Modernist Theater in Catalonia By Duprey, Jennifer
Modernist theater in Catalonia emerged out of the interplay between thematic and artistic innovation and the representation of sociopolitical issues such as class and cultural and political autonomy. These particular issues were mainly represented through allegory and the use of symbolism. Thematic and artistic innovation, however, found itself in unremitting tension with the continuity of a Catalan artistic and literary tradition. In general terms, Modernism (1880–1914) involved a battle against different forms of sociocultural and artistic traditionalism and thus a will to innovation. Modernists of all types shared two specific attributes. They shared “the lure of heresy that impelled their actions as they confronted conventional sensibilities” and “a commitment to a principled self-scrutiny” (Gay 2010: 4). Nevertheless, history shows that the modernists fought bitterly among themselves over basic questions of belief and unbelief. Accordingly, modernist art cannot be defined by a singular understanding of the social and the artist but instead involves the turbulent progression of both artistic movements and cultural formations. Throughout history, severe and consistent censorship of both verbal and pictorial expressions—regarded as blasphemous, obscene, and subversive—created an atmosphere of repression that was hostile to modernist innovation (Gay 2010: 18).