Sira Quiroga, between sewing and singing

After having been best sellers, having been translated into 25 languages, having had a sequel and having filmed a series, El tiempo entre costuras, the first novel by María Dueñas, has become a musical.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
22 May 2023 Monday 23:01
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Sira Quiroga, between sewing and singing

After having been best sellers, having been translated into 25 languages, having had a sequel and having filmed a series, El tiempo entre costuras, the first novel by María Dueñas, has become a musical. At l'Escola d'Art i Superior de Disseny Llotja, in Barcelona, ​​the production that will be on display at the Apolo theater for six weeks from September 28 has been presented.

“It never crossed my mind that the novel could have a new life transformed into a musical”, María Dueñas herself began at the presentation press conference. The writer has been accompanied by Darío Regattieri, from the production company Beon; the musical composer Ivan Macías and Enrique Salaberria, from the Smedia group, which manages the Apolo theater. The actors Alba Cuartero and Jan Forrellat have also been there, who give life to the two protagonists Sira and Marcus, and at the end they have interpreted two songs from the musical.

Dueñas remembers that he received the proposal in the midst of a pandemic. “I met at the Atocha station, in Madrid, with Ivan Macías, who taught me several songs that he had already composed and the planning of the scenery. At that time I didn't say anything, but we both knew that I was going to accept”, comments the writer.

“My biggest concern was that the soul of the novel was respected,” he adds. Then you can take some license, as was done with the series, tightening the screws on drama, emotion or intrigue, but without losing sight of the plot and tone of the original story. And the result has been completely satisfactory: "I have seen the essence of the novel set to music", he assures.

The musical El tiempo entre costuras is a play of almost two and a half hours with 22 musical numbers, 30 actors on stage and seven live musicians, which has already been performed successfully in Madrid, Seville, Valencia and Zaragoza. Both the writer herself and the producer and composer agree that her favorite musical number is the song sung by Candelaria, the owner of the pension, which is a tanguillo from Cádiz.

But perhaps one of the most spectacular aspects of the musical is the costumes, taking into account that the protagonist of the story is Sira Quiroga, a neighborhood dressmaker who comes to dress the wealthiest classes. In the play there are a total of 295 costume changes, with their corresponding accessories such as shoes, jewelry or wigs. The designer in charge is Marietta Calderón, with the exception of the 22 models worn by the protagonist, which have been created expressly for this work by Lorenzo Caprile.

“We have tried to ensure that most of the dresses, fabrics or accessories were from the period”, comments the Swiss producer Darío Regattieri. And María Dueñas points out: “The wardrobe managers searched among suppliers from all over Europe, the Nazi jackets or the military caps are authentic and it shows. It has a different packaging.” And this was recognized in the last Talía awards for the performing arts where Caprile and Calderón were awarded for the costumes of El tiempo entre costuras. Yesterday at the presentation, four costumes from the work were exhibited. Two are worn by Sira, and therefore they are from Caprile: one at night, draped in green, and the other in a cinnamon-colored shirt, which corresponds to his beginnings as a dressmaker.

The story of El tiempo entre costuras takes place in the years before the Spanish Civil War until the end of World War II and tells the story of a young dressmaker from Madrid who, after a sentimental betrayal, is forced to start a new life in the north of Morocco and then in Lisbon and Madrid. The novel was published in 2009 and 4 years later the series premiered with Adriana Ugarte, Peter Vives and Rubén Cortada, among others.

In the musical, the two leading roles will be played by Alba Cuartero and Jan Forrellat. The two have a great experience in musicals. Forrellat has worked on El médico, Les miserables and West side story, among others: “This year I celebrate my 10th year working on musicals –explains Forrellat–, and there is no better way to celebrate it than a title of such magnitude and read by millions of people. Although it is also a responsibility. And for Cuartero (El médico or La historia interminable) "it is a pride to interpret a feminist story of a fighting, strong and self-made woman."

After the Apolo theater in Barcelona, ​​the play will travel to Malaga, Cádiz, Bilbao and Córdoba and they hope that it can then be performed abroad. “We are used to adapting musical works from abroad. It is not common for them to be ours and also with the intention of exporting them like this one”, explains María Dueñas.

The writer is working on the adaptation of Sira (the continuation of her first novel) for a series, as well as working on a new novel. Today she is traveling to Paris because the Spanish course at the Lycée Français will include reading El tiempo entre costuras.