As a poet I’m always excited to be exposed to an exponent of mine art ancient art which I have never come across before. I was delighted, then, to find myself sat down in Edinburgh’s Playhouse immersed in the poetry of the seminal 20th century polymath, Frederico Garcia Lorca. Poet, musician, playwright & lover, he grew from humble rustic beginnings to become one of the most beautiful poets to elucidate the culture of Spain. Alas, his life was cut short by the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), his outspoken liberal views making him the target of the Fascist murder-gangs on 19 August 1936.
His story, & of course his wonderful creative muse, made him a perfect choice to be included somewhere in this year’s war-themed EIF. Giving himself the job of truly elucidating Lorca’s lyrical genius, flamenco genius Paco Pena has weighed heavily on Lorca’s reclamation of Andulusian folklore & songs, & converted them into a wonderful two hour show. While his group strummed guitars & clapped their way through the material, a man & a woman danced elitely to the music, & i really did feel as if I was sat in an olive grove, the fire burning, the wine flowing, & the panorama melting into the sunset & teh Meditteranean Sea.
An excellent addition to the show was the epic visual projection at the back of the stage, which showed in grimy shadowy detail scenes from the Civil War. Then occasionally, Lorca’s poetry would be read out in English, its translated text shimmering in & out of the backdrop. This is perhaps the most powerful performance of poetry I have ever seen, & I know Lorca would wonder at modernity’s ability to eke out the ambrosia of his soul.
Reviewer : Damo Bullen