‘The never-ending story’ starts now (in Barcelona) | Entertainment | The USA Print

'The never-ending story' starts now (in Barcelona)

We could have brought the dragon in this plot to life in the Chinese way, with a stick, but it wouldn’t have been up to the magic of The endless story . Because the creatures there are essential…”, says Dario Regattieri, referring to Fújur, the lucky white dragon that appears in Michael Ende’s fantastic novel. And whoever says Fújur ​​says, for example, Vetusta Morla, the giant tortoise that inhabits the swamps of sadness and that should be credible in this adaptation of a work that marked an entire generation of children in the eighties. Or the Carreras snail, the horse Artax and the Rock Eater. The title now arrives, in November (and it will be there until April), at the Apolo de Barcelona, ​​-after a successful season in Madrid- turned into a musical and with a local cast of 30 artists on stage (14 are children), plus a dozen of musicians scattered throughout the audience and remotely following the instructions of the musical director.


Musical theater play ‘The Neverending Story’

EDITORIAL / Other sources

Those are the reasons that have led the producer of this show to become the first crazy who dares to introduce animatronics in the theater. Until now, this robotic technique that simulates the behavior of living beings with mechanical dolls had been used in cinema and other virtual media, according to Regattieri himself. But in a live show it is all much more demanding. Those who, from inside these gigantic dolls –Jújur is made with 50 meters of stuffed fabric and weighs 600 kilos– manage their movements and facial expressions, or are in charge of making them speak, frown and raise an eyebrow in a very organic and tender, they have to maintain total synchrony… “Only blinking is the product of an automatic device,” confesses this German-Swiss producer with an Italian surname and living in Spain, who leads the production company Beon Entertainment and who has relied on Kreat FX to Create the animatronics.

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After the success in Madrid, the production company aspires to export this first test of animatronics in theater to the West End

It is not, mind you, an adaptation of Wolfgang Petersen’s film of the same name. The 1984 film includes only the first part of the book, although with a handcrafted work of monsters created by hand that was commendable. And as far as the other two subsequent film adaptations are concerned, they don’t even follow the storyline of the book, just keeping the characters. Instead, this musical has departed from the original about the boy victim of bullying who escapes reality by entering a fantastic novel. And it remains faithful from start to finish to the well-translated novel (Miguel Sáenz translated it into Spanish, and Francesca Martínez Planas into Catalan), with the libretto in the hands of Félix Amador and the music in those of Iván Macías.

Part of the cast of 'The Neverending Story', the musical, during the presentation to the press in Barcelona

Part of the cast of ‘The Neverending Story’, the musical, during the presentation to the press in Barcelona

Pau Venting / Shooting

Regattieri has resorted, thus, to the same creative tandem of The time between seams, María Dueñas’s novel about the civil war that he himself had the idea of ​​turning into a musical. They are also the ones who carried out the successful the doctor, about Noah Gordon’s bestseller. “Because theater is one more form of communication,” adds Regattieri, an expert in marketing and “in telling stories that make people feel.” Federico Barrios Fierro is once again the choreographer and artistic director.

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‘The neverending story’ arrives in November and will be until April

J. Chavero / F4 Photo

Do you want to capture the eighties spirit in your choreographies?

“Not only. For me it is a memory of what I did when I was little, but updated, to make it stronger, and trying to ensure that each number has a choreography with its own personality”, comments this Argentine who trained in dance both in Buenos Aires and in New York. or at the Aula de Barcelona school.

Eight boys and girls alternate to give life to the protagonist, Bastian, while Josean Moreno gives life to Fújur ​​or Elena González to the Childish Empress. They sing 16 songs that are part of the soundtrack, including the mythical theme The Neverending Story . And they perform in an enveloping environment, involving the audience, they say. The cost of production is three million euros. And the intention is to export it to the West End. “From Asia they are showing a lot of interest in the piece,” says the producer, determined to turn this country into an exporter of its own musicals.

The Teatre Apolo, upside down

Because of its size, the musical The Neverending Story should be staged on stages the size of an opera house. For this reason, the production company is carrying out these days an exercise of adaptability to the characteristics of the Teatre Apolo. “Regarding the Calderón in Madrid, here we have more space in the shoulders and greater depth”, says Dario Regattieri. So they have started work to use that part of the scenic basement of the Paral·lel room. Something that does not seem to worry Jordi Arquer, owner of the Apolo since they decided to acquire it together with Enrique Salaberría in 2020, with the pandemic looming. “Producers usually want titles with ready-made marketing, but Beon is betting on creating titles from scratch. We, who have seven other theaters in Madrid, love this type of partner. Works like this make the Apollo great and make Barcelona great”.

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