“There is no Netflix in the theater.” With these words between resignation (because of the state of the cinema) and euphoria (because of the project that he has in hand), Antonio Banderas announced on Monday that the company APS had been inaugurated before the press, which, together with the composer -in addition to myth– Andrew Lloyd Webber, is preparing not so much to revolutionize the musical as to, given the case, reinvent it, but in Spanish. “It is important,” added the actor, “that each work adapts to its place because the Spanish of Argentina is different from that of Mexico or Spain.”
“It’s about joining forces to achieve the same quality as the shows in London’s West End or New York’s Broadway, but in our language,” said the actor who has been rehearsing a more or less modest scale what he wants from now on to be planetary. The key words are, therefore, Spanish, international and, as he repeated several times, excellence.
At his side, veteran Andrew Lloyd Webber with titles to his credit such as Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera or Cats not only agreed with him, but also upped the ante. “People no longer simply go to see a play at the theater, but instead look for a complete experience,” said the British composer and producer for making it clear that it is not just about translating the more or less classical pieces and many of them adapted to the cinema as, one step further, promoting new projects, new works, new writings and new forms. “I still remember when I went to see a play and, in the classic way, I did not move from my place on the first floor. Everything was tremendously boring for me. And so it was until I realized that the grace consisted in the spectator move around the theater”, recalled Lloyd Webber between laughs and very willing to rehearse everything in the adventure in Spanish that now begins.
APS (alluding to the Olympic song Friends Forever, of which Lloyd Webber is the composer) is a producer, but not only. Or, better, it is that “and much more”. In the ideology of Banderas, it is about creating a place where there is something like “a traffic of talent”. The idea is that technicians are trained within the company, ideas are exchanged and spaces are expanded. “It’s essential to take the stale flavor out of theater,” he said.
This whole project is no stranger to cinema. And not so much because he has thought of transferring anything from the stage to the big screen as, by contrast, because of his terrible state of health. “We are in a complicated time in which the cinema is increasingly for romantics. I am. But you have to be realistic. A film like Official Competition, just released, a few years ago would have raised about eight million euros. No has not even reached a million and that despite the good reviews, the actors, everything. The theater, on the other hand, is the only unchangeable and born survivor in all crises, “said Banderas to illustrate it is not clear if the good omens for his new project or bad omens for what, perhaps, he leaves behind.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, meanwhile, did not enter the matter just to repeat once again what seems to him the latest screen adaptation of one of his works: Cats. “I hate her. That movie has made me love dogs. I remember once on the plane I wanted to take my dog and they demanded a reason. I convinced them by stating my unpleasant opinion of Cats. They understood perfectly,” he joked.
For the rest, Banderas left the door open to almost everything: directing, producing and even acting. Banderas and Lloyd Webber met in Evita, the latter’s work made into a film by Alan Parker in 1996 where the former played Che Guevara alongside Madonna. “I’m a little older to repeat, but why not,” said the actor now in the role of musical factotum. “There is no Netflix for theater.”
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