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November 21, 2014
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The ‘Holy Theatre’

By Victoria Eandi
Herald staff
As an anticipation of the final stage of his own life, Alfredo Alcón’s last presence on the stage was in no less than Endgame by Samuel Beckett, which he performed and directed in the San Martín Theatre — which he considered his home. This play deals with, among other topics, the certainty and, at the same time, the uncertainty that death brings about, and also the vacuity and the collapse of the world. In this suffocating, empty and grey world, he played Hamm, a sort of decadent king, paralyzed and blind, whose throne is in fact a wheelchair. This character was Alcón’s farewell to the world of theatre: maybe not by chance he portrayed this twilight creature, many times linked to King Lear, also played in 2009 by Alcón.

As it always happened with his performances, his sole presence on the stage, even if he was still and silent, irradiated a special magnetism, which forced the viewers to concentrate their attention on his figure. When he started to say his lines, the whole audience would be captivated by his voice, which filled every corner of the theatre. The whole unfolding of the character was so natural and fluid, that he brought all the anguish and harshness, but also the humour, characteristic of Beckett’s poetic world, to the here-and-now of the stage.

Even if he was going through a dusk moment regarding his age and health, Alcón confirmed with his Hamm those magical and mysterious features that were proved once and again throughout his long thespian career. This giant of an actor had what it takes to deliver those stage moments that Peter Brook defined as “Holy Theatre”: “The Theatre of the Invisible-Made-Visible: the notion that the stage is a place where the invisible can appear has a deep hold on our thoughts.”

@victoriaeandi

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