Skills: [:en]Works[:es]Obras[:], Featured

What really matters is the king’s safety.

By Juan Mayorga
First broadcast BBC Radio 3 05/02/23
Other Afonica works by Juan Mayorga – The Boy at the Back, The Art of the Interview, Le Brun Method for Happiness

An award-winning drama about chess, an art which, like life itself, is based on memory and imagination. A play about the Cold War. And the story of people who re-enact the lives of others.

Bailén and Waterloo are united and separated by a chessboard. But it isn’t chess they’re playing, it’s Reykjavik. They’re playing at being Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky, the German arbiter, the Icelandic bodyguard, Bobby’s mother, Boris’s second wife, the girlfriends Bobby never had, a hundred children bidding Boris farewell with their fists raised at Moscow airport, Henry Kissinger, the ghost of Stalin, the Supreme Soviet, the black knight threatening the white bishop, the missing fathers, the dead champions. It’s not the first time they’ve done this, but it is the first time they’ve done it in front of someone else: a stray boy. And they’ve never done it with so much passion. Because today they’re not just trying to understand what really happened at Reykjavik, what was really at stake. Today, Waterloo and Bailén are looking for an heir.

Juan Mayorga is one of Spain’s leading playwrights, member of the Royal Spanish Academy and winner of the 2022 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, the Spanish National Theatre Award and the European Prize for Theatre.

Waterloo ….. Robert Emms
Spassky ….. Gunnar Cauthery
Boy ….. Samantha Dakin

Russian voices ….. Oleg Tsiplakov and Ilia Golitsyn
Japanese voice ….. Nao Nakazawa

Other voices are played by the cast

Translated by Nicolas Jackson and Bill Murphy
Production ….. Sarah Tombling
Executive producer .…. Sara Davies

Sound design ….. Jon Nicholls

Adapted for radio and directed by Nicolas Jackson

An Afonica production for BBC Radio 3

the boy at the back bbc radio 3