For Salvador Sunyer, director of High Season, there are two types of festivals, “those that welcome new artists each year and those that follow developments.” The Girona festival is second, simply because they believe that “the public, with the specific knowledge of an artist, does not have enough” and the best thing is to grow with it because each time “you reach larger circles of spectators.” It is the fine rain tactic, which Sunyer details with an example. In 2005, the English company Propeller Theater was one day at the Teatre Salt with Conte d’hivern. Eight years later, in 2013, they repeated the festival for the sixth time, with Somni d’una nit d’estiu, and filled the Teatre Municipal de Girona for five days “and people were left out”. Incredible.
There are a dozen international artists and companies, the classics of Temporada Alta. Apart from those who are coming this year, we could add Alain Platel, Thomas Ostermeier, Guy Cassiers, Javier Daulte and Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol. For an artist to return, Sunyer sets several conditions. The first, especially that it contributes different things to what is done in our country. And, later, that he do “other shows that show a progression.” And we are not only talking about people from abroad, but the classic concept of Temporada Alta could also be applied to the local scene, since there are many directors and companies that return with each new show, from Àlex Rigola to La Veronal, from El Conde de Torrefiel to Lali Ayguadé.
For an artist to return to Temporada Alta they must contribute ‘different things’, and their shows must show progression
The relationship of the Girona festival with some foreign artists also exceeds that of a simple exhibitor. Often they are mixed. In recent years, we have seen how Daulte, Oskaras Koršunovas, Krystian Lupa or Cassiers directed shows with Catalan actors and actresses which, incidentally, has allowed them the wonderful rebound effect. This summer, for example, the Oncle Vània de Koršunovas visited Lithuania, as well as La neta del senyor Linh, a monologue by Lluís Homar conducted by Cassiers, passed through Antwerp, and the Davant la jubilació de Lupa was in different places in Europe.
This year, some of the most anticipated classics return to the festival, mixing with aspiring classics. Only time will tell if the Argentines Piel de Lava and Marina Otero repeat.
5 CONTEMPORARY CLASSICS:
The Lithuanian Oskaras Koršunovas must be the European artist –with the permission of Peter Brook– who has stepped on the stages of the Temporada Alta festival in Girona the most times. Since he arrived in 2011, with a version of The Tempest, he has gone every year, with the exception of 2020, for obvious pandemic reasons. He has performed Shakespeare, Chekhov, Gorky, Sarah Kane, Brecht, Beckett, Dmitry Danilov, and Gogol. But the Bard of Stratford is his weakness: he has directed seven.
‘After the silence’, by the Brazilian Christiane Jatahy
After the silence
Since she debuted in Temporada Alta in 2013 with Júlia, in what was also her first time in Spain, the Brazilian director has not ceased to amaze us thanks to her original and virtuous way of mixing theater and cinema. And for how to bring the classics to her land, hers, her Rio de Janeiro. That carioca version of Strindberg’s Senorita Julia resized the piece in a brilliant way, taking it to an even more appropriate context than the original. Then came an equally astonishing The Three Sisters. And recently, Christiane Jatahy, already a world star, who is, for example, artist-in-residence at the Odéon in Paris, has focused on violence in what she calls the Horror Trilogy. ‘Ritter, Dene, Voss’, by the Polish Krystian Lupa, to be seen in Barcelona
Ritter, Dene, Voss
In the twenty-five years since the Polish Krystian Lupa premiered Ritter, Dene, Voss at the Stary Theater in Krakow, this 2022 will be the third time that it has gone through Temporada Alta. The first was in 2006 and we can say that it is surely one of the five best productions I have seen in my life. The Girona festival wants to give, this time, the opportunity to enjoy it to the people of Barcelona, who are not even 5% of the festival’s massive audience. And that’s why it will go through the Teatre Romea. And it is that Lupa is a living classic, which has offered us magnificent theatrical moments and which those who have worked with him will remember forever.‘Charity’, by Angelica Liddell
When in 2014 Angélica Liddell announced that she was not planning to set foot in a Spanish theater again due to the contempt she suffered from the theater institutions on this side of the Pyrenees, only one state festival was saved from burning. That same year she would take Tandy to Temporada Alta, although it would take her four years, until 2018, to return with Genesis 6, 6-7. Liddell, however, is surely the most heartbreaking European theater artist of our time.‘The Years’, by Argentine director Mariano Pensotti
The director and playwright is a kind of UFO of contemporary Argentine theater. He arrived at our house at the same time as his colleagues Daniel Veronese, Javier Daulte and Claudio Tolcachir, who came with the text ahead of them, and some interpreters who acted in a way that was as strange as it was hypnotic. Mariano Pensotti too, but in a more European way, let’s say, without the stage stripping typical of productions that travel north from Buenos Aires.