IE University students take the stage

@Roberto Arribas

The IE Theater Club brought together 29 actors, representing 20 different nationalities, to perform “The Painter.”

The impressive Aula Magna at IE University, built in the fifteenth century during the time of the Catholic Monarchs, set the stage for the play “The Painter” on April 11, 2019. Around thirty undergraduates representing nearly twenty different nationalities took part in the performance.

This musical forms part of the IE Humanities Week, which comprises a range of activities held over the course of a week at the campus in Segovia and Madrid. Students and alumni were invited to reflect on the role humanities play in our understanding of our complex world through critical thinking and an open mind.

In collaboration with Campus Life, IE University Theater Club proudly presented the written works of French student Timothé Rigaudeau, known more commonly as “Timo.” His work offers a reflection on human beings’ suffering in today’s world, and the loss of values such as tolerance and respect of differences. In addition, the students have decided to donate all proceeds to the San Ildefonso Association for People with Disabilities (‘Asociación de Discapacitados de San Ildefonso,’ or ADISIL).

Photo by Roberto Arribas

“The Painter” is divided into two acts, each approximately an hour and a half long. The musical will also include a number of songs written by IE University students.  “It’s not a traditional musical, as it also opens the audience up to other art forms such as dance, poetry, painting, and video,” says one of its promoters.

The playwright doesn’t want to reveal too many of the details surrounding the plot, as he hopes to keep the club’s latest creation a surprise to the public. “The play tells the story of the love between a young man born into a wealthy, conservative family in France in the 80s, and an artist who comes from an Algerian immigrant family,” he says.

Timo tells the evolution of this love story and emphasizes the difficulties the two lovers faced for thirty years.  “The work attempts to demonstrate how intolerance can be damaging to us all. For this reason, I would like the audience to reflect on the problems raised, such as a lack of tolerance in the world, the absence of peace in oneself and society; concluding that, in the end, love unites us all, despite our differences,” he says.

Work on “The Painter” began last June and the script started to take shape during the summer.  For the play to be a success, Timo relied on the help of Paloma Martínez, a professor at IE University, who advised him on how to build the story, edited the texts, and suggested new ideas which were decisive in the play’s journey to success.  He also had the valuable assistance of choreographer Daniela Gil, the director of last year’s performance; Salvador Braedt; and the vice president of IE Theater Club, Ghali Laraqui.

Casting for the play took place in September.  From the 45 auditionees, the cast of “The Painter” was narrowed down to 20 actors. The cast is mostly made up of students, “but it also features one employee from the university,” he adds.   The play was very demanding for these amateur actors, who had to sing and dance as well as act. The entire cast dedicated three hours each Friday to working on the play, and as the opening night drew closer and closer, the length of the meetings and rehearsals began to increase.

The university also collaborated with the students, allowing them to use the space and giving them the materials they need from campus, as well as the services of a sound and lights crew to make the performance as professional as possible. In collaboration with IE Editorial and the Bachelor in Design at IE University, Campus Life has created a publication all about the play.  In the publication, they also highlight the importance of encouraging a love for art, creativity, and a humanistic spirit among students, which are some of the core values IE University strives to represent.

“The Painter” was only made viable thanks to the hard work put in by the production team, which consisted of: Timothé Rigaudeau (president of the club and director of the play), Ghali Laraqui (vice-president and assistant director), Daniela Gil (choreographer), Gabrielle Isa (musical director), Egor Kas (communication director and acting coach), Nicole Limpo (graphic production responsible and acting coach), Saina Abdollahzadeh (prop director) and Amanda Matesanz (costume director).