Ovidio y Plauto, the theatrical adventure of a school in Benalmádena that awakens vocations and garners national awards

At a time when it is difficult to capture the attention of young people and make them look at something beyond the screen of a mobile or tablet, the Wonders College of benalmadena (Malaga) has achieved it. He has been doing it, in fact, for 15 years, when two teachers from the center sowed the seed of the company Alezeiateatrowhich has just won two prizes at the XV National Contest of Greco-Latin Theater Groups and separate mentions for two of its actors for their performances in the contest.

When professors Juan Manuel Castillo and Desirée Pérez launched the project in 2007, they could not have imagined that what began as a theater creativity workshop would end up becoming a whole company that brings together students, center workers and parents around the classics of Euripides or Ovid.

The adventure began with a casting call to recruit twelve young actors and interpret the Latin comedy ‘The Twins’ by Plautus. “From there it began to grow and today we have five theatrical formations,” he tells ABC John Manuel Castillohead of the Department of Humanities and one of the ideologues of the initiative.

Maravillas is a concerted school that includes from Infant to Baccalaureate and one of the greatest satisfactions for these teachers is having managed to integrate and spread the passion for acting to students of all ages. Today are about 80 young actorsdivided into different formations according to level: two groups in Primary and another three distributed in Secondary and Baccalaureate, which are the ones that have participated in the contest organized by the Ministry of Education and Professional Training in the Roman theater of Sagunto.

Family photo with awards

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The company has taken part in the two categories established: the promotion of culture and classical theater for ESO students and the one focused on the staging and performance of plays from the classical Greek and Latin tradition (both Greek or Latin tragedy and Greek comedy or Latin comedy).

In the first of them, Alezeia has participated with ‘Hedera helix’, a Greco-Latin short that, based on texts by Euripides and Ovid, reflects the myth of Bacchus and the dolphins. The proposal, written by the monitor and teacher of the theater workshop Daniel Macías, was performed by students from first to third year of ESO, achieving the second National Prize and with a Special Mention for the best young actress for Paola Chadine for her role as Acetes elder .

In the subcategory of Latin Comedy, they have competed with the adaptation to the verse of ‘Mostellaria’, the comedy of the ghost, based on an original text by the Roman playwright and playwright Plautus. The production, conceived in a classic key of the Golden Age and represented, on this occasion, by students of both ESO and Baccalaureate also obtained the second National Prize and another Special Mention to Eneas Pereira as best young actor for his interpretation of the old Simón.

Diversity is one of the signs of identity of the project of this Malaga school. According to Juan Manuel Castillo, “there are kids from pure sciences who are currently studying medicine, physics, engineering and have continued to do theater with the group». “They have it as a kind of leisure activity that they complement with their university studies,” he says.

In these 15 years, the Alezeia campus has had former students who are now doctors, architects and, of course, actors and actresses. Why arouse restlessness and vocation for the performing arts It hasn’t been difficult. “Several students have passed through the Higher School of Dramatic Art in Malaga after finishing their Baccalaureate with us,” says the teacher, “we have a former student working at Warner with musical shows because she did musical performance and another in Madrid with a function postdramatic theatre.

Main image - Performances of the company in the National Contest and the two students who have received special mentions, Eneas Pereira and Paola Chadine
Secondary image 1 - Performances of the company in the National Contest and the two students who have received special mentions, Eneas Pereira and Paola Chadine
Secondary image 2 - Performances of the company in the National Contest and the two students who have received special mentions, Eneas Pereira and Paola Chadine

Company functions in the National Contest and the two students who have received special mentions, Eneas Pereira and Paola Chadine

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Over the years, the group has gone beyond the category of “extracurricular activity” to become -they stress- “an essential pillar of the center’s identity”. When in the first term they form the groups, they begin to give the students notions of interpretation and improvisationto then give them a script and carry out the assembly of the show between January and June.

In their premieres they already have a loyal audience. From the classmates with whom they share class during the day, to many residents of Benalmadena who do not miss the appointment. They are the privileged ones who can see for the first time the work of a whole year, with which they then launch themselves into national, regional and provincial theater competitions and contests, in which they have already harvested more than 70 awards.

“Many have already begun to be interested in us and call us to represent the works to students of the same age, which is what we did when we started,” says Castillo, recalling the germ of the initiative: the trips that his department organized every year festivals like the Merida, Italica or Baelo Claudia.

Ovidio y Plauto, the theatrical adventure of a school in Benalmádena that awakens vocations and garners national awards