Trans-Iberian

Trans-Iberian

Covering everything from the major news of the week and burning social issues, to expat living and la vida local, EL PAÍS’ team of English-language bloggers offers its opinions, observations and analysis on Spain and beyond.

Theatre in Barcelona: A Game of Mirrors (Joc de Miralls)

Por: | 06 de marzo de 2015

Joc de Miralls. Ros RibasCircle Mirror Transformation (Joc de Miralls), by the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Annie Baker, is a sweet, funny and quietly tragic little play that shines light on the lives of five individuals who take part in a theatre workshop for beginners in a local civic centre. The title refers to one of a series of quirky group exercises that make up the play's mini-scenes. We join these exercises mid-way and leave before they end, so bit-by-bit we are asked to piece together the lives of each of the protagonists.
Directed by Juan Carlos Martel Bayod, Joc de Miralls is a fantastic version of the play, staged at Espai Lliure in Barcelona until 22nd March. The play is in Catalan but because it's contemporary language and relies much on silence and gesture, it's easy to understand. The American setting is transferred to a local one and the names slightly altered, this maintains its atmosphere of authenticity while establishing intimacy between the characters and the audience.
Each of the five has something to give and something to hide: the over exuberant Teresa (Aina Clotet) conceals her insecurity, and seeks support in doomed relationships with older men. Mopey yet intuitive high-school student Laura (Elena Tarrats) is haunted by the troubled relationship of her parents. Middle-aged carpenter Xus (Eduard Farelo) finds solace in the furniture he makes, and looks to others to bring meaning to his life. Their indefatigable instructress Martina (Isabel Rocatti) determinedly ploughs on through some rather misfired exercises, while her ‘ideal’ marriage to Jaume (Jordi Martínez) falls apart at the seams.
As Annie Baker said in an interview: “The way human beings speak is so heartbreaking to me—we never sound the way we want to sound. We're always stopping ourselves in mid–sentence because we're so terrified of saying the wrong thing. Speaking is a kind of misery.” (Huffington Post)
This is a play of such 'natural' stilted, self-edited conversations, awkward silences and impulsive gestures. There is both the strange intimacy that springs up between strangers, and the estrangement that can divide those in long-term relationships. Yet moments of joy, unexpected connections, and the sort of discoveries we make about ourselves only through contact with others, also occur as the play evolves, like life does, in little fits and starts. Without epic narratives or climatic moments of revelation, this is a theatre as close to life as life often is to theatre.

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Joc de Miralls by Annie Baker, dir. Juan Carlos Martel Bayod
until March 22nd, 2015
Espai Lliure - Barcelona
Thank you Teatre Lliure and to Ros Ribas for the photos

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Authors (Bloggers)

Chris Finnigan is a freelance journalist based in Barcelona. He writes for Barcelona Metropolitan and is a book reviewer and reader for The Barcelona Review. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. You can find him on twitter @chrisjfinnigan

Ben Cardew is a freelance journalist, translator and teacher, now resident in Barcelona after growing up gracefully in Scotland via Norwich. He writes for The Guardian, the NME and The Quietus, among others, on everything from music to digital media. You can find him on Twitter @bencardew

Fiona Flores Watson is a freelance journalist, guide and translator who has lived in Seville since 2003, and has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years. She writes for the Guardian, Telegraph and Sunday Times Travel Magazine. Originally from Essex, Fiona is also Consulting Editor of Andalucia.com and has her own blog, Scribbler in Seville. She has been contributing to Trans-Iberian since 2014 and tweets at @Seville_Writer

Jeff Brodsky is a freelance writer. He arrived in Barcelona in 2013 via an admittedly indirect route, living in Chicago, Arizona, Seville, Amsterdam, North Carolina and Madrid. Despite not having stepped foot in Seville for over five years, he still speaks Spanish with an Andalusian accent. Jeff’s writing has been published in newspapers and magazines in America and Europe.

Koren Helbig is an Australian freelance journalist and blogger enjoying a life of near-eternal sunshine in Alicante. She writes for publications in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, focusing on stories exploring smart and positive approaches to social issues. She hangs out on Twitter at @KorenHelbig and keeps a selection of her favourite stories at korenhelbig.com.

Julie Pybus lives in a small off-grid house on a hillside in Catalunya. She usually focuses on helping charities and social enterprises with their publications and websites, but has also written for The Guardian, Country Living and The Observer. Julie launched and runs a hyperlocal website which endeavors to increase understanding between the different nationalities in her area perelloplus.com. @JuliePybus

Paul Louis Archer is a freelance photographer, multimedia storyteller and artist educator. A cross-disciplinary worker, who endeavors to encompass the mediums of photography, audio design and writing. Born in Hertfordshire of an English father and Spanish mother. Based in the United Kingdom. @PaulLouisArcher

Vicki McLeod is a freelance writer and photographer. She has lived in Mallorca since 2004. Vicki writes about her beloved island for The Majorca Daily Bulletin, the only daily English language paper in Spain; produces regular columns for the Euro Weekly News, and articles for Spain-Holiday.com. Vicki runs PR strategies for several businesses in Mallorca and London as well as working on her own blogs and projects. She and her husband, Oliver Neilson, supply photo and text content for private clients via @phoenixmediamlr. She tweets at @mcleod_vicki.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne and based in Barcelona, Alx Phillips writes about contemporary art, dance and theatre in a way that human beings can understand. For more previews, reviews, interviews and extras, check: www.lookingfordrama.com.

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