SYNOPSIS

 

In the 12th century A.D, England¿s Norman King Henry II, appoints Thomas Becket, a Saxon and his best, most beloved friend, to the position of Lord Chancellor of the Realm. The King has acted against both his Queen¿s wishes and the Norman nobility¿s will.


The new Chancellor supports the sovereign¿s orders to impose greater authority over the ecclesiastic hierarchies. The King later appoints Thomas as Archbishop of Canterbury. No longer Chancellor, Becket defends the Church. He refuses to accept the decrees that establish royal supremacy over ecclesiastic power, all of which lead to the long struggle between himself, who defends the Honour of God, and Henry, who defends the Kingdom¿s honour.

 

Becket is charged with treason. He goes into exile in France; under the protection of Louis VII, but the Pope has him sent to a Cistercian monastery. Henry II allows Becket to return to England after having spent six years in exile. Becket carries out certain royal decrees, although he is still acclaimed by the English, so Henry decides to withhold a privilege from the Archbishop, a privilege that is rightfully his: the anointing of the heir to the throne. A group of nobles, loyal to the King, assassinate Becket while he prays in Canterbury Cathedral. King Henry does public penance at the Archbishop¿s grave. Thomas Becket was canonized after his death.

 

 

FROM THE PROGRAM NOTES

 

For good or ill, let the wheel turn.
That the pattern may subsist, for the pattern is the action
and the suffering, that the wheel may turn and still
be forever still.
And yet, forever remain motionless.

T.S. Eliot
Murder in the Cathedral

 

 

 

 

Who will rid me of this low born priest!

Henry II of England

 

 

Friendship is a domestic animal, a living, tender thing.

It seems to be all eyes, forever gazing at you, warming you.

You don¿t see its teeth. But it¿s a beast with one curious characteristic :

It bites only after it is dead.

Jean Anouilh

 

 

 

 

HISTORY OF THE PROJECT

 

Becket or the Honour of God, originally requiring the participation of thirty actors, employs only five performers in an adaptation written by Claudio Valdés Kuri, Rubén Ortiz and Gastón Yanes. The group spent a year rehearsing on the stone stairways of the El Carmen Convent. A challenge was proposed and met: that there be an equal level of high quality shared by the text, physical performance and live music interpretation, all in a strictly dangerous space.

 

 

Only twenty presentations were planned, but due to the huge acclaim from both audience and critics alike, it was extended to a fifty-performance schedule, turning out to be a sold-out success.


During 1999, the play was presented on stairways and theatres throughout Mexico and abroad, as well as in local and worldwide festivals ¿ Festival Internacional Cervantino (Guanajuato), Muestra Nacional de Teatro (Monterrey), Festival Grec (Barcelona), etc.

 

A second season, also in 1999, enjoyed standing-room-only performances in the El Carmen Convent, where it originally took shape. The play¿s final presentation took place in Bogotá, Colombia, during the Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro 2000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE COMPANY

 

 

CERTAIN INHABITANTS¿ THEATRE

 

Certain Inhabitants¿ Theatre was founded in 1997. The company has been internationally acclaimed due to its previous productions: Becket or the Honour of God, Monsters and Prodigies: The History of the Castrati, The Grey Automobileand Where Will I Be Tonight? The director, Claudio Valdés Kuri, has received several international awards, as well as the company.

 

 

The company has performed at many renowned venues and festivals including: International Cervantino Festival (Guanajuato), Wiener Festwochen (Vienna), Kunsten Festival des Arts (Brussels), In-Transit-HKW (Berlin), Festival de l´Imaginaire (Paris), Les Translatines Festival (Bayonne), Grec Festival (Barcelona), Ibero-American Festival (Cadiz), Temporada Alta (Gerona), Open Granada (Granada), Ibero-American Festival (Bogota), International Theatre Festival (Caracas), Cultural Carnival (Valparaiso), International Festival Teatro a Mil (Santiago de Chile), International Theatre Festival (Belo Horizonte), Riocenacontemporanea Festival (Rio de Janeiro), International Arts Showcase (Puerto Rico), Singapore Arts Festival (Singapore), Expo-Aichi (Nagoya), National Theatre (El Cairo), Argelia Radio (Argel). In United-States the company has performed in many of the main country venues, in the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), The Goodman Theatre (Chicago), Time-Based Art Festival (Portland), Ford Amphitheatre (Hollywood, California), The New 42nd Street Theatre (Broadway, New York), among many others.

 

 

Their long-running season in Mexico City has played to sold-out houses and the company has organized several national tours throughout Mexico.

 

Complementary to each project, Certain Inhabitants¿ Theatre offers a full range of activities in residence including panel discussions, lectures, classes, workshops, radio series, TV programs and interactive compact discs.

 

 

Certain Inhabitants¿ Theatre is supported by México en Escena de CONACULTA-FONCA and Artes Americas, University of Texas, Austin.

 

 

Certain Inhabitants¿ Theatre Company works under simple principles that provoke ample consequences. Each project is approached considering risks, specific questioning and an open debate. Once these risks and questions have been duly solved, the project is concluded permitting the group to concentrate on another project. We consider that the element of change is the prime instrument for the development of the artistic spirit. Research work is emphasized for each project, avoiding as much as possible the repetition of former presentation models and previous discoveries. At the same time, each presentation is ¿polished¿ during long processes to attain maturity, nourished by the experience accumulated, pertaining to direction, production, creativity and interpreters. Reliance on scenic work is placed entirely upon a multidisciplinary artist, actor-musician-dancer, who will use all of his abilities to the utmost.

 

 

 

 

Claudio Valdés Kuri, director

 

 

Claudio Valdés Kuri, a prestigious Mexican director, is recognized as one of Latin America¿s artists with the most international acclaim. Founder and director of the company Certain Inhabitants¿ Theatre, his work includes The Grey Automobile,Monsters and Prodigies: The History of the Castrati, Becket or the Honour of God andWhere Will I Be Tonight?, all presented in Mexico (his native country), and in Europe, Latin America, the United States and the Caribbean. Specialized critics have given him well-deserved recognition, such as naming him the best director in experimental theatre as well as best group theatre director.

 

 

Several important governmental offices have commissioned and co-produced his productions: National Theatre Company (Mexico), National Autonomous University of Mexico, International Cervantino Festival (Guanajuato), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), Kunsten Festival des Arts (Brussels) and Wiener Festwochen (Vienna).

 

Claudio Valdés Kuri was selected to develop the Translation and Contextualizationproject for Arts International (New York City) and took part in the Artist in Contextprogram sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center of North Carolina¿s DukeUniversity and Arts Management program in the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.).

 

 

He has received several grants from Cultural Contact, the US-Mexico Foundation for Culture, Young scholarship holders and Co-investment projects from Mexico¿s National Fund for Culture and the Arts.

 

 

Claudio Valdés Kuri graduated with honours as a film director from Mexico¿s Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, specializing in Documentary.

 

 

Claudio¿s training as an actor began at the early age of 11 in 1976, under the tutorship of Susana Wein. He participated in countless productions with her company for the next seventeen years. From 1996 to 1999 he was part of Austria¿s Carpa Theater. He has also received considerable recognition as a versatile set designer and lighting expert in Mexico and other countries.

 

 

He was co-founder and bass voice of the early music ensemble Ars Nova, dedicated mostly to the rediscovery of Renaissance and Latin American baroque music. Over the last fifteen years, this group has toured Mexico, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East,South America, the United States, and the Caribbean.

 

 

The monthly publication Mexican Leaders has acknowledged him as one of the top 300 most influential leaders in the country.

 

 

 

 

 

CREDITS

 

 

CERTAIN INHABITANTS¿ THEATRE

MÉXICO

 

 

BECKET OR THE HONOUR OF GOD

By Jean Anouilh

Adapted by Claudio Valdés Kuri, Rubén Ortiz and Gastón Yanes

 

 

Director

Claudio Valdés Kuri

 

Starring

Luis Artagnan / Mario Iván Martínez

 

Henry II, King of England

Gerardo Trejoluna

Thomas Becket

Carolina Politti


Leonore of Aquitanius

Gwendolyn

French girl

Saxon country woman

Old lady from Canterbury

Enrique Arreola

Pope Alexander III

Louis VII, King of France

Tybalt, Canterbury¿s Archbishop

Henry III

English baron

Page

Saxon country man

Gastón Yanes

Gilbert Folliot, Bishop of London

Cardinal

English baron

Page

Monk

Troubadour

Saxon country man

 

 

 

Director

Claudio Valdés Kuri

Executive producer

Igor Lozada

Musical direction

Magda Zalles

Costume design

Mario Iván Martínez

Lightning design

Matías Gorlero y Claudio Valdés Kuri

Assistance in direction

Claudia Mader

Kathak training

Victoria Gutiérrez

Vocal training

Javier Medina

Physical training

Gerardo Trejoluna

Sword instruction

Marco Antonio Díaz

Associate producer

Luis Fernando Villegas

Producers

Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes A.C.