Every time that I see Happy days (Happy Days, 1962) I leave the theater elevated. Despite the burning scree, despite the identical days that occur between the bell drilling at dawn and another closing the day, that sound makes me see an actress whom they call the scene: another new function. "Another divine day!" Says optimist Winnie. An inclement sun that sets umbrellas on fire: Beckett ask for "extreme solar clarity." Set design by Elisa Sanz, light by Carlos Marqueríe. Direct, getting better, Pablo Messiez. From the desert, rocky terrain, Winnie sprouts "like a nipple coming out of a chest," Beckett asked, Rosa Novell told me, who played the lady buried first to the waist, then to the neck. Strange metaphors, but always earthly. The Winnie of these nights in the Valle-Inclán is the great Fernanda Orazi. It seems very sunny but there are two: Winnie and Willie. Every time I see them I think of the moving photo of Madeleine Renaud and Jean Louis Barrault, both very old, sipping a little sun on a bench in the Luxembourg gardens, leaning on each other, just like bookends. I keep seeing moving images in this couple that seems motionless. Everything moves. The translation is from Antonia Rodríguez Gago. I recommend the bilingual edition of the Chair.
On the other side of the hill of pedruscos doze or read a newspaper (when we see him) Francisco Carril, who plays Willie with a mustache of retired hussar. He barely speaks, quite the opposite of his partner, who chatter without stopping, of himself, of what he remembers, of what he has to do: of the concrete. Messiez quotes a meridian phrase from Beckett: "I want to bring poetry to drama, a poetry that has crossed the void and is reborn in a specific space." When I read Happy Days there were many things that I did not understand, but I was quite clear that it was a work about old age, like The Lear King, but here Orazi turns Winnie into a mixture of queen and jester, queen because it overflows strength and endurance, and jester because she has a hard time laughing and making people laugh. Resistance: I will always be amazed at the strength of this phrase: "A day will come when I will have to learn to speak alone." Winnie is the embodiment of life. He is excited that there is hardly any pain in his body. Giulia Lazzarini, another great Winnie, said that Strehler He gave two directions. One: that the lady does not commit suicide by having a gun at hand because no one has committed suicide in a work by Beckett. The second was a quote from Camus: "We have to imagine Sisyphus happy!" And now that jaculatory returns in Strehler's address book that Pasqual remembered: "Fuga dall’autocoscienza della tragedia!"
And when I was already a certain age to understand Happy days, I thought Winnie could be a blood sister of Molly Bloom. Messiez's address makes me see an iron score that has to sound light and mutable, as if doing the same things every day, Winnie de Orazi can live different days. Vicky Peña told me when he interpreted it: "At first you go crazy with the dimensions, but then you discover that they help you fix the text." Similarly, that woman who seems to do the same is different, and that is why Winnie requires powerful actresses. The Lazzarini, the Renaud parade with the eighty compliments, Nastasha Parry (in Sitges, all fainting from heat except her) and Carme Sansa, and of course the luminous Rosa Novell, and Emma Vilarasau, the happiest Winnie in my memory . I never saw Billie Whitelaw, and I'm sorry. Did Anna Lizarán play Winnie? I think not, pity. It would have been a gift.
I see Fernanda Orazi and I think of a desert bird, always with her partner. She is a skinny bird, long wings, very lively eyes. I think of a cross between Gelsomina and the Duras. Between the morning bell and the night bell, Orazi is clown and furious, desperate and young, and with every year. I forgot that the future is getting smaller, that Winnie also screams in fear, or madness like a hallucinated beggar, but she can still sing. In the end he sings with the stony water around his neck, with his face overflowing with the sun, and I also see them, because I can't see Winnie without Willie, Orazi without Carril as a mother without a son, eternal, rocked by a nocturnal melody, dancing without Move around, like Onetti and Idea Vilariño, playing very old, far away and very close together, at dawn, in a deserted bar in Santa María. His combat anthem, Orazi tells me, is the waltz of The cheerful widow. Maybe the dance of when they met.
Happy days. Text: Samuel Beckett. Direction: Pablo Messiez. Valle-Inclán Theater. Madrid. Until April 5th.