The staging of the first public appearance of the new director of the Lliure, Juan Carlos Martel, could not be more eloquent. Martel stood on a stand at the Espai Lliure, the small room of the theater, surrounded by many of the workers of the house, whom he praised repeatedly. It marked in this way differences with his predecessor Lluís Pasqual (who resigned in September after being accused of mistreatment by an actress), who had a lot of contestation inside the theater and made his presentations as a one man show.
The new director presented his artistic project also supported by the president of the Board of the Lliure, Ramon Gomis, and the new assistant to the artistic director, Georgina Oliva. "We have a very big and very nice challenge to refound the Lliure," said Martel, who added that he is not going to do it alone, because "I can not" and asked for the confidence of the governing board, the board and "the house". " Martel's project, which seems obsessed with the social, with updating and modernizing the collective, with avoiding any trait of personalism (the "collective conception of artistic identity" of the Lliure is programmatically pointed out) and with extinguishing the internal and external fires that unleashed Pasqual, raises in the first place a "decalogue of minimums" that "the Lliure should not fail to comply."
The first point of this decalogue is very significantly that the Lliure "will not revolve artistically around the figure of the person who directs it", but "according to the social and cultural needs of the city". The second point is that "resources for production will be redistributed with sustainable criteria of quality, transparency and social inclusion". The third one that will be given support annually to at least one new creator. Emphasis is also placed on the fact that a creator or a creator will not be able to repeat two years in a row in the programming (Martel clarified that this point refers to the stage directors and not to the actors). Each project must have "direct impact and impact on the community" and "synergies must be generated with other institutions and foundations, both cultural, social, national and international."
The Lliure de Martel will have a "programming committee" with the mission of "supervising the artistic direction"
The Lliure de Martel (if you can call it that seen) will have a "programming committee" with the mission of "overseeing the artistic direction, in order to feed the social, knowledge and educational impact of what it is programmed. " This committee will be composed of nine other subcommittees: transparency, parity and equality, dramaturgy, reading texts, education, residencies, international projects and new voices, school of thought (with Marina Garcès), Lliure live (to implement the new digital tools and create a channel Lliure) and Foundation.
The Lliure, according to Martel's project, "should not only be a reflection of society but also an example to follow in favor of a collective, shared, open, diverse, transversal and transparent identity". Among the priority objectives of the new stage are the modification of the statutes of the Foundation that governs the Lliure ensuring, among other things, the rejuvenation and parity to 50% of the board.
Martel, who said he was well aware of the internal and external crisis of the Lliure and his "hangover", announced that he will meet this week with the works council, the black beast Pasqual, to close "an immediate agreement." The welfare of the workers is a priority of the new director and in that sense more work conciliation will be sought and to avoid overloads and stress the number of shows in the Lliure will be reduced and its exhibition will be lengthened, so that there is no need to do so many changes.
New areas of marketing and acquisition of own resources will be created in order to achieve in the next four years (the duration of Martel's contract) increase the own resources from the current 1.7 million euros to 3 million (the Lliure it can not work with less than 10 million budget, calculated). In economic terms, "criteria of effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability" will be applied to increase financing and "to rationalize spending". Martel warned that the Lliure "will not be sold", but "we must look for money, we can not depend eternally on public administrations".
Regarding his own presence in the programming, Martel stressed that he also submits to the fact that it is not possible to repeat the show direction two years in a row. He has a prior commitment to a co-production with the Grec this summer and will make another direction throughout his stage. "It's not my goal to get here and start directing in the Fabià Puigserver room (the big one). This is not going to revolve around the figure of the director. I'm not here to do a national or international career. I am here to communicate a series of concerns from society and the city. "He reflected that the culture of Barcelona has" more colors than we are making known, many colors, religions and sexes ".
The new director explained the results of the expected psychosocial risk study commissioned by the theater as a result of the Pasqual affair. Surprisingly, it has gone very well.
Although Martel was assistant director of Pasqual and worked with him in the Lliure seems clear will to break with the previous director's stage. Immediately, her two transitory successors will leave the Lliure, the acting artistic director Aurora Rosales (in fact, paradoxically, the first woman who has directed the Lliure) and the manager, Clara Rodríguez. A public announcement will be made to cover the management position.
The Pasqual theme, which was in the air, was slow to come out (Martel, perhaps to mark distances of entry, did not make the necessary thanks to the previous address or loó the merits and artistic successes of the past seasons, as, noblesse oblige, it is usually done).
The new director explained the results of the expected psychosocial risk study commissioned by the theater as a result of the Pasqual affair and which is already available and will be posted soon on the theater's website. Surprisingly, it has gone very well. Of the 66 workers have answered 63 (95.4%) and are satisfied or very satisfied with their work 79.6%. Only 8.17% manifest symptoms of being able to develop emotional fatigue. In total there are 6 people who would be at risk of stress, which of course does not make the Lliure Fort Apache. The report did not specifically ask for Pasqual as an element of stress.
In view of the nonsense that seems to be the one that Lluís Pasqual has left the Lliure and has precipitated such a crisis and then the psychosocial report say what he says, Ramon Gomis, who announced that he will leave the presidency of the board, considered necessary to intervene. He recalled that the "external" factor of the crisis were the manifestations of the actress Andrea Ros "annoyed by the attitude of the director". "It has been a very debated issue and I think that at some point it will be clarified," said Gomis. "We are not the ones who can clarify it." He revealed that the works council was upset but that he did not object to Pasqual continuing for two more years while the transition was being made in the Lliure towards a change. "There was no serious detail to take action and that is why we supported Pasqual, but then he submitted his resignation." Martel and Gomis agreed that it is a chapter that must be closed.
On his relationship with Pasqual, Martel was very sparing. He said that by winning the contest for the direction, he received a whatsapp from him that read: "For whatever you want." He stressed that Pasqual has the door open ("in this theater no one will ever be vetoed) and wished him" the best luck "in Malaga, where (it was announced on Tuesday) he will direct the theater that Antonio Banderas has launched. Asked if he feels like Pasqual's son, he answered bluntly: "I am the son of my mother and my father." He recalled that he has worked as an assistant director with many other directors, including Carme Portaceli, Toni Casares and Àngel Llàcer and that his first contract was as a waiter at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya (TNC). He said that he has been Pasqual's assistant like this one was Strehler and the Italian was in turn a friend of Brecht, to then become Shakespearean and affirm that he believes "in the transmission of fire and not in the veneration of the ashes".
Asked what he thinks happened with Pasqual, Martel said he was not there. "I have worked with Pasqual and with Andrea Ros," he said. When he was asked what it was like to work with Pasqual, he replied: "A moments". And he added "Como con Andrea". "I will not value the personalities of either of the two."
He did, intervening again – and also in a Shakespearean way (see Julius Caesar) -, Gomis, who remembered that he is "more than a friend" of Pasqual since he was a child. "He is a great creator and theater man but in some moments the emotionality leads him to have gestures that were previously acceptable and now they are not, because society has changed." It is something, he reflected, "like that of Picasso, who did things that are no longer accepted." For the president of the board, "the creator, like the surgeon" (Gomis is a doctor), "feels close to the divinity and is not permeable to the social changes that occur. We were sorry to resign. That did not have the gravity that asked for his resignation. If I had had it, we would have stopped it, even if it was a friend or maybe even more so. " Gomis thought that perhaps he himself should have resigned with Pasqual.
In another order of things and n reality without leaving the same, Martel said they are studying the contractual situation of the show they have scheduled this season Jan Fabre, artist accused of harassment, obviously to see if they can cancel it.
Two hours of appearance and had not yet talked about politics, something unusual in these lands. Martel sighed when he told her. "We did it". With what is falling, what has happened with Pasqual, who insinuated that his lack of enthusiasm for you procés had to do with the crisis and with the trial of the independence leaders around the corner, does the new director propose to get involved more? "The two banners are still hanging out there" (they pray only "Libertad" and "Democracia" and they are white). "We do theater and not politics here. All opinions fit. We must be very permeable to what society thinks ".