Europe Edition

2023 number 3

Resilience - Cultural magazine

JESÚS CIMARRO, festival director of Mérida


In your opinion, what is the contribution of the International Festival of Classical Theater of Mérida today?

It provides a contemporary vision of the classic texts of Greco-Latin and Greco-Roman themes. This demonstrates that what was written two thousand years ago is still in force today.


With what criteria do you choose the programming of each year?

The criterion above all is that there is a variety in programming, where there is tragedy, comedy, if possible, a dance or music show. It can be interesting for a very wide range of public and that means that in the work in the artistic and technical teams there is that reality that I ask in the public. That there are actresses and veteran and young actors, and management teams, direction teams, artistic teams that mix youth and seniority.


Is the reinterpretation of the texts and the modernization of the forms allowed, or should they exactly follow the parameters of the time?

It is allowed because we commission the playwrights both young and consecrated their vision of the myths they are adapting.


What contribution does classical theater maintain that you think contemporary theater has lost?

I believe that contemporary theater arises from classical theater. That is, from the influence of Greco-Latin Greco-Roman culture, Molière, Shakespeare, Calderón de la Barca have drunk… That is, the great authors. At the moment I believe that contemporary authors continue to drink and continue to have those influences of classical texts.


According to the experience lived daily at the Festival, is the viewer in any way challenged to action or change by this type of theater or on the contrary invites him to a return to past belief systems, which could be appreciated as more valuable?

What I believe is that what we propose in this Festival is a vision of the classics with the contemporary look of today. That allows today’s audience to understand those classics.


What can you reveal to the spectator of the 21st century, the classical theater that is experienced at the Merida Theater Festival?

It reveals all the conflicts that humanity has had two thousand years ago and that they still have today: love, hate, affection… everything we live every day was already lived two thousand years ago.


In the selected works each year, are the issues of Tolerance and Inclusion present in any way, either by reflecting their existence or by manifesting the lack of these values?

They are in the different activities that the Festival does. This Festival is a festival of sensory accessibility, our motto is “for a theater for all audiences” where there is a magnetic loop, an audio description and a subtitling of the functions so that it has universal accessibility.


What is the treatment given to the issue of violence present in any of the texts, in the staging of the festival?

Obviously, the treatment depends on the director in its staging, but normally the violence is denounced as a fact that should not occur. And what is done is to show it to know what not to do.


For you, attending the Mérida Classical Theater Festival, is it an intellectual and elitist experience or does the festival accommodate a variety of audiences? How?

The festival that I have aim during these years is as wide and diverse as possible for the public. That is, I want all types of audiences to enjoy the programming.


In your opinion, in the selection of works and staging, it has been experienced aspects that contribute to empathy among human beings?

When we talk about jealousy and love with Fedra or incest, war in Philoctetes, or betrayal, they are universal themes that are lived daily.


In the representations in Mérida, several of which are tragedies, is it exposed or offered -in your way of seeing- some way out or alternative to the path of tragedy in the present and future evolution of the human being exposed in the underlying messages?

In some works, alternatives are given, proposals are given, different options are shown… and in others not.

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