Welcome to the presentation of the 2022-2023 season at Centro Dramático Nacional.
Resistance is defined as an action through which something or someone resists or has the capacity to resist, that is, to stand firm or in opposition.
Any action intended to bring about change is met with an opposing force. Any action learns to resist as soon as it is born. In order to achieve meaningful action, any change needs to be founded on resisting these opposing forces. And these forces often try to lead us to a state of nothingness.
In a lecture delivered in Munich in 1976, Elias Canetti proposed a law for writers: “You shall not throw into nothingness anyone who takes pleasure in it. You shall only seek nothingness to find a path that will enable you to escape it, and you shall reveal the path to everyone. You shall persevere in sadness, no less than in despair, to learn how to get other people out of it, but not out of contempt for happiness, the greatest good that all creatures deserve, even if they disfigure and tear each other apart”. This creative act of resistance against nothingness is the central theme of the 22-23 season at Dramático. When we feel surrounded by “nothingness” and that chaos is taking over our society, we who create fiction are tasked with delving into that nothingness and chaos in an attempt to prevent them. We resist by becoming immersed in emotions and feelings that frighten us, without disregarding anything, while always seeking to resist for the sake of finding happiness. Over the last few years, we have endured traumatic events capable of blocking the creativity of an entire society. Resisting violence through fiction is essential to be able to change reality, which is the focus of works such as Farm Fatale, Los Pálidos, Fundamentalmente fantasías para la resistencia, Obra infinita, Algunos días and Falsestuff.
The philosopher Pascal Chabot says that culture is, above all, the formation of oneself by oneself through the expression of creators. However, this is precisely what is most lacking in today’s world: a place for individuals and their convictions, judgements, desires and aspirations. The world of ultra-forces and dominant discourses is a world of blocks and communities governed by the pressure of homogeneity. Behaviour is frequently gregarious, perceptions are programmed, and desires are mimetic. This inertia to construct homogeneous worlds is resisted by works such as Madre de azúcar, La cabeza del dragón, Lectura fácil, Los columpios and Paraíso Perdido.
As such, we have built the institution of democracy as a means to develop as free and dignified beings. We place our hopes in this system to establish laws that protect us. However, we witness all too often how these laws fall short and fail to provide protection. 400 días sin luz, Breve historia del ferrocarril español, Entre chien et loup, El peso de un cuerpo, El Proceso and Oasis de la impunidad explore stories of how the workings of the state turn individuals into victims. These are works that resist the forces of corruption, bureaucratisation and dehumanisation.
Pieces of a woman, Sovrimpressioni, Yerma, Harakiri, Karaoke Elusia and Querencia challenge the meaning of wanting to live. From the perspective of decline or youth or the desire to give life or take it away, life itself remains at the centre of the question. The urge to survive is at the root of any resistance to anything that opposes this urge. What kind of society are we creating that suppresses the desire to live or condemns the desire to give life, preys on the fragile and vulnerable and exalts a competitive and consumerist individualism?
Many of these works feature a female protagonist who is the object of violence:, Madre de azúcar, La cabeza del dragón, 400 días sin luz, Lectura fácil, Entre chien et loup, Pieces of a woman, Yerma, Fundamentalmente Fantasías para la resistencia, Querencia, Algunos días and Harakiri. This illustrates the need for society to raise awareness of the devastating reality of gender-based violence, which only blind fanaticism is capable of denying.
We are also back with Acción Dramáticaour programme of interdisciplinary activities designed for both the public and theatre professionals. Our season-long projects, such as New Dramas, our Reading Club, the Introductory Playwriting Workshop and Drama Residencies, will run alongside other initiatives, including Carte Blanche, post-show talks, guided tours, inclusive shows, Dramawalker, +Dramas (exploring the concept of refuge), open days, Cinedrama, masterclasses and professional workshops.
We will also host the Theatre Book Fair, our Playwriting Workshops for Children and Young People and the Theatre Design Forum. In addition, we are reopening our database of Drama Professionals, which can be joined by anyone working in the industry.
I would also like to mention that we will be repeating two initiatives launched in the previous season: Dramático Weekend Pro, an international meeting of cultural managers, and our work-life balance workshops, designed to encourage parents to get involved in the theatre again and share the experience with their children.
We are continuing with our publications: New collection, Dramática magazine, which this season will cover playwriting for children and young people and stage design (in collaboration with the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space); and Discovering the stage.
In addition to our recent partnerships with institutions for whose support we are extremely grateful, we are pleased to announce new lines of collaborations with the Red Cross, Accem and CEAR to bring refugee families to the theatre.
Thanks to an initiative with the Valdemoro and Alcalá-Meco prisons, we have invited inmates to attend dress rehearsals of some of our performances, and members of our artistic teams have visited the prisons.
Likewise, we will continue to run our pilot programme ACERCA, a platform aiming to promote inclusion among our audiences while also working with the High Commission Against Child Poverty.
Finally, thanks to the efforts of certain colleagues at Centro Dramático Nacional, an open dialogue group has been formed to review the sustainability of our venues.
Alfredo Sanzol, Director of Centro Dramático Nacional