Nuria Espert is delighted to return to Romea where two years ago she triumphed with the ‘Gypsy Ballads’ by Lorca. The legendary actress returns to the stage at the age of 87 with ‘The Island of Air’adaptation of the novel by Alejandro Palomas Directed by Mario Gas, a story as beautiful as it is dark starring great actresses from three different generations who give life to five women from the same family.
Espert embodies the matriarch Mencía, a character full of layers and the first signs of senile dementia, leading the journey of this female saga marked by the loss of one of her granddaughters, Elena, an absent but very present character. vicky pena assumes the role of Lía, one of his daughters and Teresa Vallicrosa embodies Flavia, her sister. the young Miranda Gasin the role of Bea and candela serrat, that of Inés, both daughters of Lía and little sisters of Elena. The performances of this production, a production by Focus and the Teatre Romea, begin this Saturday 25.
Mario Gas considers that the work is “a theatrical symphonic poem full of pain and hope”. The dramatic version has been created by the author of the novel, who has given Gas carte blanche to take it to the stage. Secrets, silences, imagination and reality, humor and tragedy are mixed in this ‘The Island of Air’.
History, charged with humanity, takes place in Menorca. There, five women, guided by Mencía, decide to head to the Isla del Aire, a place where they were happy. The trip will uncover the secrets of the family and the relationship between these women. His joys but also his miseries, their fears, their heartbreaks and losses They will appear weave the tapestry of a family of women afflicted with physical and emotional pain. “It’s difficult material that we try to navigate delicately,” explained the director, satisfied with having “five sensitive and intelligent actresses, something that has allowed me to go further.”
“I started at the Romea to see if they would take me to interpret a children’s story. Josep Maria de Sagarra said that I had balls like a bull. That phrase, which I did not like at all in my adolescence, has persecuted and encouraged me. I hope that the public that comes to see us sees that I’m still in the same vein”, the veteran actress and director said with irony.
“Josep Maria de Sagarra said that he had balls like a bull. I hope that the public that comes to see us sees that I am still in the same line”
If he has gotten involved in this new project in a contemporary work “without the protection that the repertoire of the great theater gives you” it is because of the trust he has in Mario Gas and because “the shows you choose define you as an artist and as a person”, has explained. “I could have embarked on simpler adventures. When you are presented with a text by a contemporary author there are many questions I ask myself. Is it worth doing it? Am I going to defend it well? I have often wondered what would have happened if Lorca had given me I came looking to do ‘The public’. Surely I would have been horrified. Giving life to a new text is very hard”.
‘The island of the Air’ represents for her the opportunity to show that she wants to “continue fighting” because “the theater is the axis of my life”. He points out that his career, like that of any performer, is based on the roles one chooses. And she has been brave to face the character of Mencía, “a conflictive being as adorable and intelligent as he is evil,” says the veteran actress.
straight to the soul
For Espert, ‘La isla del Aire’ is so well told that “each one of us feels that she is telling part of our story.” The characters are women from the same family marked by a drama. Mencía tries to guide her descendants to a place where they were happy, the island of the title, to ward off all the pain and open a window to hope. “That light that can save them is found and I hope that the public can go to her house with her.” It is “a work that goes beyond,” she points out, that touches the soul.
“This work touches fibers of feeling and thought that are worth taking into account”
The same is the opinion of Vicky Peña. The interpreter feels happy not only to return to Romea but to do it as a family with Mario Gas and Miranda Gas, their daughter, with whom she meets again for the first time since Miranda’s debut at the Festival Grec with ‘Little night music’. “It is a very choral, fine and delicate work,” says Peña. “I hope that it produces in the spectator a different sensation from the more Aristotelian or discursive theater. This work touches fibers of feeling and thought that are worth taking into account in this very prosaic world in which we live.”
For the young Candela Serrat and Miranda Gas, the youngest of the cast, this work is “a gift”. For both of them, who already coincided in Romea with ‘Humans’, also directed by Gas, another work focused on family conflicts, working with Espert is a plus. But they have also highlighted the great connection created between all the protagonists of this choral piece that speaks of mourning, old age, family miseries and the imperative need to hold on to something to move on. “We make a pineapple. We have started on a very good footing,” says Serrat.
The set design by Sebastià Brosa with the video projections by Álvaro Luna and the music by Orestes Gas Move the story to another place. It reflects “a mental, vital space, where the characters are locked up at the beginning”, highlights the director. “There is a kind of minimalist objectual realism” but not to explain the place where the action takes place but to convey the inner world of the five characters.