The protagonist of his theatre was the verb. Among the work of his colleagues of the realist generation, that of Antonio Gala [who died this Sunday at the age of 92] stands out for its lyrical imprint. Like them, he wanted to put his finger on the wound of a Spain eager for changes, but without neglecting style: his prose is expressive, cultured and very popular at the same time. He mastered language much better than theatrical carpentry and inner action. Already in Los verdes campos del Edén (1963), his debut film, received by the public with fervor, and in El sol en el hormiguero (1965), a political fable about the eternal divorce between people and power, the Gala writer of ingenious replicas and successful phrases overflowed the playwright.
The inhabited reality of Antonio Gala
The Good Lost Days (1972), National Prize for Literature, drama announcing the Transition (in which it speaks of a parish depleted by the sacristan and his wife, evident allegory of Francoist Spain and a regime in the process of decomposition), has from the current perspective another reading, because we are already installed in full right in that longed-for Orleans of which Gala speaks (allegory of Europe), in which a joyful ringing was supposed to scare away sorrows and hardships.
By economic imperatives and in pursuit of popular favor, Gala was derived from a committed theater, in which Spain, its history and its circumstances are represented allegorically (case of La vieja señorita del paraíso, Petra Regalada and El cementerio de los pájaros, integral pieces of the 'Trilogy of freedom', and the much less fortunate El hotelito , farce about autonomies and relations with the EU), towards another more in line with the majority tastes of the viewer, convinced that his deep socio-political concerns would find a better way out through the series of articles he published in EL PAÍS and La tronera, from where he shot in El Independiente and then in El Mundo.
Portrait of the novelist Antonio Gala in the eighties. Maria Moreno
The writer Antonio Gala poses at home with one of his dogs in July 1963. Marisa (Marisa / Europa Press / ContactoPhoto)
From left, Antonio Gala, Alejo Carpentier and Antonio Buero Vallejo, in an audience at the Palacio de la Zarzuela, in 1978.Marisa Flórez
The writer Antonio Gala, with his collection of walking sticks, in a report of EL PAÍS SEMANAL published in December 1979. Cesar Lucas
The writer Antonio Gala reads a manifesto against Spain's entry into NATO, at an event in Madrid in March 1986.Luis Magán
Antonio Gala with his dog at his home in Madrid, in 1997. Luis Magán
Antonio Gala portrayed in Madrid, in 1998.Luis Magán
Concha Velasco and Antonio Gala, in the presentation of the play 'Las mañanas del viernes', at the Teatro Apolo in Barcelona in 1999.Silvia T. Colmenero
Antonio Gala, at a book signing at the Madrid Book Fair, in 2001.Santi Burgos
The writer Antonio Gala (left) and the bullfighter Morante de la Puebla talk in Alhaurín el Grande (Málaga), in 2006.Julián Rojas Ocaña
Writers Antonio Gala (left) and José Saramago applaud dancer Matilde Coral at the Guadalajara Book Fair (Mexico) in 2006.EDUARDO ABAD (EFE)
Antonio Gala portrayed in Malaga, in 2012.Julián Rojas
Antonio Gala, at a conference at the Antonio Gala Foundation in Córdoba, in October 2016.PACO PUENTES
Of "discursive and bookish", but "preferable to the theater that only has good carpentry and excess of effects", described Eduardo Haro Tecglen, critic of this house, his Seneca or the benefit of the doubt (1987), and I bring here his reflection because it coincides with those that, in other words, made not a few colleagues about so many premieres of Gala. Carmen, Carmen, a magazine with which Concha Velasco surpassed the success of Mamá, quiero ser artista, is the only one of her three librettos that went on stage.
José Luis Alonso, Manuel Collado, José Carlos Plaza, Miguel Narros... There has been no lack of good directors at the Gala theater, nor better performers, nor great set designers, nor indicated productions, nor amateur or semi-professional groups that continue to go up every year Rings for a lady or other titles equally located in the collective memory of two generations. His favorite themes (loneliness, frustrated freedom, emotional exile and the improbability of finding a refuge that saves us from the hostility of the world, whether it is in the family pantheon of The Green Fields of Eden or in a corner of Orleans or Samarkand) double for him, but they will play again to rebuttal.