Of Appearance and Disappearance: Theatre and Barcelona (Catalunya invisible, Part II)


This essay is about the relationship between place and stage and between landscape and theatre, about the extent to which theatrical space can become a place of collective self-recognition, and about what the portrayal of home and the construction of locality reveal in terms of a playwright’s sense of self, identity, and culture. This is a coda of sorts to a recent essay in which I employed the term Catalunya invisible to describe a phenomenon that had emerged on the post-Franco Catalan stage during the decades of the 1980s and 1990s. Catalunya invisible refers to a paradoxical situation in which the city of Barcelona —or Catalunya, for that matter— as an image, notion, rhetorical figure, or poetic trope seemed to have all but vanished from the contemporary Catalan stage (specifically, from the realm of text-based drama). I began to wonder why this had occurred and whether it was possible to read signs of presence in what was seemingly an absence, signs of appearance in what was ostensibly a disappearance. It is a situation that, I believe, deserves revisiting in light of recent developments, for it appears as though Catalunya, in this new millennium, is gradually becoming visible on the stage once again.

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Copyright © 2004 North American Catalan Society. This article first appeared in Catalan Review: Barcelona and Modernity 18, no. 1-2 (2004): 161-80.

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