For the world premiere of El Público, an opera masterpiece based on the text of Federico García Lorca, Assaad Awad was commissioned by el teatro real de madrid to design 15 experimental opera costumes that fits the surrealistic text of Lorca. the designer Awad presented his own interpretation of these costumes made with wood, leather, latex and a tutu made entirely from paper.
El Público is Lorca’s most difficult and mysterious play, and one of the great classics of modern Spanish theatre. Lorca wrote it in Cuba, just after his trip to New York, at a time of intense experimentation in art and life. Homosexuality is addressed openly in El Público. The play is a cry of defiance against bourgeois hypocrisy and a plea for sexual and artistic freedom. Two ways of understanding art are dealt with in the play: the Teatro al Aire Libre (Theatre in the Open Air), commercial and wishing to please the audience, and the Teatro Bajo la Arena (Theatre beneath the Sand), which aims to reveal that which is hidden and question established values.
The play also addresses the issue of the mask in the theatre, which arrives at the heart of the piece and defines a reality in a perpetual state of change, a kind of dream in which characters and identities constantly change their roles.El Público explores consciousness itself and questions the notion of individuality and free will. We are not one, but many.
El Público also considers the theme of art as an instrument for transforming reality, not in a merely political sense, but totally. Lorca was convinced, along with the surrealists, that art had the ability to transform human beings. In the same spirit, composer Mauricio Sotelo and librettist Andrés Ibañez, along with sculptor and set designer Alexander Polzin, have taken up the challenge of transforming El Público into a twenty-first-century opera.