Barcelona and the Teatro Grec


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 This started out as my dedicated Gaudi day and on arriving La Sagrada Familia, I found that not only do I need to buy a ticket, it was allocated a time when I would be admitted. Ok so what to do for two hours? So using my metro ticket I headed off to find Gaudi’s  Casa Batllo, the Rambles and the Boqueria, all of which I had spotted from the taxi last  night.  The whimsy, charm and architectural uniqueness of Gaudi is astonishing and on the Casa Battlio, I discovered that the balconies are cat faces!  image

The Boqueria on the other hand is all bustling business and practicality, but once more the displays have that intrinsic Barcelona aesthetic. I’ve never seen so much food, especially the fish and to think this is replenished every day. It is a ‘feast’ for the eye and a well deserved tourist attraction.

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It would be interesting to know just how much Gaudi and tourism contribute to this ailing economy – the cost of the continuing construction of the cathedral must be enormous. And while there, you are very aware that the stonemasons are at work.

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Once inside the cathedral, the beauty just overtakes you and Gaudi’s use of colour and form found in nature, in contrast to the richness and heaviness of gothic cathedrals, makes this one feel like a breath of fresh air. It is truly enlivening.

I have just arrived at The Teatro Grec having left Ted and Jo in the most amazing gin joint I’ve ever experienced. My gin was enhanced with grapefruit and ginger and it too was heaven in a glass.

imageAnd then into my third heaven for the day, seeing the beauty of this place after the heat and bus-i-ness of down town Barcelona. It has been a very hot day with traces of rain and just being in this elevated location on Mont Juic has relieved the oppression of the heat, or was it Victor’s Gin Palace?

imageHaving said that it’s 10 pm and the production is about to begin without any further threat of rain. However it had been sufficiently disquieting for me to put a hooded jacket in my bag – does it ever rain on Spain’s outdoor shows? I’m well used to people bringing fans and fanning away, but do they bring umbrellas? And of course people do stand in the rain at The Globe Theatre and the actors also get wet…

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imageThis beautiful ampitheatre, man- made for the 1929 World Fair, was created from a disused quarry and the whole place has a beautifully peaceful Greek aesthetic, including a lovely  garden and restaurant. The architect, Ramon Reventos, was clearly a neo Hellenist. I suspect the auditorium holds some 2000 people and tonight it seems almost full.

I’m in a little trepidation as to this production,  Batolome Encadenado, as it represents a modern version of Prometheus, billed as a tragi comedy with a chorus of actors from the Theatre Institute. Each year a writer is asked to create a text around contemporary themes in relation to  Greek theatre. With social and political overtones, this does address the economic situation as the premise for the story which deals with the theft of lower and middle class workers money by the World Bank.

imageAnd whilst the cast of young activists were enthusiastic and commited to the piece,  for me the production was enhanced by a light and sound show type of projections against the back wall of the theater. This worked really well and gave a texture to the otherwise one thing after another predictable nationalistic ardor. I will explore the genesis of this work so as not to disgrace myself as to its significance.

The audience was appreciative and all of sudden they dispersed down the hill. How will I get home I asked the hotel porter. Follow the crowd! I did just that and ultimately found myself in Avenue Parel-lel within a good stroll of the hotel.

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So a great day. Gaudi, The Teatro Grec, the Bocheria, Victor’s gin palace and catching up with Ted who I haven’t seen since May. He and Jo had fulfilled one of their Barcelona must do’s spending the whole day on the beach.

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