In spite of having been told the synopsis of this reality show type of theatrical approach related to the current political state of affairs Portugal finds itself in, I must confess it turned out to be rather different from what I had envisaged it would be.
The main reason having been the fact that most of the political issues in the series of sketches were approached in a straight forward way (plain "direct" language), whether satirical or not, with the group of actors impersonating (some to the minimum details) the many political and media related characters we are (were) so familiar with.
According to the brochure handed out before the play "Portugal being a Republican country, accounted for its resistance, trickery and laughter ... often well praised and less well praised and yet almost always not adequately accredited for is nevertheless ours ... (...) unique, National, of exported longing, imported prestige and bearing the weight of having been born at the threshold of Europe's doorway and continuously being drawn towards the sea without actually being able to swim! It is through the laughter one may be able to navigate today, amid the polluted seas and stranded boats. What one has to do is simply laugh, laugh and continue laughing till one bursts out and starts all over again with the joy, pleasure, intelligence, willingness, trust and with Pessoa relearn the longing towards the future."
The motto " Who wants to be irrevocable?" set the tone of the whole two hour sequence which taking us through well known scenarios of our political and social day-to-day life made us once more aware of the ridiculously mediocre and unsatisfying atmosphere we have been subject to as a country and country's people. The sequence ended with the calling down from heaven of two of the best known female characters in Portugal, Natalia Correia and Amalia Rodrigues (each of which played a comparatively different outstanding role whilst alive) to provide their opinion on the current situation from a "higher" perspective.
I had the privilege of sitting amongst my mother and one of my daughter's best friends, so as to watch and admire my own daughter Mia performing in a sequence of acting roles I had until last night never seen her play in - the satirical type of theatrical approach which fitted her no less than any of the previous performances I had been able to watch her in, in the past (and I say past because she herself has gone through many of the difficulties most actors in Portugal have to face - not having permanent work to hold onto).
The Café Theatre of Comuna was full and the desired laughter was heard throughout the whole spectacle. As a country we have fortunately not yet lost (or been deprived of) the capacity to laugh, whether we'll have the capability to overcome the current state of affairs is a different thing ...
An absolute "must" not only because of the theme but certainly also because of the performance of all the actors involved, which was next to none.
Authorship: Carlos Paulo, Hugo Franco, Karl Valentim, Almada Negreiros, Pedro Garcia, João Zorro, Rui Moniz, Diogo Fogaça, Bocage, Filinto Elisio, Abade de Jazente.
Coordination: Carlos Paulo.
Performing actors: Alvaro Correia, Carlos Paulo, Frederico Barata, Hugo Franco, Maria Ana Filipe, Marta Helena Jorge and Mia Farr.
Bruno Pascoa, Inês Godinho, Jaqueline Silva, Mara Boleta, Marta Nunes and Nireida Veiga (secondary actors).
Lighting: Paulo Graça
Sound effects: Hugo Franco
Choreography: Luis Moreira
Graphic Design: R2
Video and Photography: Rui Raposo
Light and Sound Operation: Carolina Caramelo
Seamstress: Mestra Aurélia Bras