Typical. You wait years for an adaptation of Spain’s most popular stories to appear and then two arrive at the same time.
Platero Y Yo by Nobel Laureate Juan Ramon Jimenez paints an affectionate portrait of Moguer in Andalucia at the start of the 20th century, seen through the eyes of the poet and his companion, a little silver donkey called Platero.
You couldn’t find two more different approaches. The Fringe production by the University of Puerto Rico students, was a big show with a cast of 19. Ours has a cast of two – Platero (a magical puppet made and manipulated by Georgian puppeteer Nino Namitcheishvili), and me (the poet).
My role is to deliver the beautiful poetic stories to an audience that have eyes only for Platero. From the moment he turns his head and blinks at the start of the show, the whole theatre is entirely seduced by Platero. The relationship between audience and puppet is a joy to see, even if I am upstaged by a donkey.
Naturally we went to see the Puerto Rican show and they came to see ours. That was the day we had 25 Puero Ricans in the audience!
Audiences are funny things. We rehearsed our show in Tbilisi where our director, Levan Tsuladze, runs the Marjanishvili Theatre and did one preview there, and then one in Cambridge before arriving in Edinburgh. The Georgian audience is quick to rise to its feet with enthusiastic applause; British audiences, no less warm, are rather more restrained. Puerto Ricans? They rushed the stage and showered Nino and me with kisses. They even hugged our producer who was standing by the door.
I think we’d like to take our production to Puerto Rica!
• Platero Y Yo, Valvona & Crolla at 1pm until 27 August (and at 8:30pm on 21 August and 5:45pm on 25 August) Mike Maran is writing about the show’s progress at www.platero-and-me.blogspot.com
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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