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Grec 2023

Flowers and Journeys

An Expanded Theatre trilogy by Cabosanroque (III)


Viatges i flors, a book of short stories by Mercè Rodoreda, inspires this immersive installation that speaks of war through the voices of women who have been forced to flee a present-day war.

“War is explained by women. They cry. They sing as if it were a lament.”
Svetlana Alexievich, The Unwomanly Face of War, 2018

Entering the sinister atmosphere of Cabosanroque’s latest work, we take a journey full of beauty among the flowers of a war-torn world. We enter a forest, maybe a garden... or was it a village? A work that combines literature, anthropology, sculpture, music and artifact, all orchestrated by the baton of sound.

And the talk is of war, and the women and the children talk of it, and “not just them, but also the earth, the birds and the trees. Everything that lives on earth with us”.

We will hear excerpts from the book of short stories Viatges i flors, through the voices of women who have been forced to flee a present-day war. Transplanted into Ukrainian, Mercè Rodoreda’s words become sounds that are incomprehensible for us, yet reveal to us an internal rhythmic logic, a musicality of the text that will survive beyond any translation.

In The Unwomanly Face of War and Últims testimonis by Svetlana Alexievich, Cabosanroque discover a perfect alliance for this journey, helping us understand the transition from reality and memory to fiction, and to what extent we need fantasy to prevent reality, which can neither be digested nor explained, from striking us down.

Cabosanroque trilogy

Just as reality is seen through fantasy, Cabosanroque read universal themes through Catalan writers. With Joan Brossa (1919-1998), they read the landscape. With Jacint Verdaguer (1845-1902), they read possession. And now they close the trilogy with Mercè Rodoreda (1908-1983): a fascinating and controversial figure who fled one war in 1939 to find another in 1940, sequestered in a 30-year exile where she had a hard time but achieved her aim: to write classics, works that are tender and aggressive, hard and very sad. Rodoreda addresses devastating, murderous war in order to talk about the cruelty to which we subject each other.

Artistic credits

Conception, creation, construction, dramaturgy and direction: Cabosanroque | Original text: Mercè Rodoreda, Svetlana Alexievich | Adaptation: Cabosanroque | With the recorded participation of: Rocío Molina, Mónica López, Núria Martínez Vernis and Ukrainian refugees in Catalonia (Mariia Kashpurenko, Nadiia Rusanova, Olena Radko, Hanna Hrechana, Alexandra Hrechana, Maria Hrechana, Hanna Rei, Barbara Sokilovska and Mariia Sokolovska) | Translations from Russian into Catalan: Miquel Cabal | Translations from Catalan into Ukrainian: Olena Velykodna | Original music: Cabosanroque, version of Billie Holiday’s Strange fruit sung by Núria Graham, Lux Aeterna by György Ligeti performed by Cor de Teatre (Mariona Callís, Sara Gómez, Nuri Hernández, Ànnia Pons) and directed by David Costa | Recordings by Alan Lomax: Russian women lament the death of their father | Lighting design: Cabosanroque, | Video: Frau recerques visuals | Technological support: Julià Carboneras | Ceramics: Toni Cumella and Cabosanroque | Photographs: José Hevia | Acknowledgements: Enric Masgrau, David Costa, Alba Codina, Xevi Gibert, Panxi Badi, Maria Bohigas and Alejandro Dardik, Glòria Bordons, Martí Sales, Oriol Sauleda, Pere Sarquella, Ricard and Rosa Carnissers, Can Pericus, Ukrainian Refugee Centre of the district of Sant Narcís, Cesc Feixas and Carme Torrents, Lluís Coromina, Ceràmiques Cumella. To our parents.

A coproduction by:
Cabosanroque, Grec 2023 Festival de Barcelona, Temporada Alta 2022, Naves del Español en Matadero 2023, Teatre Nacional de Catalunya 2023, Théâtre Garonne – Scène européenne 2024 and Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB)
With the support of: Culture Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya Catalan government, Fundació Lluís Coromina, Alumilux, Teatre Municipal de Girona, Cultura Banyoles and Fundació Mercè Rodoreda


Participants: Cabosanroque

This activity is part of Grec 2023, Grec. Festival de Barcelona

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