‘Alardea’, produced by K 2000 (THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO) for ETB1, is loosely based on the Basque conflict of Alarde but eventually showcases universal conflicts. Aired Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on ETB1 and also available from the ‘a la carte’ service eitb.eus. We discussed the series with its screenwriter, Virginia Yagüe.
In September 2019, before COVID became part of our lives, I received a call from Blanca Baena at K-2000 where she suggested I could maybe write a fictional story, a miniseries based on women’s hopes to take part in the traditional Alardea parade. The idea hadn’t met with much success the first time around, so I had my doubts. I suppose that the screenwriter in me was crying out to avoid a project that had already been covered, at the same time as my feminist side had already declared victory in this particular battle. The outcome was that several days later I was calling Blanca to assure her that I wanted to write this series.
I presented a story where past and present go hand in hand, not unlike the very evolution of Alarde’s own history, where this transfer of concerns and knowledge between generations takes places. Stories and conflicts that reappear after years dormant. Herein lies the origin of our leading trio: grandmother, mother and daughter; Edurne, Amaia and June whose lives unfold in the fictional town of Uriola.
From this point on, I focused all my efforts on making it clear what it was exactly that we wanted to narrate an original conflict that everyone had heard of and which represented the seed from which our story would grow. From an incidental perspective, we were faced with the tale of vindication, in the sense of demanding and defending a right. As such, we were able to chart a clear path that would categorize this division into episodes: the decision, the problems, the surrender and the resolution. From herein on we sought out a dimensional perspective pursuing a more intimate and emotional reading for our protagonists. I wanted to place particular weight on the legacy between mothers and daughters, those unwritten and inherent mandates that often weigh heavily, can shape our lives, and tend to repeat themselves cyclically between generations. From the atom to universal history associated with women’s demands for rights within a firmly established tradition as is the case with the Alarde.
Their challenge to take part in the parade is an ongoing conflict that continues to repeat year after year. This is not something distant or anchored in a past memory and obviously, we were very conscious that the action and the characters had to generate specific interest and fuel the intrigue between episodes. This search had to be centered around an approach from an emotional and at the same time realistic perspective that would allow us to grow the story and afford it the right dimensions. We needed Amaia’s decision to become the bombshell that would impact her to the very core, sparking unforeseeable consequences and shaping the very evolution of every member in the story’s central family. Her decision not only reconfigures the Alarde of her town, but the reality of her close circle, meaning that nothing will ever be the same again.
I thank everyone in the writer’s room; Pablo Tobías and Arantxa Cuesta, for their implication, but above all I’d like to acknowledge the work of Pedro Fuentes, who was an indispensable companion on this journey from start to finish, alongside Blanca Baena herself, without whose efforts against all odds this series would never have seen the light of day. Also to the entire production team, with David P. Sañudo at the helm. And of course, to the wonderful actors who breathed life into the protagonists: Itziar Ituño, Klara Badiola and Carmen Climent, accompanied by exceptional Iñigo Aramburu and the rest of the cast.
A few days ago, after the broadcast of the first episode of ‘Alardea’, I read that someone said it was a necessary series and that it would stir a lot of things up inside us all. I then thought of the quote from Alaine Touraine which featured at the beginning of Arantxa Urretabizkaia’s narrative, ‘Lecciones del camino’ (Lessons from the road): “In the face of what affects us closely, we cannot remain neutral”
I hope I have fresh opportunities to continue doing something so necessary and to state that Urretabizkaia was right. Because I’m convinced that the snow has begun to melt.