Wednesday, 15 September 2010 19:34

A exceção e a regra (1987, 1998)

Following one of Brecht's major premises, that theater should fulfill it's mission of creating critical consciousness while still entertaining, Ói Nóis adapts The exception and the rule to the streets. The story of the merchant and the porter who get lost in the desert is complemented by a chorus of seven performers, who sing the events using Afro-Brazilian rhythms, and a body of eleven performers that personifies the geography, the animals, and the feelings of the story.


Wednesday, 15 September 2010 19:29

As domésticas (1985)

This staging of Genet's The Maids focuses on the relationships of exploitation and subservience that inform the class differences between the two maids and their rich mistress. The production emphasizes the theme of a feminine universe subjugated to an essentially macho society by having the female characters be played by men. The set — chairs for the audience, a double bed, a wardrobe, and a dresser with a mirror — is decorated with flowers, satin drapes, an altar for a saint that stands for the mistress, and a large painting of a phallus. The staging takes place as a mystic-erotic ceremony, and the entire configuration of the furniture is phallic. In the role playing games the maids play, the ambiguities in their relationship to their mistress become obvious. They are connected to her image by affection, erotism, and hatred, while they nurture a deep feeling of contempt for each other, since they see in each other what they really are. Their greatest desire is not to eliminate the class to which their mistress belongs, but rather to occupy her place in society.


Wednesday, 15 September 2010 19:24

Dança da conquista (1990)

Dança da Conquista brings to the stage the largest genocide in the history of humanity: the Conquest of the Americas by Colonial Europe, a genocide to which the colonized countries are inheritors, witnesses, and judges. The staging follows the rhythm and the form of a performative ritual, a dance in which the defeated invoke images of their own version of history. The play is a collage of texts from the Bible, poetry, and historical documents, invoking its expressive force in the successive symbolic shocks of mythological universes that constituted Latin America. The recourse to the mythical world explores communication through a symbolic vein, questioning the domination of the European cultural inheritance over the indigenous and African roots.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010 19:15

A saga de Canudos (2000)

Through masks and puppets, music and dance, A Saga de Canudos tells the story of the construction and destruction of the city of Canudos in one of the deadliest civil wars Brazil has ever seen. The performance recuperates the political aspects of the 19th Century movement led by Antônio Conselheiro. Plagued by hunger and oppression, thousands of sertanejos gathered around this legendary figure. The land, the herds, the tools, were all collective property, the tasks were distributed according to each one's capacity, and decisions were taken collectively in daily meetings. Their motto, however — "The land has no owner. The land belongs to all" — was considered a direct challenge to landowners, the government, and the church. Official historiography has painted Antônio Conselheiro as a fanatic, but this play presents him as a man conscious of his historical role, a man who fought against slavery and against the monopoly of the land, who challenged the church and the government, and who led the peasants in defeating the National Army several times.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010 18:56

Antígona — Ritos de paixão e morte (1990)

Ói Nóis found in the Greek Tragedy of Sophocles a space to discuss the civil disobedience of the individual against the oppression of the State. The play is adapted into an environmental performance, beggining with the battle between Thebes and Argos in the courtyard of the Terreira, and progressing through the five different environment the audience crosses, including a desert covered in tons of sand. The adaptation does not follow the classical structure but is divided into a non-realistic sequence of 30 scenes, including a dialogue between a mother and a son who deserted war, an added scene that tells the story from the point of view of the people instead of that of nobility, which classical tragedy privileges. The performance lasts three hours and accomodates fifty spectators, who are invited both to watch and to participate in scenes such as the "Bacchanal", featuring the cutting off and ritual burial of a giant phallus that Creonte wears by a Maenad. Text fragments from Camus, Artaud, Brecht, Nietzsche, Heiner Müller, Julian Beck, and several other authors, are intertwined into the narrative with the purpose of opening up the Greek story into other political situations.

O amargo santo da purificação tells the story of Brazilian Marxist revolutionary Carlos Marighella, a central figure in the struggle against both dictatorships the country faced in the 20th century — Getúlio Vargas' Estado Novo in the 30s and 40s, and the Military dictatorship established in 1964. This allegorical and baroque vision of his life, passion, and death revives a popular hero that the dominant sectors tried to erase from National History for decades. Starting from his origins in Bahia, this street production presents his youth, his poetry, the resistance to the Estado Novo, his imprisonment, the new Constitution, the outlawing of the Communist Party, the armed struggle against the Military Dictatorship, and the ambush that ended in his death in 1969. The text is written collectively, based on Marighella's poems  transformed into songs. Through masks, visual elements from Afro-Brazilian culture, and an aesthetics based on the films of Glauber Rocha, Ói Nóis brings to the streets of the city an epic approach to the aspirations of freedom and justice of the Brazilian people.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010 18:32

Álbum de família (1996)

Álbum de família presents the "unpleasant theater" of Nelson Rodrigues, an explosion of human passions and unconscious complexes, personal and collective, exposed in the form of theater. The core of this theater are the complementing opposites: hate and love, reality and illusion, death and life, hypocrisy and authenticity, the profane and the sacred, madness and sanity, the collective and the individual. It is the adventure of humankind as a species, as a civilization facing degeneration. In Álbum de família, the complexes are elaborated in the interior of the composition of the characters and the structure of the actions. The unconfessed, morbid, obscene, and inhuman acts scandalize, through the public defacement of the bodily dreams of a patriarchal family in the midst of physical, psychic, and moral degradation.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010 11:10

Aquilo de que somos feitos (2000)

Aquilo de que somos feitos was created over a period of two years of research and rehearsals, in 1999 and 2000, when the celebrations for the 500 years of Brazil's "discovery" where very present. One of the starting points was, therefore, to "discover" and to deal with issues such as citizenship, history, memory. How can art think the world, and how can these ways of knowing serve the world? In this performance the audience shares the same space with the dancers, in proximity and exposed to a dilated time, where movement happens extremely slowly, stimulating a different way of seeing that is almost "epidermic." The object of investigation is the body, the flesh, both aesthetically—what unexpected shapes can it produce, what different ways can it occupy space—and philosophically, how much is a body worth, it's labor, it's meanings? In this work the audience is co-author, assigning whatever meaning it wishes to the shapes the body makes and to the political and advertisement slogans the dancers say.

Published in Lia Rodrigues: Works
Thursday, 05 August 2010 15:53

Zé Celso Amnesty Session (2010)

In 1974, José Celso Martinez Corrêa was arrested by the military dictatorship and taken to the DOPS—the Department for Political and Social Order—where he was brutally tortured and put into prison. Thirty years later, the theater director filed a requirement for official pardon and compensation with the Amnesty Commission. This commission had been created by law 10.559 of 2002, an addition to the infamous law 6.683 of 1979, which granted general amnesty to all who committed political crimes under the dictatorship, both in the military and in the resistance.

In 2010, the Amnesty Commission held it's 35th public session at Teatro Oficina, to read and vote on Zé Celso's requirement. The official theatricality of the law was combined with O Banquete, a play by the group, and the audience was received by a Serbian-Croatian song, followed by the washing of their feet by the cast in character. The rapporteur for the case was attorney and actor Prudente José Silveira Mello, who read the report in a suit and barefoot, on the set of the play.


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Tuesday, 13 July 2010 17:11

Encarnado (2005)

In 2003, Lia Rodrigues Companhia de Danças was invited by CEASM, the Centre for Study and Social Action at the Favela da Maré, for a residency at the Maré Culture House. Favela da Maré is one of the largest complexes of favelas in Rio de Janeiro, with a population of over 130,000. The initial material for this production was a series of questions: Is it possible to identify with those who suffer? How are we affected by our own pains? What are the things that really count in our lives? How can we break borders and recreate a common territory? How can dance interfere, or even exist, in the context of a reality as tragic as Brazil's? encarnado was created in the space of the favela keeping an open door policy, so that members of the community could watch rehearsals, and the dancers could interact with the community. The assumption was that the body, in contact with a new space, produces a new way of moving, of thinking, of generating new forms of organization.

Published in Lia Rodrigues: Works
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