CULTURE

‘Naval Battle’ coincides with upcoming Games

Dancers in midair, skirmishes on sails and masts, actors not afraid to dive into the sea, huge stage props and lots of rhythm. Don’t let the name confuse you: «Naval Battle,» the exciting show that «La Fura dels Baus» is presenting during the upcoming Athens 2004 Games, is no bellicose re-enactment of any landmark historic battle. On the contrary, the Barcelona-based experimental theater troupe, well known around Europe for its modernist adaptations of classic works, has come up with an impressive, multifaceted, universal production. The performance’s action unfolds on the deck of the Naumon, a 90-meter, out-of-commission ship. In fact, «Naval Battle» is just the beginning of a long journey that is to last no less than four years. The aim here is for the ship to sail across the seven seas until 2007, beginning with the Mediterranean this year. The complete version of «Naval Battle» will debut at the Barcelona Forum on May 20 – segments from the show have already been presented as part of the events of «Genoa – Cultural Capital of Europe 2004.» When will the Naumon reach Greece? So far, no dates have been announced regarding the ship’s arrival. What is certain, however, is that it will coincide with the Olympic Games. In its past life, the Naumon transported minerals to the Baltic and North seas. Today, the ship has been transformed into a mobile center of artistic and educational action. This means that besides staging the various shows, the boat is arranged in such as a way as to host exhibitions, workshops, presentations and concerts, among other events. «Naval Battle» is the first theme of the troupe’s «Amphibian Tetralogy» project. Next year, the Naumon will sail across the Atlantic with «Emigration.» In 2006, as the ship enters the Pacific, the theme will be «Memory,» while in 2007, the journey will come to an end in the Indian Ocean with «Gods.» It is hard to describe the Fura dels Baus show. Two characters appear on stage: The first one, Tamor, represents humankind; he is a traveler, undergoing age, sex and race transformations. The second character, De, represents the world and all its different aspects. The show is divided into four parts. In the first, the Catalan troupe offers its own take of the Creation. It begins with the idea of a scream, which is synonymous with darkness and chaos. The shout forms the universe, which in turn develops into a struggle between two opposing powers. In the second part of the show, the troupe tackles the creation of life. Three trees represent mythological tradition in combination with progress in technology, as reflected through recent accomplishments in genetics. The third part of the show is dedicated to man: A sculptor is working in the sea, carving a mermaid. Here the troupe takes a look at more existential matters, where the relationship between the creator and his creation becomes a parable of time and death. The final part of this intriguing production features two opposing, yet symbolic worlds, heaven and hell.