Alejandro Postigo (University of West London, UK)
The Copla Musical explores through audience interaction the artistic value of early twentieth-century Spanish folkloric song-form of Copla and its position in international theatre settings by merging Copla with elements found in Anglo-American musical theatre. Copla ceased to develop during Franco’s regime (1939-1975). Forty years later, The Copla Musical aims to rejuvenate Copla interculturally. The show questions how to share my Spanish experience of Copla with an international audience of diverse cultural backgrounds, and how to introduce Copla’s background as a storytelling form, a folkloric genre and a subversive tool in the Spanish twentieth-century zeitgeist, representing hope and resistance for queer and oppressed collectives. PaR has availed my position as an artist and researcher, allowing me to explore changing modes of readability from one culture to another. In this article, I will do a critical reflection about the development of The Copla Musical and its reception when presented in an international context both in English and Spanish. The Copla Musical places its focus in the engagement with audiences, challenging pre-existing conceptions of musical theatre and Copla as historically known. Being a PaR project, it has developed from its conception as a traditional musical into a solo piece and an interactive cabaret that now tours and performs to a diversity of international audiences. In 2019, it featured in the UK, Prague and Bulgaria to sold-out audiences of 150+. In this presentation, I plan to tackle cultural engagement, and discuss how I interrogate current definitions of intercultural and contemporary musical theatre in relation to queer and national identities through the making of this project.