Sunday, 24 February 2008

Petit Théâtre Baraque continued

Dave lives in Ireland now but a long time ago we were together in Seville, southern Spain where we were travelling the winter and performing a street juggling show.

It was the beginning of February and snow had driven us on from Granada where the only warmth we found was from the open fires that people had made in the back streets, and it was not enough.

In Seville we had found a beautiful small square facing a church which seemed perfect for shows, and after a long weekend of work we retired to the country outside to rest, rehearse and drink Rioja.

The following weekend returning to the same square we were excited to find other performers in full show. With typical English queue mentality we waited to one side for them to finish then went over to say hello and to say that we were going to do a show next.

They looked at us and replied; “This is our square, go and find your own.” I don’t remember in which language this was communicated.

The next day we were there very, very early, and for the next month we played aggressive cat and mouse with them around the best busking spots of the city.

They are my neighbours now, living on the other side of a valley that separates us as much as an unseen one did then. Last night they invited people from the village to see their new production. They have built a circular tower in wood and canvas with a raised gallery inside that is accessed by a staircase on the outside. From here a limited 32 spectators can look down on the actors who play in the round below.

For the moment the tower is housed inside a cavernous barn that also houses their old circus wagons, workshop and dreams.

Entering both, as we did by following a string of suspended lanterns is magical, inside the intimate theatre you are cocooned in soft light and a series of painted images unfold under and around you.

When we left, we stopped for a moment between barn of dream-images and warm friendly fire where soup and wine was served and invited staying.

The field spun around us giving a 360 degree of the spring night sky and its thousands of stars.

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