I left yesterday for archaeology and I’m still here for a while.
How to conciliate archaeology and theatre? So … I think about it.
I work on it, I work on it – yes, I do.
I don’t know how to work in the abstract – it’s by telling you about Empuriès – I’ll take the spelling of the site – that maybe I’ll see how to do it.
Empuriès is very close to the Pyrenees – but yes – but on the Spanish side – exactly on the South Catalan side. The people of the region are very attentive to these details – so I specify.
If you go there for tourism, you will have been invited to visit Figueres – place of Dali and his amazing museum – & Cadaques – the day you will enter the Church of Cadaques, I swear you will understand absolutely all the painting of Dali.
A little further on the coast, the so famous Costa Brava, a little lost, there are the excavations of Empuriès.
Like all the great ancient dwellings, there are several layers, several waves of settlement, and you see the eras mixing and it gives a very interesting effect.
These are not the incredible ruins of Troy. They are the remains of cities of craftsmen, fishermen, of all those people who worked to send their products to the great cities of the Empire – Rome of course, but not only.
It is a city of sailors, which prospered as long as the Via Domitia had not been built. Then it slowly died out.
And what’s interesting is that many of the workshops are still very well preserved – the underground tanks to have a cool temperature where they stored the fish – they are … huge and still almost in a condition to be reused.
We still don’t know who had the idea – brilliant or crazy – to hide the statue of Aesculapius in one of these vats – but the statue has crossed the centuries without a wrinkle.
This was the first City, a Greek city called Neapolis. There are even systems to purify the water – because the problem of the fishermen’s cities was the water, which was spoiled by all the organic waste.
After that, the Romans developed the village considerably –
They built the Roman city on the heights – and yes, even the mosaics on the floors were preserved and are still in their original places. They are protected 90% of the time by tarpaulins and you won’t see anything – but they are there, under the tarpaulins that keep them from the sand of high winds days and rains.
The Roman city is particularly well preserved – forum, the baths, the temples – even the city walls – and at the entrance gate, my goodness, ladies and gentlemen, we understand that Empuriès was placed under the sign of the male profusion (it is well said not?).
The excavations are not finished at all – and you have in front of you, as far as the eye can see, fields to be excavated – because the archaeologists have delimited the contours of the city and its suburbs, and it was a very big city.
Perhaps the Venus found in Ille came from there.
What to do with all this? If I have to think of Empuriès in terms of a video game, there are millions of things to do, by going to steal everything that is on the spot. In relation to a show, what really interested me was all the work of the archaeologists.
Because in fact, they find themselves in situations that are not far from epic – they make incredible discoveries – they have moments of doubt and amazement even more frequent than mine – and if we invented that and associated it with a story where finding a trace of the past became a real issue for the characters, then we would have an exciting story where the God Aesculapius would have his place.
But, really? The story is almost ready, right? Can you imagine what it took in terms of faith, madness, strength, unconsciousness to go and put this statue, there, above, at the bottom of a fish tank? With the unbearable smell of decomposing fish? With the slippery walls – and then to go back up? With all the probability of breaking an ankle, if not both? Of being crushed by the marble? It was not a single man who did this – and they didn’t do it “quickly” – the statue is made of marble, not expanded polypropylene.
To do this, to protect it so much, this statue had much more power than the others – it is not a normal, classical statue.
And so the story, it almost unfolds itself.
All right, all right… that this is raw material to be exploited in its entirety to make something great.
But – now – I come back to my Altair hobby – while dreaming of a theatre linked to video games, we must also dream of shows linked to these young people. The ancient theme is major in games, the epic too – and the discovery scenarios are also very present.
On the other hand, there is not much in the way of shows yet.
Conclusion: we must not forget to invent shows for Altair, shows in its themes. And Empuriès can easily fit into this framework, with its curious story of a human-sized statue saved for centuries and centuries.
Featured Image : Empuries – Costa Brava – Spain.