David Selvas premieres a 'Romeo and Juliet' in Barcelona that eliminates "the cheesy part", looks at TikTok and emphasizes the patriarchal conflict
An image from 'Romeu i Juliet'.
An image from ‘Romeu i Juliet’.the brutal

A Shakespeare arrives on the Barcelona billboard and that must be greeted every time as an event. There is always a thirst for the word of the Bard, and more so in times that seem Elizabethan so turbulent. The actor and director David Selvas, with the company La Brutal and the playwright Joan Yago from La Calòrica, premieres today Wednesday at the Poliorama theater his production of Romeo and JulietRomeu and Julietin a new Catalan translation by Yannick Garcia Porres made on purpose for the show: the Montagues are Montagú, closer to the English original Montagues, and Mercutio, Mercucci- It is a 90% Shakespeare adaptation, says Selvas, who respects the original but it wants to avoid the romantic stereotypes “and all that shit” attached to the title, and aims to bring the story of the lovers from Verona to a more modern terrain in order to appeal to young audiences.

Romeo is played by Nil Cardoner, Julieta by Emma Arquillué (daughter of the great actor Pere Arquillué, with whom she will coincide on the billboard since her father performs the extraordinary monologue at the nearby Teatre Romea The cos més bonic que s’haurà trobat mai en aquest lloc). The wonderful role of Mercutio, always an acting gift, is played by Guillem Balart, recent prince Hamlet (another who dies by the sword: hopefully fencing has improved, although knives are used here) by Oriol Broggi.

Selvas says that what moves him most in Shakespeare’s text is the “desperate cry” he perceives from the two young lovers to change things and that he has turned into leitmotif from the show with the song by Nina Simone Everthing must change. “The adaptation we have made has had two axes”, explains Selvas, “showing the fast-paced part of the story, a story that takes place in just four days, and emphasizing that, okay, it is the infatuation of two teenagers, but there is a of patriarchal violence, centered on Julieta’s father”. The director points out the “structural violence” in the work and how “the love story can change the paradigm.”

The adaptation, with 9 actors, uses projections and contemporary music (Billy Eilish, Paula Jornet, Bad Bunny, Black Eyed Peas, trap, hip-hop) to bring the plot closer to young audiences, as well as highlighting the rebellion of a generation against other. Among the dramaturgical options, there is cutting out especially the last part of the work, that of the crypt, and removing physical violence from the character of Mercutio. “He is a David Bowie who provokes violence in others”, reflects Selvas.

The show (“passion, violence, friendship, family, love”, synthesizes the publicity) lasts an hour and 45 minutes, and, between the cuts, Selvas points out “the cheesy part”. It is true that in the original there are things as (deliciously) sweetened as “Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow”. The director emphasizes that Julieta is a romantic young lady, but also “a girl who waits for the night to come to have sex with her boyfriend.” And he adds: “The romantic part of Romeo and Juliet They have explained it to us badly, it is more Elizabethan and more ludic-lubricant”.

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In this Romeu and Juliet, who will spend nine weeks at the Poliorama, especially spends the rest at the famous masquerade party chez Capulet, represented “with Tik Tok video aesthetics”. David Selvas has not consulted much of the copious bibliography on the Shakespearean canon (he declares himself little friend of Harold Bloom) and he has preferred, he says, to concentrate on the text. It is his second direction of a work by the Bardo, after staging a Timon of Athens with Julio Manrique at the Library of Catalonia.

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