Carrer Robadors And Harshness Of Immigration Open The Most Plural Grec
A year after maintaining its firm and risky commitment to culture, when festivals throughout Europe closed their doors because of the covid, the Grec festival has returned to Barcelona this Sunday with a strong defense in favor of multiculturalism and freedom .
The theatrical world is once again showing muscle after months of reduced capacity and limited proposals, in the same way that the musical world has been coming out of lethargy by programming cycles of different formats for this summer.
Julio Manrique has officially opened the Barcelona summer festival this Sunday with ‘Carrer Robadors’, a reality show based on the recent history of Europe and Africa.
Tourist Barcelona and that of the underworld, the idealized Morocco with echoes of The Thousand and One Nights of foreign visitors and the miserable social reality of that country coexist in ‘Carrer Robadors’, inspired by the homonymous novel by Mathias Enard , writer of Maghreb origin residing in Barcelona finalist for the Goncourt award 2012 with this title and winner of the award in 2015 with ‘Boussole’ (Actes Sud).
70% capacity and masks
The most plural and normalized Grec , with a 70% capacity despite the masks that must continue to be worn on an outdoor stage, kicked off this Sunday at the Montjuïc amphitheater, ready to shake up the cultural pulse of the city after a strange year so full of doubts and challenges .
In this case, El Grec opened with a powerful montage that adapts Enard’s novel of the same name written in real time, between 2010 and 2012. In it, the Arab Spring, the attacks of Islamic extremism and the social awareness of the 15th are mixed. M in Barcelona with the adventures of a young man from Tangier who seeks his place in the world and who ends up in Barcelona for love, captivated by a Catalan student of classical Arabic.
‘Carrer Robadors’, the great migratory journey of Julio Manrique
A whole declaration of intent by the Grec, as well as the choice of a solid cast made up of actors of Moroccan and Catalan origin , with veterans such as Carles Martínez, Mohamed El Bouhali and Abdelatif Hwidar, and young people such as Guillem Balart, Moha Amazian, Anna Castells, Elisabet Casanovas and Ayoub El Hilali.
This is a bold proposition for a time when many aspire to change things after the pandemic. Who would have told Ada Colau that, 10 years after feeling challenged by the indignant movement, she would preside over this inauguration of the Grec as mayor of Barcelona? The audience applauded a montage that integrates both native actors and interpreters who are a reflection of today’s Catalonia , a melting pot of descendants of other nationalities.
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The intense and changing story of ‘Carrer Robadors’ stars a credible Guillem Balart in a difficult interpretive challenge that narrates the tortuous journey of Lakhdar, the protagonist, since he leaves his humble home to venture into a troubled world marked by the economic crisis and religion used as a weapon to control minds rather than free them. The only downside, the more than two hours of assembly time.
The work criticizes both the misery in North Africa and that supposed arcade of the first world whose young people fight against precariousness and uncertainty in an increasingly weak welfare society that cuts in health and education. Two decades after the taking of the squares and streets in Europe and the Arab world, what is left? What has changed? The most political inauguration of the Grec in years gives much to think about.
Alejandro Andújar’s scenography plays with few elements but enough to take the viewer to interior and exterior places as disparate as the protagonist’s home, a Tangier bar, a ferry, a funeral home, the Barcelona metro or Robadors street itself. where prostitutes, thieves and junkies coexist.
Francesc Isern’s fine-tuned work on video projections ‘6q’ , which sometimes invade the entire stage box, surprises us in this literary adaptation, Manrique’s second after Mark Haddon’s El curiós incident d’un gos a mitjanit.
Beyond Balart’s tour de force as the protagonist, the cast’s chameleonic capacity to adapt to the multiple changes of characters is surprising, with brilliant transitions between scenes such as that rapid change where you go from a bar in Algeciras and a morgue. Balart’s work is impressive, but also that of Casanovas and the rest of the interpreters, especially Amazian and Castells.
The critical reflections of the petty thief who plays El Hilali made everyone laugh as much as the character of Señor Cruz, the disturbing owner of the funeral home played by Martínez, made his blood run cold. A montage in tune with the challenges of today’s society for a Grec that connects Africa and Europe.