Interview with Marcos Malafaia, one of the directors of Brazilian puppet theater company Giramundo, conducted by Marcos Alexandre in the context of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics 5th Encuentro, Performing Heritage, celebrated in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in March of 2005. In this interview Malafaia discusses the origins and history of the group, their construction and manipulation techniques, and the influences and genres at play in Giramundos ongoing research, creation, performance and pedagogy. The artist also discusses the points of contact between arts and politics in the process of performing Brazilian heritage, paying special attention to four renowned plays by Giramundo: Tiradentes, O Guarani, Os Orixás, and Cobra Norato. Finally, Malafai comments on Giramundos latest spectacle, Pinocchio, an adaptation of Carlo Collodis text to puppet theater.
Created in 1970 by Brazilian artists Álvaro Apocalypse, Terezinha Veloso and Maria do Carmo Vivacqua Martins (Madu), Giramundo Teatro de Bonecos (www.giramundo.org) has gained worldwide recognition as one of the most important puppet theater groups in the world. Their remarkable trajectory includes professional works for theater, film, video, and television, as well as a strong pedagogical component, teaching workshops and puppetry courses both abroad and in their own school in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The 950 marionettes that they have already staged or that are still on stage are part of the Museu Giramundo collection, which has the largest private collection of the kind in Brazil. The methodological rigor in creating their performances, the refined construction and manipulation of their performing objects, and their interest in exploring topics in Brazilian culture have provided Giramundo with tools for transcending traditional childrens theater in order to incorporate adult themes and cultural forms in direct dialogue with complex political and aesthetic issues.