Q&A with Carlota Gavino of Grumelot performing #sobrejulieta
Tell us about your show?
#sobrejulieta is a solo longing to be a dialogue, aiming to be an encounter with the audience, based on Romeo and Juliet. Carlota plays Juliet and falls in love with the audience every night. It’s a sort of scientific experiment that tries to answer the question: is it actually possible to fully fall in love at first sight with a stranger?
What was the inspiration behind it?
Our love for Shakespeare and the brutal, sexy words of Romeo and Juliet was the first impulse. I had wanted to produce a Romeo and Juliet since 2009. I first tried a version for 6 actors, then two years later a version for 3 actors, then a version for 2, and finally we realized I had to do it alone. With the audience.
What’s particularly special about your show?
Perhaps the intimate relationship between the performer and the audience through words; the superposition of languages: Shakespeare’s text, the scientific understanding of love and the biographical experiences of the performer; the fact that the audience changes the show every night just with their presence in their sits.
It requires the audience to be more than just spectators, are they always eager to be involved?
Any particular anecdotes from previous performances?
Even though we do request an active participation from the audience we try not to be aggressive, and we accept the rules: the audience have their space and the performer has hers, so we feel audiences have been very receptive and willing to experience the story and engage in the journey.
We’ve even had some Romeos from the audience getting up to kiss me in the middle of the performance! Those have been very special moments.
What three words would you use to describe your show?
Exciting, emotional and alive.
Has theatre always been something you have wanted to do?
Yes! Absolutely! When I was 7 years old I wanted to be part of my school theatre group, but I couldn’t as the group was for kid over 10. I made placards and protested at my school’s entrance for 5 consecutive days till they let me in with my first role ever: Peter Pan’s Wendy.
What are you looking forward to most about the Best of BE tour?
Performing in front of an audience from a different culture, with different backgrounds… Encountering British audiences and seeing how they interact with the show.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
It’s difficult to say just one name! Many people I’ve worked with have changed me. My partners in Grumelot Iñigo Rodríguez-Claro and Javier Lara have been a great influence for me. At Drama School in Madrid Mariano Gracia taught me all the essentials. I guess we all had a teacher that somewhow defines you and your way of working. Also I had the opportunity to work with Brigid Panet and Katya Benjamin, amazing British drama and movement teachers, and they really did change my live and the way I understood acting.
Have you had a stand-out moment in your career to date?
Performing at the Lincoln Center in New York with the Spanish Centro Dramático National was pretty impressive. But at this moment, touring the UK performing our own piece at the Barbican Centre seems like the actual highlight of our career really!
One of the hardest things in this job is…
Making a living out of it. In Spain it’s very difficult to survive as an independent artist.
The thing I love most about theatre is…
I guess this is nothing original but I think what I love most is the fact that theatre is all about “encountering”, about “connecting” with the audience, with your partners on stage, or with the texts on which you work.