Carmela and Paulino, a couple of travelling entertainers, mistakenly cross the border that separates the two opposing sides of the Spanish Civil War. Both actors will be forced to improvise a theatrical evening to celebrate the defeat of the enemy. What begins as an entertaining tribute to the victors ends as a tragic comedy. Paula Paz is a theatre director and a former professional ballet dancer.
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The work portrays a company with a variety show production, made up of Carmela, Paulino and Gustavete, which travels up and down Spain with its wagon and crosses the front without realising it from the Republican to the Franco side. When they are surprised by the Franco troops they have to improvise a theatrical performance in honour of the fascist army, which ends in tragedy. The author takes us to a confused space dominated by fear and aggression. The work became very popular in , when the director Carlos Saura adapted it to the screen.
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This play by an award-winning Spanish dramatist is about two Republican entertainers caught in Nationalist territory during the Spanish Civil War. Now there is a chance to see it in the original Spanish as well as in the English translation reviewed here. Paulino Ivanhoe Norona is an operatic tenor who, due to the war situation, has been made to get a living as a variety artiste touring with his flamenco dancer wife Carmela Madalena Alberto , exploiting a talent he is ashamed of: being able to fart at will. That may sounds like a comedy, but this is the opposite, for Nationalist forces made a rapid advance and the couple found themselves in the hands of the Fascists. Director Paula Paz gives us a reminder of the situation with a montage of film clips as a prologue of marching soldiers, suffering civilians, battle scenes and atrocities. The play proper starts with a glimpse of Carmela sitting at a piano before she gets up and disappears into darkness. Then Paulino enters, shuffling forward across the dark stage to switch on the stage lights.