"My father, who was a baker, instilled in me the value of effort," says Lluís Pasqual

Lluís Pasqual was artistic director of the Arriaga between 2004 and 2007. / PL

The stage director collects this Thursday the Corral de Comedias prize, which is awarded by the Almagro International Classical Theater Festival

The son of a Catalan and an Andalusian, in his house the quality of the third batch of bread was discussed every day. Has it been better than the second or not? What needs to be done to improve? His father had a workshop and was a perfectionist. «Beyond what they teach you at school, I am clear that the fundamental thing is learned within the family. They instilled in me the value of effort and tenacity. You can always learn something. To live is to move forward”, emphasizes the stage director Lluís Pasqual (Reus, 1951), who this Thursday collects the Corral de Comedias prize, which is awarded by the Almagro International Classical Theater Festival and which serves as the starting signal for the renowned contest devoted to Siglo de Oro. Of course, in the case of Pasqual what is being rewarded is not his contribution to classical Spanish theatre, but "his role as a transformer of scenic languages ​​and for the bridge he has built between cultural tradition, heritage and the contemporary and avant-garde look”, in the words of Ignacio García, director of the festival.

Very solemn words that make the recipient of the praise sigh. Pasqual hasn't allowed himself to gild the pill for a long time. He has been on stage for more than half a century and it seems that he has some reservations about rewarding his career, as if he had already retired. He appreciates the honors but does not live on the rents.

«I continue working, with many illusions and plans. It makes me dizzy to look back, but I think about the present and the future». Among other things, he has confirmed three very ambitious projects, two operas and a play. He cannot give more details but the tone of his voice shows enthusiasm. Gone are the bitterness and setbacks that led him to leave the direction of the Teatre Lliure in 2018 after the accusation of mistreatment of the actress Andrea Ros, allegedly suffered during a rehearsal. The campaign orchestrated on social networks asking for his head acquired tsunami dimensions, despite the support of more than 300 colleagues, including Núria Espert (who had been precisely in the controversial essay), Juan Echanove, Carmen Machi and Antonio Banderas. The controversy gave him headaches and he would have suffered more if he were not homosexual, because at the time TV3 came to equate him with Harvey Weinstein. At this point, none of that keeps him awake at night: "I don't have time to be spiteful."

He is not obsessed with thinking that it would have been better for him to have stayed in France or Italy, where he was director of the Odeon Theater in Paris and artistic director of the Venice Biennale. "Beans are cooked everywhere," he admits, using the popular proverb. After his time as head of Antonio Banderas' Soho theater, located in Malaga, he is currently enjoying a period of great serenity and life is not complicated: «Let's go light. That is my vital attitude, that of the children of the sea that Machado said. It is something that should be engraved on the bathroom mirror ».

"Don't be so rude"

If now he were to travel back in time and meet the hippie he was, 20 years old and with an anxiety that did not fit in his chest, he would only give himself one piece of advice: "Don't be so insolent, go easy." It is better to relax, without wasting energy, with your eyes on the goal. His passion for theater, opera and zarzuela remains intact, but he avoids dreaming of the impossible. “You have to position yourself. This is a country in which there had to be a pandemic of biblical proportions for the VAT on books to be lowered. The porn version of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' was worth more than the Brothers Grimm tale that I bought for my great-niece! Curious, curious." However, he also acknowledges that he is experiencing "a privileged moment." The tragedy of covid and the long confinement, "overturned on the little screens", have revalued the experience of the show live and direct. «And not only that, the theater has become the only space where people are silent and listen to each other's reasons, in a climate of respect and reflection. That is invaluable. The great theater makes you see the complexity of things. It has always been like this! Think of Antigone and Creon, who take opposite but valid positions in his own way, or Othello, who is a murderer because he kills Desdemona, but also delivers the most beautiful love monologue in Shakespearean literature."

Pasqual is a man used to delving into the motivations of men and women. As a stage director, he plunges headlong into the most recondite and even terrible depths of the human soul. But in life he is very clear: "In the end, the important thing is good people."

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