from The Last Arena – The Daily Telegraph: The Curtain Also Rises


…taken from the blog The Last Arena

The Last Arena Logo

Alexander Fiske-Harrison bullfighting (Photo: Nicolás Haro)

Alexander Fiske-Harrison in the ring (Photo: Nicolás Haro)

Daily Telegraph

7 February 2012

by Tim Walker

Curtain also rises

Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter Mariel will attend the first night of Fiesta (The Sun Also Rises) at the Trafalgar Studios in Whitehall on Thursday night.

The cast of the show, which is based on his first novel, about bullfighting, were given tips on the Spanish “art” by Alexander Fiske-Harrison, an Old Etonian, who trained as a matador.

“I tried to convey the essence of what it is to be a bullfighter,” says Fiske-Harrison, who is courting Antalya Nall-Cain, the daughter of Lord Brocket.

Alexander Fiske-Harrison and Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez (Photo: Nicolas Haro)

Alexander Fiske-Harrison and Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez (Photo: Nicolás Haro)

What they neglected to mention is that one of the people I trained with was Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez, the great grandson of Cayetano Ordóñez, ‘El Niño de la Palma’, on whom the matador Pedro Romero in the novel is based. (It was originally written as a non-fiction short story, under the title ‘Cayetano Ordóñez’)

My time with Cayetano forms two chapters of my William Hill Sports Book Of The Year shortlisted, Into The Arena: The World Of The spanish Bullfight, and he and I are now working on a documentary, directed by Stevan Riley, and produced by the Acadamy Award-winning John Battsek (Passion Pictures/Mephisto Productions.)

Alexander Fiske-Harrison running the bulls in Pamplona, far right, red-and-white striped blazer (Photo: REUTERS/Joseba Etxaburu)

In reality the novel was based on Hemingway’s third trip to Pamplona in 1925. As mentioned, Pedro Romero was Cayetano sr., while the novel’s protagonist Jake Barnes was in many ways a young ‘Papa’ himself. Nick Cohn was based on an American writer called Harold Loeb and Lady Brett Ashley on a Lady Duff Twysden. (However, in the words of the great American bull-runner Joe Distler on being introduced to Antalya Nall-Cain in Pamplona in 2011, “I think I just met the real Lady Brett.”)

The website of the play, with more information on the production and tickets, is

Alexander Fiske-Harrison


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