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Teatro Marte

(The town´s Theatre)

Its function arguably started at the beginning of the 20th Century when a bunch of youngsters from the town created a group which, they decided, was going to be entirely dedicated to entertainment. This group operated as an extension within the framework of the already existing local Asociación Marte (Mars Association). They commenced by rehearsing different performances, which included plenty of dancing and singing, for the animated shows that would be later staged as part of the folk parties of the area.

After the Spanish Civil War, the young students from Trasvía went all the way to Santander along with their teacher at the time, a woman who was in charge of the education of three genereations of girls in the town, to attend the first “Day of the Child” to the renowned school Colegio Cántabro. The teacher and the students from Trasvía had prepared a performance that consisted of performing a rhythmic, playful dance that they called Las Espigas, and they wore for the occasion the provincial costumes. This group also participated with their performances every year in the celebrations of Día del Indiano.

The tradition of preserving and participating in the performances of the local theatre died out slowly over the years until the new schoolteacher arrived to town in 1985. Her name was Julia García and she took up again the task of involving her students and other young people from the town to performing a play and preparing the choreography for different dances every year. All of the young people in town got back to the rehearsals and, on the 30th of November that year, coinciding with the celebrations of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Trasvia, they presented on stage the play “El rey que no se ríe” (The King that does not laugh), with the teacher as the play´s director. She was not the only adult to play her part in this, however. Other neighbours helped preparing the sets needed for the play and sewing the character´s garments.

The performance was a remarkable success, above all else because the village schoolmistress managed to get the children to do a great job after she had to start from zero: She had to teach them diction and how to behave on stage. She even took all her students several times to watch other street plays in different parts of the province. All her hard work during those early years of the re-born theatre made it regain its past importance in the town. The yearly play on the patron saint´s day is considered now a real institution in the town, a tradition that all the inhabitants of Trasvía eagerly await.

Silvia, the current director of the theatre, joined the group shortly after the schoolmistress had arrived. When she recalls the initial efforts and struggles of the team, which is now a stronger and more experienced theatre group, she does not hesitate to point out that her greatest satisfaction is seeing how those children and teenagers have acquired such an “earnest love for theatre”, after having started performing popular tales which were then followed by plays inspired by Tagore.

Since that November of 1985, the theatre group of Trasvía has brought to stage more than twenty plays, suitable for both adults and children. In the assosiation´s curriculum ranges from ambitious musicals such as Jesuscristo Superstar (Jesuschrist Superstar) or La Bella y la Bestia (Beauty and the Beast) to children´s stories like El Mago de Oz (Wizard of Oz). This group´s versatility has also been demostrated through the success received after staging complex comedies like La Venganza de Petra (Petra´s Revenge) or delicate stories like Bodas de Sangre (Blood Weddings) or Fortunata y Jacinta.

When the schoolmistress left the town, the baton of the Teatro Marte was passed to Silvia Navarro, Alicia Yagüe y Rosario Cuevas who after a short period of time and due to the attracted interest by this cultural activity had the idea of creating a new theatre group. As a result there are now two different groups in Trasvía: Los Cámbaros, composed by the children, teenagers and young adults, and Los Vericuetos, exclusively comprised from the elderly of the town.

Nowadays, Teatro Marte counts on dozens of actors and actresses from the town, who, guided by the director and her assitants, are always keen on working really hard and on rehearsing every weekday or the weekends. When the public comes to watch the plays they are asked to pay an entrance fee of 4 Euros per person, which is barely enough to cover the expenses of the sets and the customs, but also comes to show that the team of Teatro Marte works with no profit motive in mind.

The theatre is located on the old school´s ground floor and its infrastructure, its stage, its sets and the costumes that the characters wear are improving  more and more every year. The theatre venue and the stage have recently been refurbished, the sets are more adecuate and ambitious in their design. Even the garments that the actors and actresses wear are now tailored by a seamstress from the area so that they are more appropiate and blend better with the play´s intended-atmosphere.

The interest in the performances of this small and genuine theatre group has grown considerably within the region over the last few years. To the extent that the number of towns that apply to have them acting in their folk parties is growing. Even in Trasvía itself, where not long ago each play was performed on the patron´s saint day, the plays are performed up to three times during that traditional party and then several times more during the months of November and December. The main objective is that, as the venue almost never can accomodate as many people as those who wish to get in, nobody loses their chance of enjoying these plays that have become undoubtfully a classic experience event in the area.

Principios del Marte en Trasvía
La estudiantina
San Andrés
Asamblea General
La Cenicienta
Los Tres Cerditos
Escena de Cuatro Corazones Sin Freno y Marcha Atrás
Escenario de Jesucrito Superstar
Silvia, la directora del teatro
Los actores
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Works
The Mars Theatre