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quarta-feira, dezembro 24, 2008
Stage play "Isto não aconteceu"/"This did not happen" by Álvaro Cordeiro
Paulo Vaz has staged another Play, this one in comical vein.
Álvaro Cordeiro is much more interesting when he uses the screwball mode. When he goes for more philosophical/introspective plays the audience stumble upon some difficulties. His plays with the burlesque mode turned on are easier to stage. When the introspective mode is on the hurdles that Paulo Vaz has to overcome amount to a lot. Sometimes those hurdles are almost insurmountable and the play doesn’t really succeed on all levels.
This play, staged by Paulo Vaz and Vicente Morais (plays Pedro in the TV-Series for children “A Ilha das Cores”), is one of the most successful by Álvaro Cordeiro that I had the grace of watching. Downright funny. It works as a sort of pastiche to the American movies and plays of the thirties. All in all it’s a combination of three vectors: Capra, Howard Hawks/John Huston and Michael Curtiz. The comical vein comes from the Capra mold (“It Happened One Night”), the “thrillerness” from Howard Hawks/John Huston pot (“The Big Sleep”/“The Maltese Falcon”) and the “adventureness” comes from Michael Curtiz. This play brought me back a few years to the times at the Cinemateca Portuguesa. I went and watched it a second time, so that I could pin-point the fine points that I’d missed previously. While watching the play I kept thinking about the movie “It Happened One Night”. This is a good thing, because it’s not an easy task to emulate to today’s frame of reference the rhythm and nonsense that pervades and dominates this particular movie. On this and other aspects the play is entirely successful.
This play is about a group of grifters, who want to rob a very notorious piece of jewellery. The leader of the gang is a chess player and as a byplay he also recites Portuguese poetry (Fernando Pessoa, etc). The effect is quite hilarious.
The plot takes place mainly in a joint owned by a simple woman, whose only aim in life is to get by, that is, she needs to meet the day-to-day bills in order to survive. Having to make ends meet is no trivial task. Genoveva is her name and she’s played by Ana Correia. There’s also another regular to the joint, that spends the days playing chess with himself and questioning the basic truths of life (Armando played by Paulo Martins). He keeps jotting down the “lines” that are worth remembering…. In my opinion these two are the most effective and consistent characters in the play. The interplay between them on stage is quite up to the mark. They seem to be having a blast! Their performance on stage rubbed off on the audience, that kept on laughing. I had someone sitting behind me that was on the verge of having a fit…
The set was quite impressive coming from a non-professional theater group. And it was really funny. Miguel Almeida did also a great job as Hugo, and as I stated before I thought the relationship between Genoveva and Armando was absolutely wonderful, as did most of the audience to judge from their laughter.
By cleverly using the clichés of the screwball comedy genre, the play becomes something else that fully works.
I hope that Álvaro Cordeiro's next play will be in the same vein.
In a range from 1 to 6, I’d give it a solid 5 just for the sheer joy.