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Declan Donnellan affirms that “life is not a dream” by bringing his version of Magnum

Life is not a dream said the Irish director of the group Cheek by Jowl Declan Donnellan today when he presented his production in Barcelona with actors from the National Classical Theater Company CNTC of Life is a Dream by Calderón It is not that Donnellan Manchester 69 years old has wanted to amend the page of the great playwright of the Golden Age.

Whom he admires but rather that he has embarked on a long complex and passionate disquisition on theatrical creation and human existence It is very dangerous to say that life is a dream and believing it makes people die

The show a coproduction of the CNTC Cheek by Jowl and Lazona premiered last week in Seville now arrives at the Temporada Alta festival Saturday and Sunday Teatre Municipal de Girona before stopping at the Comedy Theater in Madrid

Declan Donnellan Being close to death sharpens the mind
Asked for a comparison between Sigismund and Hamlet and also with the protagonist of his favorite Shakespeare play Macbeth Life is a passing shadow Donnellan stated Somehow all the great authors end up finding themselves in the end the same door the door that we all actually face when we realize that life is about something else different from what we thought.

And it leads us to the great question that has been asked from the preSocratic philosophers to the phenomenologists what is existence what does it mean and why do we exist instead of not existing Why does existence happen

The director one of the great current references of European theater recognized for his updates of Shakespeare and for having spent 40 years rereading the classics for the stage reflected that there is something worse than death the awareness of knowing that you may not have never happened The fear of death is nothing compared to the fear of not having existed

Donnellan in a spiral of existential inspiration has pointed out that a primary and primordial expression of this fear of not existing is reflected in the habitual request of children look at me mom That breaks my heart It is a request that they recognize that you are here Of course you are But a human being is an animal that doubts that it exists The rest of the animals do not have that problem he has said in clear reference to the bestiary of Segismundos most famous monologue in Life is a dream

When presenting the show Salvador Sunyer director of Temporada Alta highlighted the ability of Donnellan and his collaborators to bring the great classics to the here and now doing them not as a recovery operation but as authentic contemporaries The director of the CNTC Lluís Homar who entered the presentation by video recalled that this is the third time that the company has participated in Temporada Alta and has considered Donnellans conjunction an event to which he joins has stood out a long friendship and Cheek by Jowl with Calderon.

He has pointed out that it was the CNTC that proposed to the British director that he face the quintessential title of the author and Donell an agreed It has not been easy but the result is a reference montage in the look at the classics considered Homar who praised the work of the CNTC actors We are building a future There will be a before and after this Life is a dream he concluded

Donnellan has reflected that things do not change depending on the country and has highlighted that what is wonderful is what people being essentially different from one another have in common In that sense he has said that theater is an act of empathy He has recalled that it is not his first montage of a Spanish classic since Cheek by Jowl made Fuenteovejuna 30 years ago So we do a Golden Age play every 30 years and then this may be the last so I hope you guys like it he joked

From the understanding of the meaning of the works he has considered that all of them are irreducible We never fully understand the work we do to understand a work any work of art completely is to kill it Believing that you have understood a work is a terrible mistake like those parents who say I understand my son You never really get to the bottom of it In this sense he has spoken of Macbeth in which he worked at the age of 15 and which he has edited in many languages and I know word for word but I have never gotten to the bottom of the work that is why it is so great and each time you read it different

As for his way of working he has explained that they begin with a series of exercises with the actors very simple on how words are constructed long before beginning to work on their meaning If you start revealing the meaning too soon it is very toxic We are building piecemeal

Of Life is a dream he has pointed out that it is revealed very slowly takes his time And he has been grateful that nobody has told me what makes you believe that you can do.

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