(*) Ewa Procter
Ewa Procter sums up yet another year of reviews of plays in Rio, for the benefit of our community. The BCS is grateful to Ewa for her dedication and willingness to share her experience and expertise with us. – BCS.
Traditionally, January was the month when I recapped the articles I had written for The Umbrella in the preceding year. Although, in an effort to modernize and to cut costs that were getting too high, the printed version is no more, my articles have been online on the BCS website ever since the last printed issue in June 2017.
I am fully aware that the demise of The Umbrella was a disappointment to many of us (myself, included!), but I have also realized that one has to move on and accept the new times and the technology of this 21st Century – technology that did not exist when The Umbrella started!
This last year, 2017, was a year of diversity, at least as far as my articles were concerned. I have always tried to write about plays that might be of interest to my readers, even if I did watch many other shows: some of them were good, some bad, and some average. However, when trying to select the best ones and review them, I believe that I have achieved what I had planned; and this way I tried to bring you a variety of good plays. I hope to have been successful!
Back in December 2016/January 2017, there was a double edition of The Umbrella covering these two months, when my article on the Brazilian Northeastern comedy O Casamento Suspeitoso by Ariano Suassuna, presented at the Teatro Eva Herz by the Cia. Limite 151, was published. So, it was only at the also double edition of February/March that I was able to give you a summary of what plays I had reviewed in 2016.
So, it was only in April that I reviewed Deixa A Dor Por Minha Conta, a Brazilian pocket musical based on the works by Sidney Miller that had a short, although very successful run at the Teatro SESC Copacabana. May brought us another musical: Josephine Baker, A Vênus Negra by Walter Daguerre, staged at the Teatro Maison de France, Rio de Janeiro, a biographical homage to this famous star. This was an unforgettable experience for everybody! When the play finished its run – because it was going on tour – there were many requests from the audiences for it to come back, which it did, later on in the year!
In June, I reviewed O Que Terá Acontecido a Baby Jane?- a straight play by North American author Henry Farrell, based on his novel, and on which the film “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?” was based. Staged at the Theatro Net-Rio after a successful run in São Paulo, it brought us the memories of the time when Bette Davis and Joan Crawford played the two sisters. However, both Eva Wilma and Nathalia Timberg were excellent in their roles! I wish to remind you all that this was also the last time The Umbrella appeared in print!
In July I wrote a single article on two different shows: “One Actress and Two Performances” starring Stella Maria Rodrigues, where she presented the monologue Solteira, Casada, Viúva e Divorciada on Saturdays and Sundays; and Emilinha, where she impersonated the famous Brazilian singer Emilinha Borba, with a band and acting with Fabrício Negri, on Thursdays and Fridays. Those two very successful shows also played at the Teatro Maison de France.
Then, in August, I wrote about another pocket musical: Eu Não Posso Lembrar Que Te Amei, staged at the Theatro Net-Rio. The audience then learned about the love story of famous Brazilian singer Dalva de Oliveira and her husband, Herivelto Martins. Both Silvia Massari and Tadeu Aguiar did excellent jobs in their roles.
In September, it was time to review a comedy: Feliz Por Nada, at the Teatro Eva Herz filled the bill! An enjoyable evening, where the simple staging did not deter from the excellent performances of Maria Eduarda Carvalho, Cristiana Oliveira and Danilo Sacramento.
However, it was then that I realized that I had not reviewed a single drama during the entire year! So, in October, Os Sete Gatinhos by our renowned playwright Nelson Rodrigues was my choice. Although this is not one of my favorite plays by this author, I must say it was a worthwhile evening! And it was staged at the Teatro Nelson Rodrigues, a very comfortable theatre downtown Rio de Janeiro.
November was at the door! And what about a classic play? Molière’s O Doente Imaginário became a must! A good comedy with everything that an audience enjoys! The Cia. Limite 151 stages many classics, and they are always well done. So, this was not to be missed. And the Teatro Eva Herz, (where the play was being presented), is located inside the Livraria da Cultura. This is always an interesting place to visit, and spend some time in the bookstore while waiting for the theatre performance to start.
December, with people already thinking and planning their Festive Season is usually very meager in Brazil, as far as theatre is concerned. However, to finish the year and recommend Tom Na Fazenda was no effort on my part! It is an excellent Canadian play (written by Michel Marc Bouchard); it had three different runs in Rio de Janeiro, and has been nominated for many awards for this production. Although dealing with a heavy theme, I thoroughly enjoyed it when I saw it!
(*) Ewa Procter is a writer and a theatre translator,
and Chair of the Instituto Cultural Chiquinha Gonzaga.