Ortiz de Gondra unleashes the success of a renowned playwright
The trilogy Los Gondra: an example of excellence - from the texts to the production
1 Feb 2023

Excellence cannot be achieved in a stage production if the text of the play is not outstanding. The staging of Los Gondra (A Basque history), Los otros Gondra (Another Basque history) and Los últimos Gondra (A Basque remembrance) is an example of excellence, from the texts – preceded by an illustrative Prologue by the author in which he explains the genesis of the plays- to the production.

The Gondras (A Basque history) explores one hundred years of a Basque family. For years, Borja searches for an answer to many questions, but each one leads him to a new question about the previous generation. Hatred and guilt are repeated cyclically, but also the possibility of forgiveness and forgetting. In Los otros Gondra (Another Basque history), Borja looks around in bewilderment as he tries to narrate where the family is heading. After more than thirty years, he tries to find out the truth, but nobody wants to talk about that time of violence and hatred. In Los Últimos Gondra (A Basque remembrance), the drama focuses on the memory of a now deceased Borja, and on the indelible and vivid memory of the old pains that still linger on in the new generation: will the last members of the saga be able to build a healthier memory or will they continue to eternally perpetuate the grievances they did not live through? The trilogy, now published by Punto de Vista Editores, has allowed Borja Ortiz de Gondra to include some of the modifications that were made on stage, but also to remain faithful to the original texts, already conceived with the initial theatrical premises. Through these pages, Ortiz De Gondra shows more than a century of a family history, but also the conflict of cyclical violence that has afflicted the Basque country; by extension, and therein lies his merit, he has turned all that into a universal theme that could be summed up in “history, forgiveness and forgetting”, terms that account for the evolution of our civilization.

The Basque conflict had already been presented on stage by renowned playwrights but the new heights of excellence of the trilogy of Los Gondra is unprecedented. The Spanish playwright conceived these texts from his own experiences and memories, but has reached a creative universe in which he has combined the mechanisms that are found in Greek tragedy with the most current forms of theater writing (intertextuality, rupture of genres, mixture of narrative planes, etc.).

An extensive experience as a translator in the United Nations puts Ortiz de Gondra in the best position to write and perform the plays in Spanish without forgetting his native Basque, a language that contributes to define this fragmented universe in which several generations of Gondras have debated; a language in which the most heterodox Gondras, those who have been left out, have expressed themselves. On stage, the plays immersed the audience in a magnificent production but reading the trilogy has its advantages too. As it happens in novels of intrigue, the lack of answers, the silences and the half-words push the reader to continue reading and to play an active role to find an answer to the questions raised in the text.

Contest: how would you qualify this trilogy? The three best answers, judged by Ortiz de Gondra, will receive a small gift during the launching event of the trilogy in March. Readers can send their answers per email to before 27 February 2023. 

With this trilogy, Ortiz de Gondra undoubtedly joins the greatest names in Spanish theatre. The official presentation of this book will take place on Thursday 16 March 2023 at 7 pm in Librería Albatros (Rue Charles-Humbert 6, 1205 Geneva). 

* Gemma Capellas is Head of Linguistic Production at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Jesus Guerrero is Chief, Management and communications Unit at the Center for Learning and Multilingualism (CLM), United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).
Read more articles about CULTURE