Àlex Rigola maintains that for 23-F to be exciting it is not necessary to invent conspiracies | Culture

An image of the montage by Àlex Rigola on 23-F.
An image of the montage by Àlex Rigola on 23-F.

A map of Madrid on which the Congress of Deputies is clearly marked targets, and on which a pistol is placed. Some hands move toy jeeps reproducing the movements of the coup plotters on 23-F. “Good afternoon”, explains the actor Pep Cruz in front of the big screen that dominates the stage and in which Suárez appears with a poker face, specifically with the expression of holding the dead man’s hand. “Nothing is going to happen, but we are going to wait a moment for the competent authority to come to order what has to be and what he himself says to all of us, so be calm …”.

The stage version of Anatomy of an instant, by Javier Cercas (Mondadori, 2009), which Àlex Rigola, who signs the adaptation and direction, premieres on Thursday at the Teatre Lliure de Gràcia, in Barcelona (until May 2), is sober and essential. It lasts 90 minutes and tries to be very faithful to the book, according to its director, who has discarded a good part of the usual dramatic resources in his theater for the sake of that fidelity. “The most important thing is the word of Cercas,” he says of a show that has aroused expectation and that comes when the 40th anniversary of the coup has just passed. It is not clear that for the occasion the Lliure will change the usual ritual of the bells with melody and the turn off their mobiles for the indispensable “they feel like pussy!”

Rigola, in tune with the writer, who has collaborated on the version, granted the director and the actors total freedom and finally gave the go-ahead to the dramatization of his book, maintains that to make 23-F exciting it is not necessary to invent anything . “With what we have, with reality, there is more than enough,” he says. “What happened is so interesting that you don’t have to look for black hands.” 23 F Anatomy of a Moment —The show is performed at the Lliure in Catalan, with the iconic phrases (ie “Quiet, everyone!”) In Spanish, and it will be offered in its entirety in Spanish at the Teatro de la Abadía in Madrid next year. of theater document on the coup in the form of a four-voice chronicle, as of minstrels: in addition to Cruz, the oldest (Girona, 73 years old) and the only one with his own memories of 23-F, Xavi Sáez, who had 5 years in 1981, and Roser Vilajosana and Enric Auquer, who had not yet been born when Tejero entered the Congress brandishing his pistol to mess it up. Together they offer a story made up of “small narratives”, which “reproduces conversations” and which “touches on different genres: the war, the thriller, the historical-political, the spy novel, the story of friendship and betrayal …”.

“An unusual exercise in democratic pedagogy,” says Juan Carlos Martel, director of the Lliure, who recalls that Rigola arrives at 23-F after doing Chekhov, which is already a jump. “I decided to ride Anatomy of an instant In the first place, because Cercas is behind him ”, Rigola emphasizes,“ if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t even have thought of it. It has a way of approaching the story that humanizes the characters, makes them very polyhedral, and makes us identify with the things that happen ”. Like the book, the show addresses the coup and the before and after. Àlex Rigola highlights the portrait of “a very special transformation from dictatorship to democracy” that was the Spanish transition. He finds it fascinating “how the Francoist structure gave way to a democratic system in a few months.” And he considers it “a pity” that despite this initial change so fast, then, in his opinion, “democracy has advanced so little in so many years.”

The three who did not hide

Rigola, following Cercas, focuses on Adolfo Suárez, General Gutiérrez Mellado and Santiago Carrillo. Three characters who are the only politicians who do not crouch in their seats when the gunshots sound at that decisive moment, “those who decide not to hide.” They are opposed from the other side by Armada, Milans and Tejero, the three protagonists of the coup. “Cercas, using the concept coined by Enzensberger, tells us about a new type of hero of the 20th century, not the usual conquering hero of triumph but the modern hero of withdrawal, resignation and dismantling, a hero who is no longer there. , the one who knows how to leave, abandon for the common good, almost self-immolate. He seeks success and suddenly, by chance, he has to make decisive decisions for the country, and the birth of democracy ends with him ”. Suárez, Gutiérrez Mellado and Carrillo, unexpectedly become “a representation of what democracy is”, and that the three have been in their lives, says the director, “not very democratic”: the first, “a Falangist upstart”; the second, a Franco general, and the third, a communist leader.

Image of the show '23 F, Anatomia d'un instant '.
Image of the show ’23 F, Anatomia d’un instant ‘.

Pep Cruz affirms that preparing for the show he has discovered “many things about what was behind the scenes” and says he is “terrified” that this democracy saved on 23-F “is entering an agony.” It considers that it has been “killing illusions and hopes” and “the level of inefficiency that has been reached cannot be improved”. The actor believes that it is necessary to “re-boost our democratic system.” Rigola is aware of how delicate the point of view adopted on the King on 23-F is today, but follows Cercas in the strict consideration of whatever his current sins are and the things that that one could not have done well. night, “stopped hitting it” and “there is nothing behind”. For the director, “easy speculations are not facts, and the reality is that there are some facts and with them there is already enough material, it is not necessary to invent conspiracies”.

“We do not want to defend a position,” says Rigola, “but explaining the facts leads you to position yourself.” In any case, he emphasizes, “what I like, more than the political part of 23-F, is the human complexity, the discovery of the human soul.”

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