Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation


Teatr Zar
Start date
End date
Naves Matadero
Nave 11. Sala Fernando Arrabal
Teatr ZAR’s new show, Medeas. On Getting Across, directed by Jarosław Fret, premiered in October 2016 at the last International Theatre Olympics.
Teatr ZAR’s new show, Medeas. On Getting Across, directed by Jarosław Fret, premiered in October 2016 at the last International Theatre Olympics, organised by the Grotowski Institute in Wroclaw.
It’s a performance whose musical dramaturgy is woven with Arabic, Persian and Kurdish songs, performed by guest singers from Cairo, Teheran and Istanbul, in which words also carry weight and represent the fate that refugees meet with. It’s an uninterrupted sequence of actions and installations that come together in a poetic vision of rejection. It’s not political theatre but rather an intimate exploration of the experience of being rejected.   “We show Medea out of time, out of the myth, exploring a problem that’s as universal as it is vitally contemporary: migration. We convey the impossibility of crossing the borders of our own selves, created with the line of our bodies which move between sky and sea, continents and people. Today Medea could be a refugee at the gates of Europe, and when we began this process we didn’t know that it would turn into a sort of liturgical text for all those whose names we will never know who are dying on the way to Europe. A lament associated with mourning and with accompanying the dead. A polyphonic structure that comes from the Caucasus, from the same place as Medea, which is the essence of Teatr ZAR”, explains its director, Fret.   The space in which Medeas. On Getting Across unfolds is transformed into a place where observation, memory, lament and availability come together, with all of the associated dangers, to establish a vertical and spiritual connection and to feel that what is being experienced is not simply part of an aesthetic creation, but rather of life itself.
“Thanks to its multilingual and multienergetic composition, Medeas becomes a silent liturgy outside any religion, devoid of any dogma or theology. This is the same liturgy, although it takes place in the theatre, as that which arises in each of our hearts when we set foot on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea”, says Fret.
About Teatr Zar
Teatr ZAR was formed at the Jerzy Grotowski Institute (Poland) over the course of research expeditions to Georgia between 1999 and 2003. On these trips they compiled a large amount of musical material, and in their opinion they may have found the oldest polyphonic compositions in the world. “Zar” is the name of the funeral songs sung by the Svans, a people of the highlands of the Caucasus region in northeast Georgia). Teatr ZAR aims to prove that theatre should not only be seen but that –above all– it needs to be heard.   Its performances are part of a long process of research, travel, personal exploration and transformation. Once again, they bring us theatre as it used to be, before the art splintered into different disciplines and styles, tackling songs that in our era seem to be reserved solely for religion, drawing on the Polish Romantic belief that the aim of this art form is not just to complement the religious movement but also to be able to fill the dynamic void between daily life and transcendence. Juliusz Osterwa, one of the few who tried to put these ideas into practice and whose thinking inspired J. Grotowski, said: “God created theatre for those for whom the Church wasn’t enough”.
Teatr ZAR’s first big hit was its Gospel of Childhood trilogy. Produced between 2003 and 2009, it was the culmination of research spanning over ten years and of the evolution of the company itself. It premiered in the Barbican Centre in London and toured cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Florence, etc. It was named Best New Music Theatre by the Los Angeles Times and was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012, where it won the Total Theatre Award in the physical theatre category as well as the Herald Angel Award. In 2011 the group began to focus on the project Armine, Sister, dedicated to the history and culture of the Armenian nation which occupies Anatolia and the extermination of Armenians carried out in the early 20th century. The project was developed via expeditions and research into Armenian history and tradition, and one of its key concepts is to tackle the question of taboo and the hypocrisy of history contrasted against the duty to give testimony.   Photo (c) Maciej Zakrzewski

Created by: Simona Sala and Jarosław Fret Musical Dramaturgy: Jarosław Fret Performer: Simona Sala Singers: Fatma Emara, Marjan Vahdat, Selda Őztűrk Choir: Aleksandra Kotecka, Tomasz Wierzbowski, Orest Sharak, Davit Baroyan, Jarosław Fret Text: Dimitris Dimitriadis  
Premiered in Wroclaw (Poland) 2013
Spanish premiere 
Artistic team and specifications
50 minutes.
Traditional songs from Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Corsica and Sardinia.