It was a joy to go and watch “Feliz Por Nada”! Although it is a comedy, it also gives you food for thought. These days when things are difficult all over, to go to the very nice and comfortable Teatro Eva Herz located inside the Livraria da Cultura, downtown Rio de Janeiro, is not just a question of trying to see a good play. It is a little more: a way to spend some enjoyable time. Thus I would recommend for my readers to arrive earlier and browse through the books and DVDs that this large bookstore has to offer.
Although the play started its run at the beginning of August, I was only able to go and see it recently. It has to do with many of the issues that modern women deal with every day: husband, children, taking care of their homes and their jobs. It is based on a book by Martha Medeiros, an author who always writes about the daily experiences of different women, both in her books and her contributions in “O Globo” newspaper; she has also had two of her works (“Divã” and “Doidas e Santas”) adapted for the stage and for the cinema. And now, Regiana Antonini has brought “Feliz Por Nada” to the theatre, bringing joy and entertainment to the audiences.
Helio Zacchi and Agnes Xavier, together with Rogério Fabiano, produced this play. They chose a very light story, dealing with two women (one, a photographer; and the other one, a teacher) who have known each other by sight, said “hello” when their paths occasionally crossed while jogging around the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, but who have never really talked to each other. This situation changes, however, when they meet at Tokyo airport while waiting for a flight to take them back home. While waiting to board the aeroplane the daughters of one of them disappear in the crowd, and while the mother is desperate, it is the other one who manages to find both girls! This is the beginning of a friendship between the two women, a friendship that becomes very close once they return to Brazil. They become almost sisters, sharing dreams, fun and ideas. What they cannot share, however, is the fact that Laura’s husband had been in love with Juliana in their young days. This is the basis of the comedy but, being a light entertainment, it all has a very happy end! And, even going through their own personal turmoil, they find joy in their relationship! Here I quote Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) when he wrote: “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.”
The two actresses (Cristiana Oliveira and Maria Eduarda Carvalho) play the two friends. Both their performances are excellent, and bring the expected diversity in the characters of the two women, Laura and Juliana. Danilo Sacramento, the husband, adds to the comedy in a role that is contained and true. Ernesto Piccolo’s direction is firm and brings out the best in the cast. A curiosity: there is no set! But the very good lighting (by Fernanda Mantovani and Tiago Mantovani) plus the excellent costumes (by Francisco Leite) make it easy to forget that the backdrop is just a grey wall!
I wish to add at this moment that I was very glad to see that, even with the crisis Brazil is going through, the theatre was almost full on the evening I went to see the play! Helio Zacchi told me after the performance that they were most happy about the audience’s response, something I had the chance to notice myself: excellent reaction of all the people who were watching, both young and old, men and women – bearing in mind that “Feliz Por Nada” is geared mainly towards women’s issues! The play runs from Tuesday to Saturday, an unusual thing these days in Brazil and the seats are always practically sold out. There are no performances on Sundays, because the Livraria da Cultura is closed; and Monday is traditionally the day off for cast and crew. I also believe that there will be no performance on the 7th of September, as it is a National Holiday when commerce closes. However, due to its success I am happy to report that “Feliz Por Nada”, which was supposed to close on the 16th of September, has extended its run for another two weeks, so the play will now close on the 30th.
As I mentioned, the Teatro Eva Herz is located inside the Livraria da Cultura, on Rua Senador Dantas, 45 – Downtown Rio de Janeiro. There is no parking, but plenty of taxis are at the door once the performances are over. Also the Metro Station (Cinelândia) is very near, just a couple of blocks away. As the play starts at 7:00 P.M. there is plenty of time to get home afterwards using the Metro. The price of tickets is R$ 40,00 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and R$ 50,00 on Fridays and Saturdays. There should be a 50% (fifty percent) discount for students and senior citizens, but it is always wise to check through the box-office telephone number (3916-2600). The play last for 75 minutes, and censorship is for young people under the age of 12. So, if you want to see a fun and entertaining play, do not miss “Feliz Por Nada”!
(*) Ewa Procter is a writer and a theatre translator, and
Vice-President of the Instituto Cultural Chiquinha Gonzaga.