Theater and History


‘Shock 2. The storm and the war’Valle-Inclán Theater, Madrid

A theater performance is not a history book. You are not required to present the facts as they were or to exhibit neutrality. You can illuminate those aspects that suit your story and hide those others that hinder it.You have, yes, the obligation to present that story in an attractive, exciting, dramatic way … In a word, entertaining, which is the main commandment of the theater (all the others fall apart if you forget this one).

There would be a lot to talk about the historical-documentary and political aspects of ‘Shock 2. The storm and the war’, the show directed by Andrés Lima and presented by the National Dramatic Center these days. The montage is a continuation of ‘Shock 1. The condor and the puma’, which was presented, with great success, a couple of seasons ago, and which will also be seen for a few days together with the second part.

This begins with the arrival to the Government, in the eighties, of Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain, and Ronald Reagan in the United States and advances through the continuous conflicts between the Middle East and the West, leading to the Iraq War.

Andrés Lima and his very illustrious collaborators -Albert Boronat, Juan Cavestany and Juan Mayorga- twist the facts to their liking to present a blatantly heeled show. There are documentary and journalistic fragments in the text that lend a true patina to certain moments of the performance. Nothing to object. There are greater objections to the theatrical spectacle itself, which does not reach the levels of emotion that it pursues with certain fragments and which falls into the resource of caricature with the characters – from Aznar to Bush, from Yeltsin to John Paul II – that dot the function.

Andrés Lima is a brilliant director, as he has shown in numerous productions, and in ‘Shock 2’ there are glimpses of his extraordinary talent. The structure of the show, developed on a revolving platform -as it already did in ‘El jurado’- and with the audience in four bands, is attractive and gives the function, with a good workmanship, great dynamism. But the ‘dramatization’ of the events does not have the necessary dramatic force, already from the very arid initial monologue. At times like the story of José Couso’s death, the emotional temperature rises, but the show is weighed down by the puzzle of dramatically disjointed stories.

The biggest applause must go to the seven performers, who perform an admirable display of faculties -there must be another show in the dressing rooms-, each embodying several characters with magnificent characterizations (the work of Cécile Kretschmar) and who achieve that the tension of the show does not decline during its almost three hours of duration (including rest).

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