(*) Ewa Procter
Photo credits: Guga Melgar
At my last column, I promised my readers that, as from this month, I would be writing about interesting new plays. And in keeping my promise, I bring you the article on “Bibi, Uma Vida Em Musical”.
This is really one of these plays that one should not miss! A thoroughly enjoyable evening, from beginning to end. “Bibi, Uma Vida Em Musical” written by Artur Xexéo and Luana Guimarães, with Thereza Tinoco’s original music specially written for this play is really a delight to the audience – so much so, that on the evening I was in the audience the actors and singers were applauded many times during the performance!
As I was not there on the date the play opened – I went a week later! – I heard different comments from people who had watched it before. Some said that they believed it was an act of courage on the part of the authors to write a biographic musical on the life of Bibi Ferreira, an icon of Brazilian theatre, an actress who is alive and in activity in her nineties! A life dedicated to the theatre, since her very early days, as she was on stage still as a baby! There she replaced a doll that got lost, and was necessary for the action. So, baby Bibi took very good care of this part; and this was the start of her artistic career!
Bibi Ferreira is the daughter of famous Brazilian actor Procópio Ferreira; her Spanish mother, Aída Isquierdo was a dancer, so the fact that Bibi Ferreira pursued her artistic career was something to be expected! However, she went even further than anyone would have imagined! Bibi Ferreira became international when she worked both as an actress and a director in Portugal and England, as well as appearing on Broadway when she was already in her nineties!
In this musical, the authors go through many phases of the life of this star: family, profession, and marriages. How Bibi Ferreira started professionally at the age of nineteen, in a play written by her father where the two of them performed. There is also the mention on the birth of her only daughter, Tina Ferreira. And Bibi never stopped! If she was not acting, she was directing. And always enjoying her profession, theatre was a must! Here I quote William Cowper (1731-1800): “Pleasure is labour too, and tires as much”. But Bibi Ferreira never got tired of her career!
Bibi starred in musicals, always playing the leading woman role (“My Fair Lady”, “The Man of La Mancha”, “Hello, Dolly!”, “Piaf”), as well as in the famous Brazilian musical “Gota D’Água”, based on the Medea myth where she also took the lead. One might say Bibi Ferreira had a unique career: during her entire lifetime she was involved in acting, singing, directing, producing and performing solo shows with a variety of songs, including those that became famous in the voices of Edith Piaf, Amália Rodrigues and, more recently, Frank Sinatra!
So, “Bibi, Uma Vida Em Musical” brings us in a single evening a bird’s eye view on the life of this important personality. There is so much to be said, that there are moments when one would like that some of the scenes would last longer, in order to have further information and hear more songs!
Tadeu Aguiar’s direction is an excellent way to show us all this. Starting with the choice of the cast, where Amanda Acosta playing Bibi Ferreira gives a wonderful performance in a very difficult part. She is the only one who does not take over any other role. The cast of eighteen, who accompany her, play more than one part each during the play, always bringing variety to their different participations. The colorful and fun set by Natalia Lana, starting at the Circo Queirolo, and moving to different places during the action, is also an added bonus to the evening. And the costumes by Ney Madeira and Dani Vidal fit in very well with the set, while keeping the changes of the years where the action takes place. Rogério Wiltgen’s lighting enhances the beauty of this musical. The choreography by Sueli Guerra is also very good throughout the play.
Obviously being a musical, a very important part is the Musical Direction, where Tony Lucchesi once again does a wonderful job! The eight musicians who play live a number of different instruments (such as piano, guitar, drums, bass, cello, violin, trombone, flute, clarinet, etc) are all excellent. I could go on and on about this delightful evening. However, my space does not allow me to! It would be better for you to go and see it yourselves. I am sure you would enjoy it!
“Bibi, Uma Vida Em Musical” plays at the Teatro Oi Casa Grande, on Avenida Afrânio de Melo Franco, 290 – Leblon. There is paid parking inside the Shopping Leblon, on the same location as the theatre. Performances take place on Thursdays and Fridays at 08:30 P.M, Saturdays at 05:00 P.M. and 09:00 P.M., and Sundays at 07:00 P.M. Ticket prices range from R$ 50,00 (fifty Reais) to R$ 150,00 (one hundred and fifty Reais), depending on where the seats are located. There should be a 50% (fifty percent) discount for students and senior citizens, but it would be wise to check this beforehand through the telephone (2511-0800). Censorship is for young people under the age of ten. Although the musical is long, there is a fifteen minute interval between the two acts. It started on the 5th of January, and is scheduled to run until the 1st of April. I do not know, however, if there will be presentations during Carnaval. It is a matter of checking about it when it is nearer the time!
(*) Ewa Procter is a writer and a theater translator,
and Chair of the Instituto Cultural Chiquinha Gonzaga