Catarina… [a note based on the work of Tiago Rodrigues]May 7, 2021
Catarina and the Beauty of Killing Fascists
[a note from Tiago Rodrigues' show: Catarina and the beauty of killing fascists]
A provocative title. Characters with extreme doubts and certainties. Actors truly committed to what they do (remember the award Ageas received by Sara Barros Leitão). An author who is simultaneously a director and the theater director, not just any theater, but the Dona Maria II National Theater, one of the basic references of the national theater. A society with increasingly polarized groups.
This piece with all the characteristics indicated has become the target of criticism and support. Repudiation and praise, however, the text that follows does not intend to evaluate the work in question, nor to make a traditional theatrical criticism. In the same way that Tiago Rodrigues makes use of a provocative title to put political issues on Stage, we make use of this piece to help deepen the debate around what is, or could be, a kind of Political Theater.
The society or the message of the show is not intended to be the target of analysis. Let us focus on the surrounding movements and how the controversy caused is also part of the show. The theater went out of doors… and within them it was felt. (as the assistants say…)
The show runs smoothly, like just another very elaborate TNDMII production until it reaches the most anticipated moment of the show, and after being very surprised by the massacre of almost all Catarinas by Catarina performed by Marco Mendonça, using what seems to have been a real gun with dry powder, there follows a moment of silence from which one of the great moments of Tiago Rodrigues' play would start.
The whole staging of the show can be questioned and analyzed according to the parameters of what is the style of the Political Theater Piscatorian and Brechtian, one can also point out that it was politics that entered the theater and that this play is written based on the foam of the days. However, escaping these discussions, the moment that guarantees that that, and all the theater that provokes the action that follows, is (regardless of formal, theoretical or philosophical characteristics about everything and all the theater being or not political) a spectacle of Political Theater.
During the last shots I notice that the door to the audience seats on the right side opens and a room attendant enters, on the left side the assistant also moves and right after the shots I hear the smooth running of the curtain behind me that closes the door. central aesthetics, while the Action and the later beginning of Romeu Costa's speech takes place, the room assistants of the National Theater Dona Maria II take the feathers all the way to the front row corridor and position themselves - almost invisible - leaning against the walls that limit the stage's mouth, the room's light opens slightly, and the central aisle finds its assistant ready, among the sound and light control boxes, to assist all the spectators who want to rebel against the provocative speech coming from the stage .
This movement of classroom assistants is a clear example of what can be a type of political theater, a theater far beyond the characteristics of the twentieth century or just a theater that contains a political message.
Room attendants by the stage easily gain two functions: helping people insulted by the speech (but not with the actor) to leave, but they also incarnated the position of stage bodyguards as in large rallies, where it is known that at any moment there is someone who can start running to attack the speaker.
This insignificant moment gains even greater strength when placed alongside all the controversy on social networks about a simple title and inserted in a context of political and social polarizations. The theater was talked about in a public square and made people move, (remember also Hanan Benammar and Pia Maria Roll in Oslo with the show Ways of seeing, in which the Norwegian government itself took a position and openly criticized the show) who, knowing these controversies, insists on seeing the play, not only because he likes theater or the theme, he also went to mark his position: I support a culture pluralistic, free speech and artistic (even if they left early, or if they wanted to kill the character of Romeo, as it was said loud and clear by a lady who sat in the chair beside.)
In view of this almost absurd scenario for a show, two room assistants one on each side in front of the stage that simultaneously assist people in their revoltous departure, but that suddenly may be the only protective barrier for the characters in this piece, in this type of theater the fourth wall does not protect them, in fact this wall is broken with the attitude of the far-right character, he assumes himself as the mobilizer and the politician who wants to change the country.
We, as spectators aware of what is going on outside the doors, many who have suffered as a minority cannot be demoralized by a character who assaults us and attacks us directly, eye to eye. The urge to stand up and for justice is encouraged and there are assistants to remember that it is fiction, mere theatricality. The human being in uniform who is assumed to be the fourth wall that the text destroyed.
Bearing these movements in mind, it is safe to say that if it causes a lively movement, discussion and even some kind of disorder it is political theater (or to distinguish types and genres of theater, a politically active / mobilizing theater), while others are of content or scope Politician who may or may not cause movement or fit into artivism.
Not forgetting the echo in the society in question, if the society does not attribute as much value to the debate and place of discussion about Theater in general, whenever there is a play that questions openly and is more than a megaphone of the environment in which it is inserted, is also causing an impact in struggles outside the cultural spectrum, the value of its interference in society gains even more relevance and reinforces the cause agitprop.
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