The spirit of Jaume I appears at the Goya to advise a historical series

They say that when Helena Bonham Carter had to film the series The Crown, she couldn't quite find the character of Princess Margaret.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 November 2023 Wednesday 21:30
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The spirit of Jaume I appears at the Goya to advise a historical series

They say that when Helena Bonham Carter had to film the series The Crown, she couldn't quite find the character of Princess Margaret. So she hired a medium to talk to the late sister of Queen Elizabeth of England to give her advice about her character.

The one who remembers the anecdote is Ramon Madaula, the actor and playwright who premieres Conqueridors today at the Goya theater in Barcelona and who confesses that he was stunned, “because the actress paid a good fortune to hire that medium,” but above all because the argument of his new piece, which he had already written, reflected a similar fact.

Conqueridors shows what happens behind the scenes during the filming of a historical series starring none other than Jaume I the Conqueridor. Here, the one who does not find the tone of the character is Roger Coma, and that is why the spirit of King En Jaume appears to him between boxes to help him. This real ghost “wears the habit of a Cistercian monk, just as he was buried in the monastery of Poblet,” explains Madaula, who is the one who interprets him. But the ghost of Jaume I goes further. “The king advises what they have to do for the series to work,” reveals the director, Josep Maria Mestres.

“The play is a great production, because we are seven performers and we play fifteen characters. We already know that we cannot go beyond four because, if not, they will not produce it for us, but on this occasion they have told me yes," declares the author, happy with this commitment by Bitò and Focus, who is accompanied, in addition to Coma, Moha Amazian, Xavier Bertran, Tilda Espluga, Mònica Glaenzel and Vanessa Segura.

Before anyone asks him any questions, Madaula insists on the goal of entertaining: “I am not intellectually prepared to tell anyone what they have to think. Our job is to tell people a good story. I have read four books as an amateur, so everything explained is documented. Now, with my works I don't want to make anyone think, I just want to entertain, for people to have a good time." And if we are to believe the team that accompanies him, the public will laugh out loud.

The playwright remembers where the idea for Conqueridors came from: “I have filmed period series and I have always believed that the backstage would give a lot of value. Here I mix the medieval era and the current era”, and that generates curious situations. Madaula goes further and reflects on the weight of history: “I think that historical inheritance marks us more than genetics. We are from where we are from, we are Christians, that has marked us a lot. There are those who talk about the reconquest as a great thing, and I think it is a shame and that it would have been better if the three religions had coexisted. Today Christianity continues to reign in a brutal way.”

Regarding Jaume I, he considers that “he is a multifaceted character, who can be both a psychopath and a statesman, who created institutions such as the Consell de Cent.” But he remembers that it is a comedy. “We find ourselves at the door of the set, preparing to record, and the work progresses in four acts, from the conquest of Borriana to reaching the gates of Valencia.”

Regarding the description of the conquest and relations with the Muslims, Madaula acknowledges: “I have left out how they treated the Saracens so that our ears would not hurt so much. Think that in the chronicles they were treated like animals. That is why in the work we experiment a little, just a little, the limits of humor.”

“Ramon's ability to delirium is applied to the character of Jaume I, to the CEO... Jaume I's is a messianic delirium,” says Coma. And Glaenzel adds: “The filming part has been very well transferred to the work, the only difference is that on a shoot you get very bored and here everything is hectic. You find all the fauna there is on a shoot.” Conqueridors will have a season at the Goya theater for 11 weeks and will tour next year.