PRETO – English Version
“Slavery will remain as a national characteristic of Brazil for a long time. It spread great softness through our loneliness, its contact was the very first form that the virgin nature of the country received, and it was what was kept since then; it populated the country as it was a natural and alive religion, with its myths, its legends, its enchantments; inflated the nation’s infantile soul, its sadness with no regret, its tears with no bitterness, its silence with no concentration, its joy for no cause, its happiness with no day after… It is the unnamed gasp that exhale to the moonlight our northern nights.”
Joaquim Nabuco / Caetano Veloso
It is the new creation of the dramaturge and director Marcio Abreu along with companhia brasileira de teatro and collaborating artists.
A theatrical work that researches on racism and denial of differences from a Brazilian experience and in perspective with the world. An experience that aims to expand through art the perceptions about the other and about the living spaces and formation of sensitivities.
The project was born as an undeviating unfoldment of PROJETO bRASIL, the latest work of the company. The plunge into Brazilian social thought literature, the points of views about our socio-political and ethno-cultural history, the trips across Brazil in coexistence with its multiple differences, the travels to other countries, experiencing the foreign look upon us and vice versa and the radical consciousness of the reverberation of all of this, apart from the challenge of a single play, were some of the aspects that based the decision to create PRETO.
Two basic references influence and nurture the creation process of this play: on one hand the work of Joaquim Nabuco, intellectual and Brazilian abolitionist politician who lived in the XIX century between Brazil and Europe, and on the other a contemporary work of Cameroonian professor and political scientist Achille Mbembe “A Crítica da Razão Negra”¹,, which proposes in an iconoclastic way an indispensable critical reflection about relevant questions of today’s world: how do we view differences and life, how do we conceive the other and how are identities constructed? what is similar and dissimilar? what is visible and invisible and how does it manifest?
1. The Critic of Black Reason – free translation
In the past few years, in his recent creations, Marcio Abreu has been investigating and creating dramaturgies that evoke the public dimension of theater as a place of coexistence and manifestation of ethical, social and aesthetically articulated presences.
His new work PRETO follows the path of intersection between distinct fields of art and thought, dialoguing with performance, music, dance, visual arts, philosophy, literature and anthropology.
Furthermore, it puts in relation different cultures and points of view, gathering for this work Brazilian and foreign artists, expanding the issues and looking for an inseparability between concept, creative process and production methods. One cannot forget in this context to mention the fact that in today’s Brazilian society, there is a strong war going on about topics from minorities, their rights and expression of freedom.
In May and June 2016, during the “Projeto Brasil Festival” in Hellerau, Dresden, and Mousonturm, Frankfurt, we had the chance to have various encounters with Brazilian and European artists, activists and their communities and to discuss and exchange different points of views and experiences related to racism and segregation. The idea for Preto was born, and Hellerau and Mousonturm commited in coproducing this new work. In May and June 2017, we will have a creation residency of two weeks in each city and theater. There, we will be partially joined by German performers and theater directors Daniel Schauf and Simon Möllendorf who we met in 2015 during the “Projeto Brasil Festival”.
This stage of work of the creation process will be dedicated to the dramaturgy development from the perspective of a poliscenic composition. Here, we aim to articulate fiction texts created especially for the play, research the physical presence and the ambiguity of the image and explore the physical space, experimenting dimensions and understandings of the “inside” and “outside”, “private” and “public” spaces and landscapes. How can we create multiple dialogues without addressing the theme “racism” in a narrative and direct way, without creating a pamphlet about blackness? How can we conceive characters that manifest themselves in ever changing ways, playing with the notion of presence and absence, the virtual and the physical body?
We consider these residencies and the rehearsal room as a fundamental instance of creation, a living and open laboratory in contraposition to the execution of a project entirely thought a priori.
The dialogue with the real without the purpose of reproducing reality will be one of the instances for creating the artistic universe and language of PRETO.
Speaking from a subject and not about a theme. Being affected by a topic and artistically reacting to it rather than just describing it theatrically or transferring it on stage. Strengthen what we wish to articulate as an artistic language.
In this way, we understand theater as a field of play and invention. A place of articulation and access to the unknown; a unique experience of encounter between the presence of interpreters and public members where the “between”, the invisible place that exists connecting people, can be created when theater is understood as an event inscribed in real, concrete time.
The dramaturgy creation is simultaneous to the process of the play and inseparable from the staging.
“Privileging a form of reminiscence, half-solar and half-lunar, half-day and half-night, we had in mind one question – how to think difference and life, similar and dissimilar, the excessive and the in common? “
Rodrigo Bolzan and Grace Passô – Photo Isadora Flores
Marcio Abreu, Danilo Grangheia, Daniel Schauf and Simon Möllendorf – Photo Isadora Flores
Grace Passô – Photo Isadora Flores