(*) Ewa Procter
Theatre has strange ways and mysterious paths! It doesn’t matter what kind of play is on: a drama, a tragedy, a comedy, a musical…And then the main idea from all those involved in a production is to always bring enjoyment to their audiences! I quote Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) when he wrote: “The wild vicissitudes of taste. The stage but echoes back the public voice. The drama’s laws, the drama’s patrons give, for we that live to please, must please to live.”
Recently, I wrote an enthusiastic article on “Angela Maria – Lady Crooner”, in its second version. The run was supposed to last until the beginning of July, but then… Something happened and the run was interrupted. A pity! I am not quite sure about the reason for this sudden cancellation. But then I thought it would be wise for me to advise my readers that “Angela Maria – Lady Crooner” was no longer being presented. While I was thinking of the best way to give this sad information, I had an insight: it would not be amiss to write another article to replace the one on the musical that was no longer running!
While I wanted to take steps in order to sort out this issue as soon as possible, I was lucky to be invited to the opening night of “Formidable” at the Teatro Maison de France. The actor who played in “Angela Maria – Lady Crooner”, Maurício Baduh was now doing a solo performance in a presentation of French songs. As I have enjoyed very much both his acting and singing when I saw him in the previous musical, I was very happy to go and watch this presentation.
Must say I was delighted with everything I watched on the 13th of June! However, it is not a new musical. Maurício Baduh has already presented it on several occasions with full houses at different theatres in Rio de Janeiro: Imperator, Teatro das Artes and Teatro Net Rio. And now he is on at the Teatro Maison de France, in a way also a French territory for a very short – but very worthwhile run. At the moment, Maurício Baduh is scheduled to only do his presentations on four consecutive Thursdays: 13th, 20th and 27th of June, and on the 4th of July.
So, more information on this pocket musical: singer and actor Mauricio Baduh tells the audience about his relationship with French songs, beginning at his childhood up to present days. As a child he moved to Paris with his family; this way, the spectator can see Paris through the eyes of a child. A curiosity: French citizens have commented about Baduh’s impeccable French accent! And then, using his perfect French he brings us unforgettable successes from past decades – songs that are still in the memory of many of us!
In remembering the 1970s, the actor (who also wrote the text of this pocket musical) recalls humorous facts and situations. The latter are common to any foreigner arriving in Paris, when he or she experiences a mixture of enchantment and embarrassment for not being familiar with either the language, or the French culture. And while following these memories, Baduh brings us a varied repertoire of twenty-one songs: obviously, some of them are better known than others, but they include works by famous old timers, such as Charles Aznavour, Michel Legrand, Gilbert Bécaud, Charles Trenet; and last but not least, two songs by Edith Piaf!
Although performing “Formidable” as a solo, Maurício Baduh is accompanied by four musicians who play live, in full view of the audience:
piano (Lilliane Secco), contrabass (Tássio Ramos), percussion (Carlos Almeida) and accordion (Roberto Bahal). Lilliane Secco is also responsible for the musical direction.
“Formidable” is on at the Teatro Maison de France, Avenida Presidente Antônio Carlos, 58 – Downtown Rio de Janeiro. Box Office opens from Thursday to Sunday, at 02:00 P.M. Telephone Number: (21) 2544-2533. There is valet parking at the theatre. And also plenty of taxis at the door when the performance is over. Tickets cost R$ 80,00 (eighty Reais) with a 50% (fifty percent) discount for students and senior citizens. “Formidable” lasts for eighty minutes without an interval. Censorship says the play is free for all ages. And so it should be! This is a musical to please both young and not so young audiences.
(*) Ewa Procter is a writer and a theatre translator, and Chair of the Instituto Cultural Chiquinha Gonzaga.
Photo by Roberto Cardoso Júnior