Five hundred years after Ferdinand Magellan and his pan-European crew sailed, starved and mutinied their way around the world, a Spanish theatre company best known for its innovative and often provocative performances is paying homage to the long-dead explorers with a voyage of its own.
The Barcelona-based collective La Fura dels Baus made headlines in 2003 when its honestly named XXX show opened in London after being cleared by the Metropolitan police’s vice squad. Their latest undertaking, however, is considerably more hardcore.
In spring next year, the company’s trusty ship, the Naumon (Worldship), will begin a tour of Spanish ports to commemorate the first circumnavigation of the world and to warn of the need for action on the climate emergency.
Aided by a rigid but foldable high-tech sail, it will then crisscross the world, spreading its message from sea to sea and port to port.
Carlus Padrissa, one of the founders of La Fura dels Baus – “and also slightly the captain of this project” – sees the 1519-22 circumnavigation as one of the greatest achievements of European, and indeed human, history.
“For me, it’s on a par with reaching the moon or going to Mars,” he says. “Of the 270 who set out, only 18 made it back. This was the time when man came out of the darkness of the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.
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