To learn, from its promoters, about the project to recover the representation of the Jacobean legend that involves the whole village of Obanos after 16 years of hiatus, as well as the celebration of another series of parallel cultural events that would take place in the summer of 2024.
The members of the Committee on Culture, Sport and Tourism, at the request of UPN, PSN, EH Bildu, and Geroa Bai, have visited the headquarters of the Mystery of Obanos Foundation, located in this town, a milestone on the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago de Compostela.
The MPs who attended were Javier Trigo, Félix Zapatero (G.P. UPN), Ibai Crespo (G.P. PSN), Sebe Txoperena (G.P. EH Bildu) and Blanca Regúlez (G.P. Geroa Bai).
The parliamentary delegation was received by Arantxa Hernández, mayoress of Obanos and acting president of the Foundation – following the sudden death of its president, Juan Manuel Rubio -, Julio Ayerra, secretary, Jesús Mª Puy, councillor of Culture and Fran Rodríguez, representative of the Brotherhood of Hermits of Arnotegui.
The aim of the visit, as stated by the secretary of the Foundation, Julio Ayerra, was “to publicise the work carried out by the Foundation and the Obanos Town Council with the aim of relaunching the representation of the Mystery so that its importance in culture and tourism is recognised within the framework of the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago de Compostela”.
Aware of the arduous task of a new start, the secretary of the foundation remarked that “they have been working all these years to rethink and adapt to the new social and cultural reality”. Therefore, four lines of action are being undertaken: the reissue of the Mystery of Obanos with a new text, music and drama; the activities of cultural and educational dissemination of the Camino de Santiago; the actions of enhancement of the documentary, historical and material heritage of the foundation and, finally, to publicize all the actions through new technologies: web and social networks.
Supported by all these interventions, the main purpose, without a doubt, is to prepare the recovery of the play in the summer of 2024, where the village will once again become the stage and its neighbours, in exceptional extras. According to Julio Ayerra, the first phase of execution has already been completed. “In this phase we have tackled the drafting of a new script for a small or medium-format theatrical version and the final revision of the text of the original play, based on the original traditional structure, but updated to adapt it to new times and new audiences. The same can be said of the original music, which complements the theatrical action, as well as the general production, lighting and sound studies”.
The mayoress of Obanos, Arantxa Hernández, has emphasised the involvement of the council and the citizens and the economic commitment that this entails, for which they are also addressing the Parliament and the Government of Navarre. They are asking both bodies for a budget allocation that will help to complete the budget to make their aspiration a reality, estimated at around 400,000 euros. While awaiting public funding, they are also counting on contributions from private entities and various donations, as well as other sources of income. The reality is, in the words of the mayoress, that “the dates are getting closer, it’s January and we still don’t have financial backing. We have to choose the main actors, the hundreds of extras, the rehearsals, the assembly of the play itself and all the parallel events that we want to carry out during 10 days in July and August 2024”.
In this sense, the Mystery of Obanos Foundation has a prominent role as a disseminator of the Way of St. James and mentor of cultural events, such as the Choral Competition of medieval and Renaissance music, now in its fifth edition.
The parliamentarians visited the Foundation, where they were able to admire the more than 1,000 costumes, accessories and other items that are jealously guarded, waiting to be worn again by the more than 400 actors and extras that embody the play. Likewise, after a short walk, they were able to admire the square and the Church of San Juan Bautista, the stage where the performance takes place.
The Misterio de Obanos Foundation was set up on 29 March 1993 on the initiative of various institutions, public and private entities of the Autonomous Community of Navarre, with the aim of encouraging the recovery and promotion of this popular performance. Its governing body includes representatives of the Government of Navarre, Obanos Town Council, the Brotherhood of Hermits of Arnotegui, the Archbishopric of Pamplona, the Parish Church of San Juan Bautista de Obanos and the Associations of Friends of the Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago de Compostela of Estella and Pamplona, as well as two outstanding personalities from the cultural and artistic spheres of the Autonomous Community of Navarre.
The legend that inspires the theatrical staging gave rise in 1965 to the historical reconstruction show called “Mystery of Obanos” or “Mystery of San Guillén and Santa Felicia”, written by the priest Don Santos Beguiristáin.
The success of the staging of the play continued every year until 1977.
After several years of suspension, in 1993 the recently created Fundación Misterio de Obanos, together with the Hermandad de Ermitaños de Arnotegui, organised a performance of the play within the framework of the Festivals of Navarre, which was repeated in 1999, which meant the consolidation of the show, thanks to the effort, collaboration and work of all the neighbours of Obanos, the central axis of this cultural event. The play was performed until 2008. In 2001 it was declared a “Festival of National Tourist Interest”.
At the end of the visit, the Culture Committee has gathered information in order to carry out the actions it deems appropriate.
FUENTE: Parlamento de Navarra