ulio Manrique welcomes us at the entrance hall of Romea and swiftly engage in a conversation in the auditorium he knows so well, as he used to be its artistic director for three years. He even claims to have seen Margarita Xirgu’s ghost, roaming around through the boxes. And now he’s back at it, but directing T de Teatre, one of the longest-running companies in the Catalan scene, which celebrates its 25 years in the best possible way for a theatre company: performing. ‘E.V.A.’ is a dramatic comedy about four former classmates, a true insight into pain, its poetry and its forms.
Rosa Gàmiz, Carolina Morro, Marta Pérez, Carme Pla and Àgata Roca and a lot of water has flown under the bridge, since a quarter of a century ago a company with the name of a tea was created, has survived to the present day, by reinventing itself and relying on male directors. You can see them at Teatre Romea until 14 October.
JULIO MANRIQUE: THEATRE IN ITS PUREST FORM
If we think of a name in Catalan theatres, his is one of the first that springs to mind. A long time ago, Julio Manrique dropped his image of Mr. Nice Guy of Catalan tv soaps, to become one of the most renowned theatre actors and directors. He studied Law but, although he has never pursued such career, going to university was worth it: as it allowed him to discover his dramatic talent. Little did that 19-year-old boy, who made his debut with the support of Josep Maria Mestres, think that he could live with such divertimento. “I am really privileged and this is how I feel”, he admits.
Cinema, television, theatre … He dares to go into almost anything, but where he feels most comfortable is on stage. His passion for theatre has enabled him to face performing a classic like Sophocles’ Oedipus, but also directing an acid piece of work on social criticism like David Mamet’s Another film. Manrique does not shy away from challenges and defends a theatre philosophy based on curiosity, not as a world-changing tool, but as a power to “move consciences”. He ignores how many works he has directed or performed in, but he certainly does not have enough fingers in his hands to count all of them. Both obsessive and disciplined, he looks forward to a season loaded with projects including a cameo in a Netflix series. Manrique has recently become a father for the third time and it is next to his children and friends where he is recharging his batteries and manages to “touch ground”.