#Europe21 is a trilogy of short films filmed entirely in a theatre. With theatres closed and the sector having been heavily impacted by the current situation, Teatro Multilingue have decided to combine their two main fields of work and create three original products for cinema. Not only do these three short films explore the use and mixing of several languages in the same context, but they also deal with significant events of our current European reality, from enlarged families, to political and social events, to meaningful facts of history whose long echo keeps resounding in today’s Europe.
#Europe21 is an interesting theatrical experiment, and one which has pursued the unique idea of combining film and theatre. It's an extremely ambitious project, primarily due to its three-part nature. The ambition certainly pays off however, and the end result is an extraordinary piece of theatre and film. Beyond the fact that #Europe21 is a trilogy, the production is also noteworthy for having a multi-lingual script. Yet again, this too is somewhat rare, and unlike anything I have previously encountered. It was an intriguing idea however, and it proved very effective.
The first play in the trilogy is entitled 'Goodbye Papá', which explores what it is like to lose an estranged Father at a young age and the subsequent feelings of grief. The study of grief in this short film is fascinating, particularly when one considers the global aspect of it. The play shows that, no matter what country we're from, we all go through those same feelings of sorrow. The film was extremely well edited, which was something that was particularly prominent during the opening montage. Everything from the camera angles to the added use of music were flawlessly put together, thus strengthening the overall effectiveness of the production. Overall, I personally felt that Goodbye Papá was the strongest entry to the #Europe21 trilogy, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it was easy to immerse yourself in the story, and this was further aided by strong performances from the two lead actors.
The second entry is 'Mrs. Green', which revolved around Britain's departure from the European Union and the effect that this had on migrants. The political themes featured in this piece were well portrayed, and the narrative felt very life like. It was easy to picture this as being a true tale, which speaks volumes to how effective the writing truly was. Even with Brexit behind us, it was a relevant story that needed to be told. My one slight criticism of this piece would have been the way in which it was edited. The camerawork of Mrs. Green is styled in a certain way to make it seem that horizontal lines were appearing across the screen. It is not entirely clear what purpose this serves, and it can at times be a distraction. As a result, whilst this is by no doubt an excellent play, it could benefit from different camerawork.
The third and final short film to be featured is 'He perdido a Marseille', which is of a historical nature. It explores the life of a Spanish refugee who has moved to France as a result of the Spanish Civil War, thus taking place in the 1930's. The piece was extremely well-written, providing an interesting commentary on what life would have been like during those tenuous times, especially when in part of the resistance. The acting was particularly strong in this play, with Mayil Georgi's portrayal of María Luisa being an overall highlight. Georgi was intriguing to watch, providing a clear sense of character in the limited run time.
These were three excellent pieces of theatre and film, and it was riveting to see something so fundamentally different to other pieces of online theatre. With the end of the pandemic now in sight, hopefully these shows will soon be able to take place in front of a live audience.
Thanks for reading!
-The Basic Theatre Reviewer