Sirera, Rodolf

Sirera, Rodolf
b. 1948, Valencia
   Playwright
   Rodolf Sirera is the best-known Valencian dramatist of the post-Civil War period. He took a committed political stance during the later years of Francoism, and his plays also confront questions of Valencian cultural and linguistic identity. He was a founding member of the Valencia theatre group El Rogle, which has performed a number of his works, and he has coauthored several plays with his brother Josep-Lluís.
   Like Benet i Jornet, Sirera was influenced by Brechtian theatre in his early works. An example is La pau (retorna a Atenes) (Peace (Returns to Athens)), which was performed by El Rogle in 1973. It contains voiced subtitles for each scene, satirical songs and the projection of slides. However, there is also a good deal of parodic humour, which is characteristic of a number of Sirera's plays, such as Homenatge a Florentí Montfort (Homage to Florentí Montfort) (1971).
   Sirera's best plays are probably Plany en la mort d'Enric Ribera (Lament for the Death of Enric Ribera) (1972) and The Audition (El verí del teatre) (1978). Although Plany is a political play, it is also technically ambitious, and challenging for any director. The Audition, Sirera's most successful play to date, is set in Paris in 1784. An aristocrat invites an actor to his home to perform Socrates" death scene. Having been dissatisfied by Gabriel's first performance, the Marquis leads him into believing that the wine he drank earlier was in fact poison and that Gabriel will receive the antidote only if his next performance is adequate. After his second performance, the Marquis gives his victim another drink which is not the antidote, but a real, deadly poison for which there is no cure. The final death scene takes place after the play has ended. The Audition subtly and ironically explores questions of identity, and of the theatre itself, which is presented as a form of drug. It is a long way from the social realism of the 1960s, and points the way to the type of drama written since the mid-1980s by such Catalan playwrights as Sergi Belbel.
   See also: theatre
   Further reading
   - London, J. (1996) "Josep Lluis and Rodolf Sirera", supplement to Sirera, R., "Drama and Society", in D.George and J. London (eds) An Introduction to Contemporary Catalan Theatre, Sheffield: Anglo- Catalan Society, 1996 (sets Sirera in the context of post-Civil War Catalan social drama).
   - Sirera, R. (1988) El verí del teatre; trans. J.London, The Audition, in Plays International, 3, 12: 54–8 (English translation of one of Sirera's best plays).
   DAVID GEORGE

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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