Xàbia’s Living Chess is performed in the Oceanographic centre in Valencia

Marina García, Fallera Mayor Infantil de València, participated as guest of honour.

“The sea and the oceans. Its flora and fauna. They are means of survival for us and our way of life and, instead of living gratefully, we destroy them. I look around me and see death, destruction and feel pain. Now there is nothing we can do. I just hope that nature responds and we get what we deserve. A single word resonates in my mind: enough.”

With this final statement by dubbing actor Salvador Aldeguer, the Escacs Vivents de Xàbia, a Festival of National Tourist Interest, has once again stirred the public’s conscience with ‘(A)MAR’. It was performed in July 2023, the 25th edition of the Living Chess event, and last Sunday it was performed again at the Mar Rojo Auditorium in the Oceanographic Centre in Valencia.

The place could not be more ideal for a staging that recreates the oppression and destruction that human beings exert on the seas and oceans. The amphitheatre has an impressive aquarium as a backdrop and the action takes place in the depths of the marine environment of l’Illa del Portitxol in Xàbia where archaeological and biological finds are continually being produced.

At its premiere in 2023, the Fiesta Commission invited Francisco Torner, marine biologist and director of management control at the Oceanogràfic of the City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia, as the guest of honor at the game. The Foundation expressed its desire to be able to share the message of (A)MAR at the Oceanogràfic Centre. The request materialized in an adapted way – but without losing a bit of its uniqueness – as the culmination of OceanFEST, the recreational-pedagogical festival for the whole family promoted by the Foundation that has carried out a commendable work during the last week on the importance of preserving the seas and oceans through art, film, music and workshops of all kinds.

A team of more than 100 people travelled to the regional capital from Xàbia, including the 32 boys and girls aged between 7 and 17 years old who play the pieces of the chess board, the musicians of the Symphony Orchestra of the Centre Artístic Musical de Xàbia (CAM) and the dancers from the Jávea Endanza Academy, national champions and representatives of Spain in the European Championship. In addition, members of the Fiesta Commission were in charge of the different tasks that give originality to this large-format theatrical performance and parents essential to carry out the logistics tasks. Xàbia Council provided transportation.

On this occasion, Alicia Hernández, marine biologist and representing the Oceanogràphic Foundation, was in charge of reading the movements of the white pieces (the human race) and Marina García, Fallera Mayor Infantil de València 2024 and playing on behalf of the city’s children, directed the black pieces with represented the seas and oceans. Along with Marina, the Children’s Court of Honor and the president of the Fallera Central Board and councilor for Festivals and Traditions of Valencia, Santiago Ballester, were also present. Representing Xàbia, wer mayor Rosa Cardona and the councilor responsible for Culture, Mavi Pérez.

The Festival Commission carried out a complex adaptation work to bring (A)MAR back to the surface and transfer this story told on four sides to a single one, on a board of much smaller dimensions than usual and in an environment with some specific characteristics. Also the costumes were made with completely recyclable materials and in line with the ecological message of the work. Much of what was exhibited had to be fixed and even remade.

An Epic Story

A)MAR tells the story of an underwater expedition led by the multinational Humanitas in the area of Portitxol in Xàbia. His team of researchers, led by archaeologist Ximo, is convinced of the existence of a biological redoubt of great value. The white side is led by King Capitalism and Lady Humanitas, characterized as a sculpture of gold and jewels representing human greed.

Ximo’s hypotheses are true and in the depths of the coast of centuries have thrown into the sea, they are actually gifts in a fraternal gesture of esteem. These beings have assimilated everything they received, turning it into part of their food, clothing, jewelry, utensils, homes… without knowing that it is the cause of death of their population.

The initial idyllic coexistence is cut short with the sudden death of Lady Posidonia, which puts the inhabitants of the sea on alert, increasingly sicker, and the discovery of Humanitas’ authentic plans to exploit the resources of this civilization in favour of “progress.” even if that means its annihilation.

A dramatic story with overwhelming moments such as the death of Posidonia, the fight of the two Ladies uttering real press headlines that predict a natural disaster due to the selfishness of human beings, the plea of the black women when they see their end approaching and the impassiveness of the capitalism or plunder after having decimated the sea.