October 05, 2008

The Spanish Civil War.

I'm going to try and give a brief summary of the Spanish Civil War in order to give some background knowledge to what's happening on stage. As the translator, David Johnston pointed out that the Civil War enters the theatre very quickly. So quickly in fact you have to wonder whether the actors and spectators would not have been aware of it earlier. Anyway, so the Civil War. It ran from July 1936 until April 1939 and pretty much devastated Spain. It ended with the victory of the Rebel Nationalists led by the fascist dictator General Fransisco Franco and the defeat of the Republicans. The Republicans supported the idea of a liberal democracy, the Nationalists in comparison opposed this seperatist movement and were largely defined by their anti-communism. The nationalists were generally wealthier, held more important jobs and Catholic.

I only mention this because it is something i've been thinking about a lot with regards to my character. Initially I couldn't find any sort of motivation for his behaviour. The character seemed full of inconsistencies, at one point he comforts his wife, yet five minutes ater he shoots someone dead. I didn't know whether this was because the play was unfinished and the character unclearly defined. But after researching the idea of Spanish nationalism it seemed to fit with my character's mindset. Someone who feels supremely confident that they are in the right, and therefore feel relaxed enough to go to the theatre, but when the war breaks in and confronts them, panics and kills a man in what he feels is self-defence. I think Spectator two is a character in a state of flux. He is obviously very religous and uses this to defend the killing of the worker, this would fit with the nationalist mentality. Yet there is a problem; we've not to set the play in Spain in 1939. Instead it's set in a seperate, undefined world, in which the war is just a war not necessarily the Civil war. So would a character have a nationalist mindset? Perhaps it would seem out of place. We'll have to see.

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