O Rei da Vela (1967)

O Rei da Vela was written by Oswald de Andrade in 1933, but only debuted in this 1967 production by Teatro Oficina. Staged during the cultural revolution of the late 1960s and at the threshold of the 1968 AI-5—the most violent period of Brazil's dictatorship—it became a symbol for the counterculture movement. Oficina's theater house had been destroyed by a fire in 1966 and, looking for a play that would symbolize a new phase, the company decided that this avant-garde work by the Brazilian playwright provided them with the necessary elements to reflect the crisis of their cultural and historical moment. A fable about a candle maker and money lender under the pressure of loans to the North-American Imperialism, it depicts the underdeveloped condition of the country, targeted by an authoritarian mentality built upon superficialities. With strong and aggressive visual elements by Hélio Eichbauer and a song by Caetano Veloso, this production became a reference for several artists that formed the Tropicalia Movement, influencing music, cinema, visual arts, and literature.


Additional Materials

icon O Rei da Vela - review Folha clipping (251.08 kB)

Additional Info

  • Title: O Rei da Vela
  • Alternate Title: The Candle King
  • Holdings: script
  • Language: Portuguese
  • Date: 1967
  • Location: São Paulo, Brazil
  • Type-Format: play, performance
  • Cast: Abrahão Farc, Adolfo Santana, Chico Martins, Dina Sfat, Dirce Migliaccio, Edgar Gurgel Aranha, Esther Góes, Etty Fraser, Fernando Peixoto, Henriqueta Brieba, Ítala Nandi, José Wilker, Liana Duval, Maria Alice Vergueiro, Otávio Augusto, Othon Bastos, Renato Borghi, Renato Dobal, Yolanda Cardoso
  • Credits: Oswald de Andrade, author; José Celso Martinez Corrêa, director; Frei Betto, assistant director; Helio Eichbauer, set design and costumes; Maria Esther Stockler, choreography; Caetano Veloso, Damiano Cozzella, and Rogério Duprat, music; Teatro Oficina, producer