Small theater groups pull the audience into the seats and even the scene

Madrid’s theater scene is experiencing a boom, with some of the most exciting works mounted by troupes acting in the smallest theaters with the least name recognition, often on non-existent budgets. Small house productions are popping up at off-market theaters throughout a city making headway in establishing itself as a serious player on the independent theater scene.


This is a brief introduction to three of the many grassroots groups in Madrid that deserve a look.


Bombín Teatro


Bombín Teatro was envisioned as an opportunity to foster exchange between theater communities in Spain and Argentina. Joaquín Gómez began the company with his Buenos Aires production of Tríptico, o la Desolación de Rafael, a deeply personal work that explored the ego, ambition and internal divisions of one character—a struggling writer/actor/director—played by three different actors of different nationalities, accents and appearances. The work was a provocative meditation on identity, which earned him a run in Madrid.


We wanted to spin the bedroom around and put the public inside the scene, blame them. The girl is now hanging above your head.


For his next production, currently on stage at Sala Teatro La Usina he directed his attention towards more traditional material: Lorca’s La Casa de Bernarda Alba. Lorca’s masterpiece, written in 1936 and too blatantly political for a Spain torn by civil war, a dictatorial patriarch and a church seeped in the cult of the virgin, was performed for the first time in Argentina, which leads Gómez to feel connected to the work.


What’s fresh about this production of Bernarda Alba? Gómez says it’s Bernarda herself. He aimed to probe beyond the simple depiction of an authoritarian matriarch and expose, if not justifications for, than at least reasons behind her rigidity.


They chose to show “a woman alone in her bedroom, so that we see who is behind the hard mask, the pain she is experiencing from her loss [the death of her husband is what immediately precedes the action of the text]… the fear she has of losing her mind like her mother. That is where you find our innovation. Nobody is so good or so evil.”


The ending is an example of how, in Gómez’s words, you can “dust off a classic.” Through powerful choreography, the whole scene is inverted. The bedroom, the sight of the play’s ultimate tragedy is transported from behind the action to an imagined space right above the audience. “We wanted to spin the bedroom around and put the public inside the scene, blame them. The girl is now hanging above your head.”


And what does he think of Madrid’s theater scene in times of crisis? “The crisis, in one way, helps theater. With money theater can explode commercially, but in times of crisis, you do with what you have. With few resources you can do a lot.”


If he could make one change to Madrid’s theater scene? “I would like to see more of a reflection of the diversity that exists in Spain.”


Casa de Bernarda Alba runs Sundays in February at Sala Teatro La Usina, C/ Palos de la Frontera, 4. Embajadores.


Publicado por Ryan Day para http://vayamadrid.com/teatro-boutique/