A play in Catalan: A review of ‘Madame Melville’

FOR THEATRE CLASS EXTRA POINTS I went to see a play in a theatre, right here in Barcelona, on Saturday 11th June 2011. We arrived late for the 21.30 play, since we thought we had to arrive early to collect the reserved tickets, but turns out all was well and we were perfectly on time.

Location: Barcelona’s Borras Theatre

Price of ticket: 15 euros

Fellow theatre-goers: Laura Claraso Roure, Tania Garcia Fernandez, Sarah Osborne.

Play details: By Richard Nelson, Directed by Àngel Llàtzer (Originally in English, originally English play)

This play was about a young boy falling for his teacher, who likewise fell for him, which was useful for people who cannot understand Catalan. Able to see what the acting was like, aside from script details, it was only monologues from the boy that one did not understand completely, but there were words I understood so was able to get the jist of things, as also my friend Sarah from England who loves theatre was able to do – and then there was Laura beside me who aided me with understanding when I could not partake in jokes the audience laughed at. I found the audience loved the sexually provocative friend: she would sing ‘American’ songs and her acting was essential to the play. She was lively, provocative and playful, injecting life into a play that would have otherwise become stale. All set in a living room with books on the walls and realistic changing light from the windows, careful stage management of Madame Melville and the boy was able to reflect tensions between them, letting the play came to life with the music. Often only music can do justice to the inexplicable emotion of love and transport the audience to where the two were together in their own bubble: particularly effective was one of the closing scenes, where, like a moment from time, they danced in the dark under spotlights in a scene of stylistic dressing of each other. Like a ballet, more of these interesting moments at the beginning would have gone down well, making it less boring. Not one I would see again, this play had its moments – I particularly enjoyed the father’s wordless entrance to collect his son.

Laura wrote her review in more detail, talking about how the play is basically about an American student called Carl who is fifteen who one day finds himself alone in Madame Melville’s flat who is his literature teacher. During the time he stays at her home, they speak about literature, art, life and he is also first introduced to sex by her.  From the beginning onwards, it is shown how alone and insecure Carl feels given that he is a teenager and this would be the reason why he seeks comfort in Melville’s arms, a woman who is also lacking in confidence – mainly because of a frustrated love life.

I write this here, now, upon return to my room after a night out seeing friends, watching the lunar eclipse by the sea on the beach, arriving on bikes (Bicing), since for some reason today I am incredibly restless and this boundless energy transforms to productivity in the dark – 5AM, and I begin work on my Tutoria Integrada 3 for Advanced Syntax and I also write this. I will sleep now and tomorrow I will rise for early morning uni, with the new moon who is also touched by night-time festivities, and who is awake on a different side of the world. To bed, to dreams, to luck, sleep well!

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