9 February 2016

Continuation of the Spanish Saga...

Abajo Puppet Troupe

The story is finally becoming a little more clear! 

Two young Spanish puppeteers Alfónso Lázaro de la Torre and Raul García Pérez, who trained at the Pepe Otal Workshop in Barcelona, are spending their fifth day in a Madrid prison.

I was taken to visit the Workshop of the late-Pepe Otal, in Barcelona last November by my friend Toni Rumbau. It is a sacred space that has provided a venue for artists and puppeteers to explore their creativity  in the centre of Barcelona, since the great Spanish puppeteer, underground anarchist, Otal founded it in 1975.

It’s important to understand the political landscape in Madrid right now to fully comprehend why these young puppeteers were incarcerated. There is a rather radical situation between the left and right wing parties in Madrid. Right wing members of the public are fighting tooth and nail against the left-wing government, which now controls the city. So it certainly looks as if the puppeteers have become pawns in a rather complex political war.  

The politics in Madrid are tense and this puppet fiasco seems to be the type of distraction the right wing needs to shift the attention off their own behaviour.

The team were booked by the Madrid City Hall to participate in the Madrid Carnival with their rather unique version of the traditional “Don Cristobal and the Witch” - first written by the twentieth-century Spanish dramatist Federico García Lorca.

The characters include an anarchist radical Punch & Judy, not suitable for children. This was apparently made clear by the puppeteers to their audience in the streets of Madrid before their performance took place last Friday. 

The controversy began when one of the puppets held up an ‘ETA’ poster during the performance. Apparently this prop was used by the ‘police’ characters to frame the ‘witch’ - an innocent, but apparently foolish attempt to get the ‘witch’ character arrested by the ‘police’.

Some members of the audience called the local police. The reasons are unclear at present: It may have been due to differences in political ideology; a mere misunderstanding of the satyrical nature of the plot or a confusion in comprehending the script  (puppeteers used a ‘swazzle’, a voice changing device, giving the characters high pitched, and sometimes incomprehensible voices)

The Spanish judge immediately threw the puppeteers into prison, with no option of bail - just as, in the Punch & Judy show. How ironic that the exact same scenario now gets played out in real life! For the judge to take this serious action is quite ludicrous. It’s as bad as sentencing Punch to prison for killing his baby - something he has traditionally done, time and time again, for hundreds of years. 

(Our thanks to Toni Rumbau and Titeresante in Spain for the updates)

Don't forgetThere is a petition on FaceBook in Spanish, which calls for the immediately release of the two Spanish puppeteers. You can find it here!

1 comment:

Naranjarte said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.