Something Is Happening In Barcelona

by Benjamin Nathan-Serio

On the sunny shores of the Mediterranean, something momentous and historic is in the air. 

It's a reservoir of energy and resources that have been rising for years now, but the waters are about to crest and the international flood-gates are opening this November.

It's the theater. Specifically the English language theater scene.  This city's subculture of artists, thespians, bohemians and creatives of all walks of life have always had a firm presence. But over the past five years the English language theater scene has exploded. Just this past year, two new companies debuted their first shows and yet another company resurfaced. That, on top of the handful of regularly performing groups.

Globally, the tides are shifting. In times of societal challenge and change, people innovate, invent and re-invent. Communities return to self expression. Creativity, spectacle and ceremony are therapeutic and often free (or at least cheaper than the cinema).

From this new prevailing tide of creativity, a buried treasure is exposed. One of the crowning Jewels and indeed a catalyst behind this Barcelona creative renaissance is the Barcelona Improv Group (BIG).

BIG was cured in the basements of bars in the gothic quarter and in members' apartments (to the chagrin of many a roommate) and in any number of other makeshift, back-room, rehearsal spaces more then three yeas ago. It is the conglomeration of comedians, actors, aficionados and finally, in the Fall of 2011, the anchor, task-master and some might say guru of BIG, Noah Levin, a professional improviser and comedian, fresh off his flight from New York.

For the first time in Barcelona, a consistent, adult, bimonthly, English Language theater show had come to port. And as the water flowed under the bridge the audiences came and grew!

Two years later BIG is harboring Spain's very first International Improv Festival. 8 teams from 6 different countries and around 100 participants representing almost 15 different countries.

 The prevailing winds tell it all. This festival is an event that is worth you scribbling into your diary/calendar/ship's log. If you're an actor/comedian/performer/naval admiral, if you're in the entertainment/production/nautical business, or if you just want to take life by its veritable bollocks, laugh (a lot) and generally be entertained, you need to not miss this opportunity. 

Even if you're reading this in New Jersey or Shanghai, I urge you to set a course.  I'll be performing on Friday night the 8th at 22hrs.

The creative juices are flowing in Barcelona and from the 6th thru the 10th of November you can rely on some serious (but mostly funny) white water.