Bernardo Atxaga and Calixto Bieito present Obabakoak in Madrid

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.

2018-10-24

On Wednesday, author Bernardo Atxaga and playwright Calixto Bieito presented Obabakoak at the National Drama Centre (CDN) in Madrid. The play, based on Atxaga’s eponymous novel, is slated to debut in Basque tomorrow with Spanish subtitles. There will be another three performances in Basque on the 26th, 27th and 28th of October at Teatro Valle-Inclán.

On Wednesday, author Bernardo Atxaga and playwright Calixto Bieito presented Obabakoak at the National Drama Centre (CDN) in Madrid. The play, based on Atxaga’s eponymous novel, is slated to debut in Basque tomorrow with Spanish subtitles. There will be another three performances in Basque on the 26th, 27th and 28th of October at Teatro Valle-Inclán.

Atxaga’s 1980 novel Obabakoak plunges readers into the literary universe of Obaba, a fictional geography not unlike García Marquéz’ Macondo or Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha. The stories in Obaba tell of the geography teacher who recalls his love affair with a woman he only knows through letters, the young teacher learning to ward off loneliness, the relationship between a canon and a child lost in the forest, and the writer who turns his life around with the discovery of an astonishing detail in an enlarged old school photo.

Obabakoak is the most widely recognized Basque novel in recent decades, now translated into more than 30 languages and winner of numerous awards. In 2005 the book was also made into a film titled Obaba, directed by Montxo Armendariz.

Now Calixto Bieito, artistic director for Bilbao’s Teatro Arriaga has brought the novel to the stage, bringing to life characters who, in his words “are like human landscapes full of love, desire, memories, fears and uncertainties”. The synopsis tells us that these are “stories that take place in that far-off primitive world of our childhood where the name Freud is not in our vocabulary”.

The play is a production of the Arriaga Theatre of Bilbao, featuring a cast includin Joseba Joseba Apaolaza, Ylenia Baglietto, Gurutze Beitia, Ainhoa Etxebarria, Miren Gaztañaga, Iñake Irastorza, Idoia Merodio, Itziar Lazkano, Koldo Olabarri, Lander Otaola and Eneko Sagardoy.


Debut in Basque

The play will be presented in Basque, with the dialogue in Spanish displayed above the stage, on October 25th at 8pm at the Valle-Inclán Theatre. There will another three performances in Spanish on October 26th, 27th and 28th.

As part of an agreement with the Etxepare Basque Institute, every year the ‘Centro Dramático Nacional’ (National Drama Centre, or CDN) dedicates a space to Basque culture by producing a Basque play or including one in its calendar of events. On this occasion the CDN has joined forces with Etxepare to bring Obabakoak to audiences in its original language.

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