GALA opens its 36th Season with the United States Premiere of ¡Ay, Carmela! by José Sanchis Sinisterra, one of Spain’s most acclaimed contemporary playwrights. Directed by José Luis Arellano-García from Madrid, ¡Ay, Carmela! runs September 15 to October 9, 2011 at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010.
“I am thrilled that we are producing ¡Ay, Carmela! as part of our binational cultural collaboration with Acción Sur from Madrid,” states Hugo Medrano, GALA’s Producing Artistic Director. “Last year, we initiated this multi-year program with Acción Sur with a classic of Spain’s Golden Age, “El caballero de Olmedo” by Lope de Vega. This year we are working across the Atlantic to explore together one of Spain’s most important contemporary playwrights, whose mournful plea against armed conflict has touched audiences throughout Europe and Latin America.”
“We chose to stage ¡Ay, Carmela!,” adds director José Luis Arellano-García, “because it speaks to the tragedy of the Spanish people under the fascists’ tyranny, which spread throughout Europe in the 1930s. This play is an endearing chronicle of remembrance, and an homage to the dignity of an artist and to human sensibility. Sinisterra reminds us, with great humor, of the importance of memory and the complexity of human behavior in compromising situations.”
When Carmela and Paulino, a vaudeville comedy duo, accidentally fall into the hands of Franco’s fascists troops during the Spanish Civil War, they witness an execution and then are forced to perform for other captives and soldiers. But as heels and castanets clatter, their own intriguing story unfolds in a riot of black humor and ghostly passion. In a world still riddled with conflict, this heartbreaking portrayal of love and loss is a poignant testimony to the inhumanity of war.
¡Ay, Carmela! premiered in Zaragoza, Spain in 1987 and became one of the Spanish-speaking world’s most spectacular successes of the past 20 years. This award-winning play has been produced throughout Latin America and Europe, and translated into seven languages. In 1990, the acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura premiered his own film version of the play, and in the same year Sinisterra was awarded the National Theatre Prize.
¡Ay, Carmela! is performed in Spanish with English surtitles Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 3 pm. The Noche de GALA and Press opening is Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 8 pm, followed by a reception under the honorary patronage of the Ambassador of Spain Jorge Dezcallar.
This co-production is the second international project between GALA and the dynamic Spanish company Acción Sur that involves artists from the United States and Spain. As part of the collaboration, one of the actors traveled to Madrid in August 2011 for rehearsals with the director and other cast member who are from Spain. The co-production is made possible with support from the Embassy of Spain in Washington, DC, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, INEAM, Asociación Cultural Mundos del Teatro, the Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and U.S. Universities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
José Sanchis Sinisterra is a theater director, educator and scholar. He has written numerous plays, including Tú, no importa quién, La Edad Media va a empezar, La leyenda de Gilgamesh, Historias de tiempos revueltos, La noche de Molly Bloom, Ñaque o de piojos y actores, El gran teatro natural de Oklahoma, Bajo el signo de cáncer, Crímenes y locuras del traidor Lope de Aguirre, Los figurantes, Pervertimiento y otros gestos para nada, Bartle by el escribiente, Perdida en los Apalaches, Mísero Próspero, Bienvenidas, Dos tristes tigres, Marsal, Marsal, and ¡Ay, Carmela!, which was made into an award-winning film by Carlos Saura. Among the theaters and theater organizations he has founded or co-founded are Aula de Teatro de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de Valencia, Seminario de Teatro, Teatro Fronterizo, Sala Beckett, and the Association of Independent Experimental Theaters. His awards include Premio Carlos Arniches (1968), Premio Federico García Lorca (Theater, 1991), and Premio Max for Best Playwright (1999 for ¡Ay, Carmela! and 2004 for El lector por horas). He was also a finalist for the Premio Max in 2005 for El cerco de Leningrad.
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