La Víctor C.

informació obra

Anna Maria Ricart
Víctor Català (Caterina Albert)
Carme Portaceli
Ferran Carvajal, Lluïsa Castell, Oriol Guinart, Olga Onrubia, Rosa Renom, Manel Sans, Anna Ycobalzeta

La Víctor C. ha estat l’espectacle inaugural de la primera temporada de Carme Portaceli com a directora artística del Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, i aquesta tardor tindrem el plaer de veure’l sobre l’escenari del Temporada Alta. Una obra basada en els llibres Tots els contes (volums I, II i III) i Mosaics de l’autora Víctor Català, en què, des del llit, explicarà a un jove aficionat al periodisme records de la seva vida. Alguns amb tota mena de detalls; d’altres amb episodis amagats, però sempre acompanyada pels personatges d’alguns dels seus contes. Mentre ella recorda i es deixa descobrir, el jove periodista creurà que ha aconseguit un retrat ben complet de l’escriptora modernista de l’Escala. Però Víctor Català, ja ho sabem, té moltes històries silenciades.

Crítica: La Víctor C.


A window onto a landscape

per Alx Phillips

The judges at Jocs Florals d'Olot in 1898 reacted in shock when they discovered the author of the prize-winning monologue Infanticide was in fact a woman, Catalina Albert i Paradis. It was simply unheard of that one of youth and privilege from the pretty L’Escala in coastal Empordà could be capable of broaching such distressing subject matter. Its account of atrocious behaviour came through highly-innovative blunt and complex language. What's more, it was a monologue: the gender match of author and character obliterating the distance between the two, affronting the reader with more than one uncomfortable truth about maternity...

More than 120 years on there is still significant bias against authors based on gender, the label ‘women’s writing’ continues to exist (if now appropriated) as a kind of sub-genre as infuriating as ‘fantasy’, 'crime' or ‘young adult’ fiction, as if it were something to be nodded at encouragingly rather than be taken seriously. 

Puncturing the prejudice, La Víctor C. is a visually luxurious, poetic and intellectually rigorous ode to the works of Catalina Albert. Subtitles in English were available on one night; sit on rows 14 to top to take advantage of this essential feature, finally offered in half-a dozen productions this season. Written by Anna Maria Ricart Codina and directed by Carme Portaceli, Lluïsa Castell plays Catalina Albert, who spends most of the production in bed, where the author was said to have spent many years of her later life. After the Jocs Florals furor she adopted the amusingly masculine pen-name of a character in her book, Victor Català, to deflect attention. 

Until recently, Solitude, Albert’s most famous novel from 1905 and a staple of the Catalan school syllabus, has been the only book available in English in a 1992 translation by David H. Rosenthal. Infanticide, the 1898 monologue that propelled Albert to fame, is included in the 2018 collection Silent Souls and Other Stories, translated by Kathleen McNerney. The stories Portico and The Windfall are available for free download. (Infanticide has also been reinvented as an electronic opera and can be experienced at the TNC from 4 - 7 November). In January 2022, Albert’s novel A Film is also available in English in a translation by Peter Bush

For a total novice to her books, the personal approach to the text and the visual narrative that incorporates clips of her hard-nosed rural stories, such as L’Aleixeta, offers more than enough to be engaged and awaken a desire to read more. It’s a further credit to the theatre piece that the subtitles are unusually sophisticated. It’s not easy to deliver a literary line in translation that can be read in the short space available. To open a linguistic window into a complex literally word of a widely unknown authoress is by far the best way to ensure that Catalan language, literature and theatre have a healthy future, locally and internationally.