Britain: play on Spanish civil war


Ay Carmela, film posterFrom London daily The Morning Star:

Protecting the spirit of Spain

(Tuesday 14 November 2006)

THEATRE

AY CARMELA! The Shaw Theatre, London NW1

TOM MELLEN reviews Ay Carmela, a stage tribute to the International Brigades.

Seventy years ago, Yorkshire communists led a campaign to gather food and clothing for the people of Spain, who were engaged in a titanic struggle to defeat the fascist highjacking of their young democratic republic.

The Yorkshire district of the Communist Party helped to launch a food ship which sailed up the Ouse to York, where, according to international brigader and communist Geoffrey Mansfield, ”it elicited a huge response from the local people, who filled the ship with food, blankets and clothing.”

So it is fitting that York Theatre Royal is renewing the bonds of solidarity by putting on Steve Trafford’s translation of eminent Spanish playwright Jose Sanchis Sinisterra‘s play Ay Carmela!

Sadly, Mansfield died this year on August 4, a week before rehearsals for Ay Carmela! began.

And now his daughter Elizabeth, cast as Carmela, is playing her part to ensure that the struggle of her father and the rest of the 35,000 international brigaders, 2,100 of whom came from Britain, is remembered.

Carmela is the heroine of a rich Spanish folk tradition, a Latin star who represents Spain in the same way that Britannia represents Britain.

She is evoked in the Republican anthem Viva la Quince Brigada (Long Live the 15th Brigade).

Movie based on this play: here.

6 thoughts on “Britain: play on Spanish civil war

  1. One of my best friends lived next door to a famous American Lincoln Brigade member. I forget his name, but he lost one arm in Spain. He was locally famous as a one armed piano player. He was active in the labor movement and he would play the piano and sing labor songs. A great old guy.

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