JL's Artistic Director Adrian Berry visited Catalonia for TNT Festival in Terrassa during what happened to be the region's most politically turbulent weekend in recent memory. Watch his video blog describing his experience, above, or read the transcript below.
"Hi, this is Ade from Jacksons Lane – a rather hot and sweaty Ade, because I've just been cycling around Terrassa, which is where I am. I'm outside Teatre Principal, as you can see – a beautiful theatre in Terrassa which is about 20 miles north of Barcelona – and I'm here for the TNT Festival. I'm going to be doing a series of video blogs instead of my usual written blog. It's my fourth time here. I love the town, I love the festival. Seeing a lot of theatre, performance, live art and circus – a lot of circus this year, which I'm really excited about. I'm going to catch my first show now. It's the weekend of the Catalan referendum so it's also a really exciting time to be here historically and politically, as well. Maybe more of that later. OK – bye."
"I've just come out of a show, which – I think I've just seen the future of theatre. It's called Teotronica, and it was three 60cm robots performing Hamlet, and possibly Woody Allen crossed with Samuel Beckett, I don't know. It's really hard to explain. The robots – the technology of it was just astonishing. The humour, timing, the physicality of it – who needs people?
"And from 60cm robots to giant automaton puppet teddy bears. I saw one of those as well. I followed it through the streets for about half an hour, watching people's responses – it was like a smaller version of the Sultan's Elephant in London. It was really great!
"Oh, and there was an outdoor piece I saw, a circus piece – a company called Cie Terna, and it was called Fractal. Some beautiful circus, they had this large wooden structure, which I think they weren't quite sure what to do with at times – they obviously knew, it took a lot of preparation, and a lot of audience participation. Interesting outdoor piece."
"So I'm now on the square in Terrassa. It's the night before the vote, the referendum. People are banging saucepans everywhere – as you walk through the street, people are just banging saucepans for hours and hours, which I think is obviously to do with the vote. I have just come out of two really interesting circus performances – I saw Animal Religion, a premiere of a show called Fang, which is a solo piece by Quim, the Artistic Director. And he does a piece with just a giant half-tonne of clay, and it's absolutely astonishing actually. Very excited to see how that develops.
"Sorry, someone just came to ask me if I wanted a drink. It's quite late here now. You wouldn't know there's something hugely radical and historical happening here, but I guess in Barcelona, when I get there tomorrow, where I'm heading off to in the evening, things will be different. It's been – um. I'm trying to order a Vermouth.
"The festival's been amazing. It is every year, actually – such a breadth and diversity of work here, both Catalan and non-Catalan, but the more homegrown stuff actually is more interesting, because it's coming from a very personal, political place all the time. The circus here is unlike any circus that you see, certainly in the UK. But it's work that I can certainly see coming here as well – coming to the UK, maybe to Jacksons Lane.
"I am going to have a Vermouth now. I've seen eight shows today and it's been an invigorating experience."
"Terrassa is not a really cycle-friendly city! But I've got a bike from the hotel and I'm risking life and limb. I've had two Vermouths – quite big ones – and I'm heading back to the hotel. I just saw some really great street theatre as well. I'm trying – this is dangerous. This might be the last you ever hear of me! I'm going to stop. But this is my last post from Terrassa – maybe. Who knows!
"This is also Terrassa. It's a great town, it's been a great festival. I'm going to turn this off before I die, literally. Catch you next year."
"So this is a bit of a postscript really, but I arrived yesterday in Barcelona. They cancelled all the last performances at TNT on the Sunday, which was yesterday – I suppose out of respect, and maybe they just didn't feel it was appropriate to carry on in light of all the extreme violence that's happening, the police injuring 800 people – peaceful voters, peaceful protesters. The vote seems to have gone in favour of independence, but nobody seems to know what's going to happen next. Just a very sad thing to see in this country. We're no longer in the Franco era, and this is the kind of total disrespect for democracy which happened within that era. It's like going backwards, really. So it's a bit of a sad end for a city and a country that I love so much."