Tal vegada allà, agafats de la mà, units sota el nom d’Europa, ens podríem explicar el mite que ens batejà: el que narra la història d’un Déu totpoderós que, encès d’amor per una noia fenícia, viatjà a les costes de l’actual Líban (o Síria)… i sota l’aspecte d’un immens toro, la raptà tot creuant el Mediterrani i, arribats a Creta (o Lampedusa…), la violà. I és d’ençà… que Europa bull.
Sembla una olla a vapor que xiula i fa senyals de fum. Europa retruny, està a punt de petar. És una olla de grills. Un batibull. I de tanta remor, ja no se sent l’alegria de l’himne; ja sols notem la sordesa del seu compositor.
Un autoritari toro blanc va raptar Europa, i tal vegada ara ens adonem que no el sabrem mai domesticar.
A wildly enthusiastic critique of the European project is also an affectionate reminder of the importance of its underlying values. Europa Bull, written and directed by Jordi Oriol, is a hugely enjoyable piece of physical theatre that counts on an excellent cast of six, among them, Danish performer Karl Stets, Russian performer Sasha Agranov and Catalan actor Joan Carreras. The piece won the Quim Masó prize in 2018, fuelling its ambitions with an injection of some 40,000 euros.
Channelling the mood of British/French duo Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas’ minimalist piece Eurohouse, staged at the Lliure last year, Europa Bull takes the form of a series of sketches in which Europe’s cultural, economic and geographic differences are exposed. Misunderstandings, insecurities, impotence and underlying patriarchal competitiveness are revealed, and autocratic bombshells ‘celebrated’, notably that of the introduction of the Euro, with fantastic inventiveness.
The name of the show refers to the mythical origins of Europa, a Phoenician princess abducted by the Greek god Zeus, who carried her off in the form of a white bull. This story is tied in with that of Penka, the notorious Bulgarian cow that caused a storm in 2018 when she charged into (as yet) non-EU Serbia. Penka was condemned to death but later pardoned after higher EU intervention. Adopted by the right-wing tabloid British press as a symbol of the bureaucracy imposed by Brussels, Penka appears in the show in various intriguing forms, dangling an enormous cow bell that is ominously tolling.
Fun, topical and accessible to international audiences, Europa Bull may suggest the EU is a hopeless mess, but it is also a testament to what you can do when you bring a bunch of creative people from different places together.