February 26, 2021

The awareness of the present ★★★★★

Author: J. Sanchis Sinisterra. Director: M. Look. Interpreters: J. Noguero, P. Nieto, K. Garantivá, M. Sánchez, C. Sanchis … María Guerrero Theater, Madrid. Until March 29 ..

I do not think I exaggerate if I say that this work has practically all the best of the best Sanchis Sinisterra we have ever known. Always around with the form and with the point of view to find, perhaps, the most honest and freest way to tell a story, and back, therefore, with himself in the relationship he has to establish with his work, the Playwright can sometimes be excessively neat with his formal disquisitions when it comes to getting the reader / viewer the issues he really wants to address.

But it turns out that in “Wrecks of Álvar Núñez” (written in 1991 and pending release) had already found the perfect balance. At least that can be thought of after seeing the bright, agile and direct direction that Magüi Mira has made of the text. It is true that the author is still here reluctant to give things chewed and persists in defying any conventional structure of the narrative, thus generating a deliberate ambiguity that forces the viewer to recompose the story in an almost personalized way. What happens is that this viewer has many more tools this time, and that makes that reconstruction more pleasant and enriching.

Argumentally, everything emanates from a phantasmagoria without possible logical settlement; and yet, one can understand many things in that unlikely fiction. The conqueror Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca appears on stage as a man of today. It can be an actor, a character or a madman. In any case, it is a tormented being, transited by delirium, by persecutory memory, or by what stalking way of thinking is unknown. The apparent reality of the protagonist in the present and a troubled past as an expeditionary in the New World intersect in space. It seems that not even he knows which of the two planes is the real one. However, in that wild and fascinating course of past and present events, there is a glimpse of the contrast between this comfortable western world today and that one looted overseas centuries ago; and then one begins to infer the solid and deep meaning of the work: guilt and its way of tricking history. A fault that is installed in the continuous current of time overflowing the punctual moment of the Conquest and, based on the specific individuals who starred in it, extends to the entire First World society that owes its privileges to it today.

Abstraction is brutal, but at the same time it is intelligible. And it is, to a large extent, because the staging captivates from beginning to end, both for the beauty and clarity that the scenes treasure in their own plastic composition and for the precise rhythm with which they combine and follow each other – only towards the end slows the action more than is due. Obviously, in that power of fascination that the proposal exercises, the whole artistic team has a lot to do with it: they cannot be more convenient and revealing, for example, the scenic movement, the light and the scenery. Now, a large-scale production required, in addition, the fantastic and luxurious cast it has. And I say “cast” and not “cast” because rarely a roster of actors so well chosen can be seen according to the characters they have to play.

The surprising final twist, which reminds us of a well-known Cortázar story

It is unnecessary, and somewhat tricky, to make the indigenous an immaculate model of goodness


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