges posed by the scene helps them to improve their abilities. What they do is learn the text, rehearse it for a week and represent it with us on stage, so that the activity also allows them to enjoy many fundamental texts of Spanish literature.
Does the poetry of the Golden Age usually pose a challenge or, on the contrary, do they connect with the power of the verse?
A part of the project is also based on the interest that classical theater is not lost, even if it evolves and is done differently. In this sense, older people do connect with the verse and perhaps I am more concerned about young people, with whom we also work, know and do not lose what is the essence of the theater, which is also a beautiful thing and is part of our history.
And what are you left with from this collective experience?
The experience is very exciting because, obviously, they are neither professional actors nor actresses. Therefore, the materialization of the project is a very nice process, because you see older people on stage with a surprising level of delivery and, in many cases, they also interpret very well. In this sense, the truth is that you discover many people who had and have a very good interpretive capacity and that could even have been great actors and actresses. And then it's very cool to see how the theater helps them from the human point of view. I think it is very beautiful to see that these elderly people have many capacities to do many things and that it is never too late to bring them to light.
Do you think that, in general, society neglects the group of the elderly, at least in Spain?
I believe that the elderly are a fundamental part of society and this project is a way of remembering the importance of having the elderly in society, of making them feel useful and not forgetting them.
Is social theater a greater challenge than the commercial one?
In my case it is not, because it is already part of my artistic career. It's been 11 years since I started the Compañía de Teatro Blanca Marsillach and Varela Producciones, with my partner Elise Varela, and we've been doing social theater ever since. In addition to this theater project for the elderly with the La Caixa Foundation, I have also worked with the Repsol Foundation on theatrical projects with people with disabilities, in which we have developed a play with a person with Down syndrome and a person with disabilities. physical disability. Then, we have also worked with other foundations and have explored other issues, such as bullying. I feel very comfortable with this type of project and, above all, very grateful, because it is giving me a lot as a person. In each new experience you see many people that you did not imagine in this world and I am delighted. Then, I have worked in other different aspects in the world of theater, but this is the one I have focused on until now.
On the other hand, is his tribute to his father, Adolfo Marsillach, one of the fundamental figures of Spanish theater, born also with a desire to keep his artistic legacy alive?
Definitely. In Madrid we premiered his play a few years ago I get off on the next one, and you?, which he opened in 1982 with Concha Velasco and José Sacristán, and the truth is that remembering his works and seeing that people keep remembering my father and the things he did excites me. In addition, not only the elderly, but also young people remember their works. I am thrilled that they remember who he was and what he was doing, because we have to thank him for everything he did for the Spanish theater, so I really want to keep spreading this legacy so that he does not get lost.