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Producer: Rodolant Teatre.
Executive producer: Vicky Garrigues.
Direction and Play-Writing: Manuel Molins.
Assistant Director: Miquel A. Cantero.
Actors: Josema Soler and Roman Méndez de Hévia.
Stage, images and pictures: Luis Crespo.
Lighting: Pablo Fernández from Yapadú.
Music: Arcadi Valente.
Stage clothes: in collaboration with Pascual Peris.
Puppets and masks: Josep Beltrán.
Video: Ivan Arbildua from Sala Negra.
Fashion design: Inma Fuentes and Client Peluquería.
Seating arrangements: Pedro Cordón.

Review of El somriure del crim (The Smile of the Crime), written by Manuel Molins.

12 November in the UA Auditorium.

On the occasion of the 22nd Spanish Contemporary Playwrights’ Exhibition, held in Alicante from 7 to 15 November, the UA Auditorium will host El somriure del crim (The Smile of the Crime), a satire about the criminal world written by playwright and theatre director Manuel Molins. In this play, based upon On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts, by English writer Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859), Manuel Molins stages the World Association for Crime as a Fine Arts Congress.

The intentions of the play are clear from the beginning: at the entrance, the Volunteer (Román Méndez de Hevia) invites some spectators to sit in chairs on the stage to split up the audience: on the one hand, the stalls and, on the other hand, the actor-audience on the stage. Nonetheless, both of them will participate with applauses and ovations guided by the Volunteer. This is the first sign that actors and public will work all together on the play.

Staging is determined by lights and music. Lighting is really important to focus attention on the text, as it is clearly the focus of the play. The spotlight constantly follows the actors, especially the Candidate (Josema Soler), when she intermittently speaks to both spectators. The music selected resembles the one used in election campaigns. Wardrobe and characterisation are simple, like in those super modern political rallies, , except for the clothes worn by y Josema Soler as Lucrecia (B)orgia, which fit the character.

An essential part of the play are also images and videos (paintings, puppies, photoshopped politicians, rebel dances within the Church…). Everything is part of a very explicit social and global criticism from the very beginning.

The stage involves some of the spectators so they can see the performance from a different perspective and feel as though they were part of a political meeting. However, the only thing they see sometimes is the actors’ backs. Scenography is made up of some chairs and a lectern, where puppets are kept. Both actors move naturally and comfortably on stage Josema Soler is especially versatile, for not only he controls the puppets but he also sings, dances and says his lines. Although his voice is clear, the changes in intonation make his diction unconvincing.

Román Méndez Hevia’s character stands out twice: when he plays the role of a university student whose present and future is related to crime, surprising the public when he goes down to the stalls to stage a robbery; and when he goes from volunteer to political candidate. Actors’ speeches is where expressive intensity and surprising power lie.

Se trata de una puesta en escena desahogadamente ideologizada, con destellos de actualidad política: "black targets", trajes, corrupción, futuro estudiantil eclipsado, descreencia en nuevas y jóvenes propuestas políticas, etc. El somriure del crim desata un mensaje satírico y, por ello, combativo, algo como lo que el poeta Jorge Riechmann expresa en uno de sus versos: “la intolerabilidad del mundo en su estado actual”. Todos a una. El somriure del crim invita a la actuación.

Despite having an evident ideological bias, the play is completely laid-back and relaxed, and also full of references to what is happening on Spanish politics nowadays: ‘black cards’, suits, corruption, students without future, lack of trust in new young politicians, etc. The Smile of the Crime unleashes a satiric and combative message, as poet Jorge Riechmann expressed in his verses: ‘the current state of the world’s intolerance’. All together. The Smile of the Crime invites everybody to take action.

VEU - Cultural Magazine of the University of Alicante

Revista Cultural VEU
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