The Creative Process of Els Joglars and Teatro de la Abadía

The Creative Process of Els Joglars and Teatro de la Abadía: Beyond the Playwright

SIMON DAVID BREDEN
Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt4cg74b
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  • Book Info
    The Creative Process of Els Joglars and Teatro de la Abadía
    Book Description:

    The rehearsal processes of theatre companies are an oft-neglected area of research in Drama and Performance Studies. This work on the Catalan devising collective Els Joglars and the Madrid producing venue Teatro de la Abadía seeks to redress the balance with a close analysis of methodologies employed in rehearsal. In effect, both companies have created distinctive rehearsal processes by applying ideas and techniques from a wider European context to a Spanish theatre scene which had been seen to follow rather than develop trends and techniques visible in theatre across France, Italy and Germany. Critically, their hybrid rehearsal processes generate heightened theatrical results for the audience. Thus the book shifts the focus of academic study away from product and towards process, demonstrating how an understanding of process assists in the reading of the theatrical product. Simon David Breden obtained a PhD in Drama & Hispanic Studies from Queen Mary, University of London. He has worked as a professional director and expert in Spanish theatre in London and Madrid.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-268-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-52)

    There is a fundamental dichotomy between the nature of perception and the words with which we clumsily attempt to define our perceptions – a dichoto my at the core of all art and one that is aptly recognised in the above excerpt from Will Eno’s 2004 monologueThom Pain (Based on Nothing). We lack the capacity to do justice to our experiences by recounting them verbally and, as a result, we encounter difficulties when trying to define any emotional experience. However, describing emotional involvement lies at the heart of the analysis of theatre. That some theatrical experiences remain in our memories...

  5. Part I Els Joglars
    • 1 Introduction and History
      (pp. 55-78)

      Part I of this book leads the reader through Els Joglars’ rehearsal process. To facilitate matters, I will focus primarily onEn un lugar de Manhattan(2005), although references to the company’s evolution and past shows will be used for support. Focusing on this particular show provides a detailed study of the relatively overlooked aspect of rehearsal process, unlike previous studies that have sought to define the ideology of the company or comment only on the finished products. The final result of any stage play only represents a small part of the company’s work in progress, and an understanding of...

    • 2 Theory and Practice
      (pp. 79-120)

      Before looking in detail at the Els Joglars rehearsal process, we must contextualise the company’s working methodologies, and how these emerged from exposure to a series of different ideas, culminating in a hybrid process. With the context firmly established, in this chapter I will attempt to define how the hybrid process shapes the overall product, beginning with the preparatory stages for a new project. As a central case study I will be using the company’s 2005 show,En un lugar de Manhattan. My privileged access to rehearsals, as well as viewing videos of other rehearsal sessions and reading Boadella’s preparatory...

    • 3 Development and Improvisation
      (pp. 121-142)

      It cannot be denied that Albert Boadella and the rest of Els Joglars have developed a theory of theatre that is based on years of honing their craft in the rehearsal room. It is also evident that Boadella exerts control over the current Els Joglars process by establishing detailed written notes before presenting the ideas to the company. However, part of the mystery of the theatrical rehearsal process is how to create appropriate working relations so that a theoretical approach can then be practically applied. It is not a question of simply aiming for a series of predefined goals; Els...

    • 4 Experiential Performance
      (pp. 143-154)

      In this final chapter on Els Joglars I will examine the company’s performances as they emerge from rehearsal in the light of the Constance School’s theory of ‘aesthetic response’, coupled with the notion of ‘experiential theatre’. The chapter illustrates how the company’s preparatory work and thought-process leads to an audience engagement with the show at a heightened level of intellectual and emotional participation, thus exploring the notion of ‘experiential’ as encompassing or merging reason with sensation.

      Much of the difficulty of analysing theatre stems from the limitations of analytical tools when it comes to quantifying performance, a necessarily transient and...

  6. Part II Teatro de la Abadía
    • 5 Introduction and History
      (pp. 157-176)

      ‘Gómez y La Abadía son una misma cosa, ya lo sé’ (Brouwer, 2005: 200)¹ wrote Nuria Espert in a congratulatory letter to the theatre on its tenth anniversary. Even though by 2008 much of José Luis Gómez’s day-to-day running of the Teatro de la Abadía in Madrid had been delegated to other members of his team, it is undeniable that the genesis and impulse for the Teatro de la Abadía project were primarily Gómez’s responsibility, and thus we must first look at his own professional trajectory for an overview of the theatre’s emergence.

      The link between Gómez and Albert Boadella...

    • 6 Rehearsal Room Ethos
      (pp. 177-192)

      My role as an assistant director in the 2008 production of Tirso de Molina’sEl burlador de Sevilla, directed by Dan Jemmett, allowed me to witness the entire rehearsal process, and the following discussion pinpoints the features germane to this analysis. This account presents the rehearsal process as I perceived it, employing the terminology applied by the creative team at the time. In the next chapter a more analytical approach is used to draw conclusions from this specific rehearsal process.

      First a note on the text used forEl burlador de Sevilla: given the significant cuts and alterations in sequences...

    • 7 Theory and Practice
      (pp. 193-208)

      This chapter expands on the rehearsal process laid out in the preceding description of the rehearsals forEl burlador de Sevilla. I also refer to witnessed rehearsals of Corneille’sLa ilusiónunder Carlos Aladro’s direction, because this allows for a more rounded account of the Abadía process as a consistent entity even when rehearsals are led by different directors and with different actors.

      Practice at the Abadía is solidly based on theories that originate from José Luis Gómez’s own experience as founding member and creative motor. Gómez spent a significant formative period of his career abroad, generating a particular view...

    • 8 Holy Theatre
      (pp. 209-222)

      The reappropriation of spaces and their conversion into theatres is not a new phenomenon: in Spain, the Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona and the Teatre Lliure both took over existing structures, the former a market and the latter a workers’ cooperative. Perhaps the first thing you notice on arriving at the Abadía theatre is that it is indeed a small church, a fact that must shape how the audience perceive the space and inform their preconceptions to some extent, so that the sense of enacting a ‘holy’ ritual becomes inevitable. The Abadía’s methods and ethos create a distinct immersive...

  7. Conclusion
    (pp. 223-236)

    This study began with the claim that the creative process determines the qualities of performance by looking at the examples of Els Joglars and the Teatro de la Abadía, two Spanish companies that have developed a particular methodology in rehearsal and raised the bar in terms of current performance in Spain. The two parts of the study dealt with the creative process of both companies by constructing a record of rehearsal for two case study productions and contrasting them with past productions, as well as offering international contextualisation. The result has been to clarify the rehearsal process of the companies...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 237-250)
  9. Index
    (pp. 251-268)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 269-269)