The pandemic was a forced stop in everyone's life, but before that the theater director Glòria Balañà already had to do another one, individually, due to an illness. This led her to ruminate on the pause, on the moment when everything is interrupted and everything starts again from another point, and from this two montages emerged: the monologue Everything that will happen from now on, which was a success at the Free Theater in April; and The Bones of Montaigne, which premieres this Wednesday at Fundació Brossa - Center de les Arts Lliures.
Starting from the same premise, Balañà has arrived at two pieces with very different invoices. In the first, it had the dramaturgy of Joan Yago, and now it is Sadurní Vergés who signs this production that premiered at the Grec. La Vanguardia attended a rehearsal.
"Montaigne's remains were found in 2019 in a basement in Bordeaux, and this is what makes him introduce this idea of a break - explains Balañà-. Everything stops and, at the beginning of the work, the audience enters through the old building of La Seca, which coincidentally also dates from the 16th century, where archaeologists are excavating Montaigne's remains. One of the actresses hangs a painting, which is Millet's Angel, which also has this sense of pause, of stopping to pray, and they move from the 21st century to the 16th century, in the theater itself, where the assembly inside a castle, because Montaigne confined himself there for ten years to write his Essays".
Balañà explains that the bells of the angels are what accompany this passage of centuries and that, then, the audience sits in the seats and puts on headphones to hear the philosophical and poetic texts they have chosen to illustrate this pause. "They are texts by Pascal, Plató, Žižek, Sontag, Cage..., which make us travel through time".
For the production, Balañà has chosen two dancers and an actress: they are the company UnaiUna, formed by Laura Lliteras and Marina Fullana, and Daniela Brown. "The project to explore pause, silence, rupture, individual or universal, began with the idea of bringing philosophical texts to the stage, and I started doing it with Anna Maria Ricart, who was unable to continue. I continued on my own and finally the playwright Sadurní Vergés was added."
"An article by Franco Bifo Berardi made me understand that this could be very theatrical - continues Balañà -. And we incorporated chess, which also symbolizes the pause to think, which refers to death and which was the game of the court and the intellectuals. There is a beautiful painting from the period, The Chess Game, by the Italian painter Sofonisba Anguissola, in which two women play chess and a sister and a maid watch the game, and it served as my gateway to entry to explore the action”.
Balañà has also had the voice of, among others, Alex Brendemühl for the texts that the audience hears and that are said in several languages. "I admit that it is a show that is a bit demanding for the viewer, but it is a proposal that enters through the senses. The aim is for the public to take a sensory journey and take away beautiful reflections related to death, love, illness, the value of silence...", he concludes.