Los juegos feroces (El día del Watusi, vol.1)

If 20th-century Barcelona has a cult novel, then it’s surely the one that portrayed the city’s history between the 1970s and the 1990s. Grec Festival hosts the premier of the work’s first adaptation for theatre, with musical interludes.

Unbalanced, feverish, passionate… These are the words the actor, director, scriptwriter and creator of this production, Ivan Morales, uses to describe the series of books, published between 2002 and 2003 by the writer Francisco Casavella. The three-volume collection portrays the life of Fernando Atienza, a representative of a Barcelona that was at the forefront of comics, literature and the arts, while remaining invisible in the worlds of theatre, cinema and television. The Barcelona portrayed in this novel has been buried under other stories; hence the importance of recovering it so that we are better able to reflect on the origin of so many of our present day experiences. Fernando Atienza transports us to a childhood in the shanty towns of Montjuïc, an adolescence among the powerful figures of the Transition and a young adulthood with an Olympic background, divided between the bohemian life of Plaça Reial and the well-to-do bourgeoisie of Sant Gervasi. Running through all of these experiences is the legend of the Watusi, a kind of hero, or rather, a neighbourhood anti-hero who fuels the protagonist’s imaginary world… He speaks to us of our city with poetry and humour, with sincerity and a desire to unveil, with a romantic undercurrent that sounds like funk and rumba, that smells of tobacco, a punk concert, and the urine on the corner of the Plaza Real.

These scents and atmospheres are brought to the stage by Ivan Morales. During Grec 2023, Morales will offer us a preview of the theatrical version of El día del Watusi, which will be presented next season at Teatre Lliure. This semi-staged production takes the form of a lay mass in honour of the messiah Watusi, during which the adaptation of the first volume of the novel, Los juegos feroces (The Ferocious Games), will be presented. Since it will take place on El Paral·lel – an avenue with a historical relationship with music and variety shows – there will be moments to listen or even dance to the rhythm of the music played by Ivan Morales himself. 

Atienza is played by Enric Auquer, an actor from Rupià (Baix Empordà) who in 2020 won the award for Best New Actor at the Goya film awards for his performance in Paco Plaza’s thriller Quien a hierro mata. In addition to the Goya for this film, he won a Feroz Award, a Gaudí Award and a Medal from the Círculo de Escritores Cinematográficos. He also won the Biznaga de Plata at the Malaga Festival for his work in the 2021 film Fuga. And for the series Vida perfecta he won two Ondas and two Feroz awards. This will be the performer’s first full starring role in a theatre production. 

A co-production of the Grec 2023 Festival de Barcelona, Los Montoya and Cassandra Projectes Artístics. 

Barcelona Crea grant.

Author: Francisco Casavella

Adaptation and direction: Ivan Morales

Performers: Enric Auquer, Àlex Monner, Xavi Sáez, David Climent, Bruna Cusí (rest of the cast, in progress)

Assistant director: Júlia Barbany

Dramaturgy consultant: Martí Sales

Composer: Jordi Busquets

Production management: Júlia Simó Puyo

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