Josep Maria Benet i Jornet(1940-2020) died yesterday in Lérida. The coronavirus took him away. In 2015, he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. However, her dramatic strength began to be demonstrated in the mid-sixties, the time of “Una vella, coneguda olor”. The Catalan playwright spun the written theater of the second half of the 20th century in Spain. He was heir to the generation ofAntonio Buero VallejoYAlfonso Sastreand the father ofSergi Belbel,Juan Mayorgaand of the writers who began to revive the national scene in the 1990s, when the “Marqués de Bradomín” award served as an incentive for dramatic creation.
“It was a reference for all of us”, summarizes the Asturian playwrightMaxi Rodríguezsince his confinement in Ujo. “I was a student director ofSanchis Sinisterra, but Benet i Jornet was the other spearhead from when we started “, adds the author of” Porno “, a comedy that is pending its premiere (for May, if the alarm dissipates) at the Palacio Valdés theater.” It was a dowser of the theater of the future, “he addsAlberto Conejero, the last National Prize for Dramatic Literature, the author of “The Geometry of Wheat” and “The Dark Stone”, another worthy disciple of the Catalan writer.
Benet i Jornet, however, became famous by writing for television, an innovator of the soap opera: he created “Amar in times troubled” and “Amar es para siempre”, two series inheriting the Catalan original “Temps de silenci”.David Desolaexplains by telephone from the Canary Islands: “When all this type of series came from Venezuela or Mexico, he began to write from Spain as if nothing”. Desola is another playwright who learned from the author of “Desire”, from “Testament” … Desola is the author of “The Pit”, the hit movie Netflix, the pandemic movie.
The Catalan playwright was called “Papitu” by everyone in his guild. RAE academic Juan Mayorga, who turned 55 yesterday, summarized his relationship with Benet i Jornet as follows: “I had the first news about ‘Papitu’ when, as a young man in his twenties, someone spoke fervently of a text by Josep Maria Benet i Jornet entitled ‘Desire’. I read it and then had the opportunity to see it. Since then I have not stopped admiring it and considering it one of the most important authors of our theater. It has been fundamental for Catalan dramaturgy, but also for the European one. I think he is a very important author and his work has had a great impact both inside and outside our borders. ‘Papitu’ was a man committed to his people, committed to his language, committed to the theater and, furthermore, he was a tremendous person generous. ” This last aspect of the personality of the writer and television writer is also celebrated by Maxi Rodríguez. “His name is no longer a secret to anyone, but he is still pronounced in a low voice,” concludes Mayorga.