The Theater Club at IE University

@Roberto Arribas

A group of IE University students performed “Memories of the Rose and the Lion”, a play born from their own creativity and enthusiasm.

A 30-year-old man has just woken from a coma. He was diagnosed at the hospital with post-traumatic amnesia, and has no memory of who he is. He’s bedridden, disconnected from the world, and no one has any idea who he is. The doctors advise him to rest, but the man decides to escape, explore the world, and rediscover his past. So begins the synopsis of “Memories of the Rose and the Lion,” a play that IE University students performed on the Aula Magna stage at the Santa Cruz la Real Campus.

Frenchman Timothé Rigaudeau and Peruvian-German Salvador B  raedt, students of the Dual Degree in Business Administration and International Relations, were the producers and directors of the performance, which involved over 30 students with nearly 20 different nationalities.

Teatro IE

Photo by: Roberto Arribas

Above all, it’s a collaborative play: it was written by ten authors and performed in English by 27 actors. “Everyone contributed with their own creative ideas,” says Timothé, the founder of the Theater Club at IE University.

Built in the 15th century in the time of the Catholic monarchs, the Aula Magna was the impressive setting for this performance.  The space is usually decked out for important ceremonies, such as university graduations and grand openings.

Creating and staging the play was more complicated than the students originally thought. Everything was set at the beginning of the year when Timothé and Salvador, with the help of Professor Juanjo Manjarín, started forming the idea of writing a play in the university and performing it with IE University students.

The two Dual Degree in Business Administration and International Relations students were the first to get involved in the project, but throughout the year other writers joined their efforts and contributed their own ideas to the plot.  All in all, “Memories of the Rose and the Lion” is the fruit of ten writers’ efforts.  “We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to participate in writing the storyline; it really caused a lot of headaches, but in the end we achieved something that reflects the creative freedom and different cultural sensibilities that exist at IE University,” says Timothé.

Teatro IE

Photo by: Roberto Arribas

Twenty-seven actors from 18 different nationalities got up on the Aula Magna stage.  “Students from all over the world joined the play, each one with their own ideologies, sensibilities, and cultural differences. This project is a great example of the wonderful and enriching multiculturalism that exists on campus,” says Salvador, who oversaw the correcting and editing of the texts, as well as other tasks.

To sum up “Memories of the Rose and the Lion” in a few words is a difficult task, since the work is full of interesting details, plot twists, and a heavy dose of black humor.  “It doesn’t have just one message, but many,” says Timothé enigmatically.

It’s a play with a universal spirit, it’s very real and honest. We said what we thought and criticized anything we didn’t like,” says Salvador, who adds, “Our hope is that the protagonist’s internal conflict as he faces his past and his present life causes the audience to reflect on their everyday lives and what’s happening in the world around them.”

A living, breathing piece

They began to write the piece in September and, after various edits, the final text was completed in February. Yet its various authors note that it is a “living piece,” as it undergoes constant changes, even during rehearsals.  “The actors also bring their own creative ideas and we allow some of them to change their lines if it makes them feel more comfortable and improves the play,” says Timothé. The goal is that all the students can contribute their talents in creating the play.

The university has 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. The Theater Club was able to rely on the help from other clubs and students at IE University, who helped with various aspects such as the scenery and costume design.