(*) Ewa Procter
Photo credits: Lu Valiatti
There is a time when one is feeling rather tired and upset about the problems of daily life, and wishing to get some relaxation… Well, this is a time when the best thing to do is to go to the theatre, and watch a good comedy!
It was with this idea in mind – please do not worry, I was not feeling depressed, I just wanted to have a good laugh! And so I went to watch “Champagne & Confusão”. This excellent comedy, written by Jean Franco and Guillaume Mélanie with the sub-title “uma comédia impoliticamente correta” (an impoliticly correct comedy) brings its audience a fusion of vaudeville and boulevard comedy, adapted to a Brazilian point of view. Light and popular, this play has as its sole objective to leave its public in a good-humored and light mood!
And thinking about all that champagne, already appearing in its title, I quote Lord Byron (1788-1824) when he wrote: “Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter, Sermons and soda-water the day after”.
Cédric Gottesmann who administers the Teatro Maison de France, as well as being responsible for programming its cultural events, decided to try his hand in a new area, but also linked to the theatre. So, in his first work in production, he now brings us this delightful comedy. After seeing this successful play in Paris back in 2010, Cédric decided to bring it to Rio de Janeiro. Besides being one of the producers, he also prepared the translation of “Panique àu Ministère”, its original French title into Portuguese. Here, he counted on the good work of Jacqueline Laurence who adapted the play to Brazilian circumstances.
The plot brings us the Minister of Education in a meeting with his lady chief of staff; there, their basic discussion involves a strange task: they have to decide the length of skirts and shorts of girls in the schools of the entire country! Something has to be done about that, except… it never happens! In good boulevard and vaudeville comedies, things always take a different turn, and this is what brings the laugh and complicity of the audience. It also happens in this “Champagne & Confusão”! The Minister involves himself in a number of confusions, both in his love life and on his professional side. Laugh is a consequence of what goes on during the performance. The involvement of the actors playing their roles is worth mentioning, due to the way they handle the dialogues and movements in their different scenes. However, in this play, there is something beyond pure comedy: it presents situations of tolerance, acceptance of differences, and respect for other people. So, in these difficult times we are going through these days, these issues are presented in a humorous way, although giving one food for thought.
The cast of five (Sylvia Bandeira, Érika Riba, Thaís Belchior, Joelson Medeiros and Rafael Canedo) carry on the show without any hesitations, and keeping the required rhythm, under the able direction of Fernando Philbert. However, I would like to make a special mention to Rafael Canedo, a young actor who will certainly be one of the top ones in his profession. His performance is excellent!
On special mentions one cannot forget the set by Natália Lana. It is everything the office of a Minister should be, but it is also bright and pleasant. Vilmar Olos’ lighting enhances the set and the costumes by Marcelo Marques.
“Champagne & Confusão, uma comédia impoliticamente correta” plays at the Teatro Maison de France, located on Avenida Presidente Antonio Carlos, 58 – Downtown – Rio de Janeiro. Telephone: 2544-2533. There is no formal parking at the theatre, but there are plenty of taxis outside once the play is over. Performances take place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, at 07:30 P.M. The price of tickets is R$ 70,00 (seventy Reais). There is a 50% (fifty percent) discount for students and senior citizens. One can also buy tickets through the site www.tudus.com.br The play lasts for eighty minutes, and is not recommended for young people under the age of twelve. It opened on the 23rd of March and is scheduled to run until the 10th of June.
So, visit this very comfortable theatre and enjoy yourselves with a pleasant comedy!
(*) Ewa Procter is a writer and a theater translator,
and Chair of the Instituto Cultural Chiquinha Gonzaga