Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Theatre....Boris Godunov

I’m going to raise the cultural level of the blog a bit, but only temporarily so don't get alarmed. Last week I went to the theatre in Madrid to see the version of Boris Gudonov performed by the Catalan group La Fura dels Baus. This was not your standard play, the performance was interrupted after a few minutes by loud bangs and the sudden emergence of a heavily armed group into the theatre. It all formed part of the performance as this version of Boris Gudonov is based loosely around the tragic Moscow theatre siege that took place in 2002.

Obviously the reaction of the audience to events is very different when you know that it is all part of the act, but even so it is still a bit unnerving to have masked actors patrolling the theatre with their (fake) machine guns. The rest of the evening consists of a mixture of snippets from Boris Gudonov itself interspersed with the drama of the audience being the hostages as the group responsible seeks to get concessions from the government. We even see filmed sequences of the crisis committee presided over by the president of the fictional nation at the heart of the tale. Some of the actors also play the part of hostages which is what at least prevents any random members of the real audience being dragged onto the stage for mock execution.

The occasional presence of a “neutral” mediator permits exploration of the issues of the extent to which oppression of a nation by another might permit violent reprisals against the citizens of the oppressor nation. Meanwhile, the members of the government´s crisis committee discuss the maximum number of dead hostages which might be politically acceptable. All of this is done without reference to a particular country or conflict. It’s an effective piece of theatre which I believe has already been performed in some other places in Spain. In Madrid it is due to end shortly after the middle of October, so book quickly if you want to see it. Malaga and La Coruña will get the chance to see it in January 2009.

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