(*) Ewa Procter
Photo credits: Guga Melgar
For readers who followed my monthly articles in The Umbrella this column may come as a surprise! I do not usually review monologues, as it is a different theatrical way of staging plays, and something not everybody likes.
However, this month I have decided to bring you two different monologues that are being presented in Rio de Janeiro. Maybe I did it because both authors are wonderful – besides being important! – and it was an opportunity of seeing something different and writing about it.
“O Tempo É Só Uma Questão de Cor” brings us some of the works by Caio Fernando Abreu (1948-1996). Abreu was born in Rio Grande do Sul, but moved to São Paulo, where he pursued his career as a journalist, novelist, dramatist and writer of short stories; besides having won a number of important literary awards, his works were also translated into different languages. Curiously, at one time, back in the 1980s, I had a contact with this author’s printed work in English! It was then that I had the occasion of reading an excerpt from his “Morangos Mofados” in an anthology dedicated to gay literature by important Latin American writers, a book that was published in the United States. And later on, I saw a very interesting play of his, “A Dama da Noite”, also in the line of a discussion on gay issues.
But “O Tempo É Só Uma Questão de Cor” does not limit itself to one subject only. The texts that are presented to the audience include short stories and fragments from different works by this author, when both stories and situations deal with themes like love, the difficulties of relationships in their different forms, the lack of communication between people, and the loneliness of the contemporary human being. As most of his short stories were ready to be staged without adaptation to the theatrical language, here the monologue moves from one story to the next. Their format, one that the author used a lot, was a speech in the first person. Such as in the first text, when the actor (Maurício Silveira) brings us a man explaining himself to a woman, without having a response. And then the play continues, showing different situations from different works, all dealing with people basically concerned only about themselves, something so common these days! But one can say that these fragments, taken from different books, all form a sole story! Antonio Gilberto who adapted and directed this play, has brought the audience a bird’s eye view on Caio Fernando Abreu, a joy for those who know (or would like to know) more of his literature and his theatre work.
“O Tempo É Só Uma Questão de Cor” is now in its second run. Last year, it had presentations at the Cidade das Artes, in Barra da Tijuca. Now, it is playing at the Teatro Café Pequeno, on Av. Ataulfo de Paiva, 269, Leblon. Telephone: 2294-4480. There is no formal parking at the theatre, but the Metro Station is one block away. This short run (without any sponsorship) opened on the 23rd of February, and will finish on the 31st of March. There are only two performances per week, Fridays and Saturdays, at 10:00 P.M. Price of tickets is R$ 40,00 (forty Reais), with a 50% (fifty percent) discount for students and senior citizens. However, the play, lasting seventy minutes, is not recommended for young people under the age of twelve.
The other monologue is “Clarice Lispector E Eu – O Mundo Não É Chato”, an adaptation of the works by Clarice Lispector. This important author had many of her works adapted to the stage at different times, some of them monologues, and some using larger casts. She was also adapted to the screen. Although born in Ukraine, Clarice Lispector (1920-1977) spent her entire writing career in Brazil, and was an important personality of her time. This monologue is in its third run in Rio de Janeiro: it started at the Teatro Poeirinha, then moved to the Teatro Vannucci, and is now at the Teatro Maison de France. It also had presentations in São Paulo.
“Clarice Lispector E Eu – O Mundo Não É Chato” will also have a short run. It started on the 16th of February, and will finish on the 11th of March. Rita Elmôr, the actress who plays the role of Clarice Lispector, and who also contributed to the text, gives a wonderful performance: there are moments when one has the impression of seeing Clarice alive on stage! It may be because there is really a physical resemblance between the two of them, but Rita Elmôr’s performance brings Clarice Lispector nearer to the audience. In sum, it was a pleasure to hear some of Clarice Lispector’s works live. A very enjoyable evening!
The Teatro Maison de France is located on Av. Presidente Antônio Carlos, 58 – downtown Rio de Janeiro. Telephone number: 2544-2533. There is no formal parking, but there are plenty of taxis when the play is over. Performances take place from Friday to Sunday, at 07:30 P.M. Tickets cost R$ 60,00 (sixty Reais) with a 50% (fifty percent) discount for students and senior citizens. It lasts for sixty minutes. Censorship is for young people under the age of fourteen.
I also wish to advise you that there are some interesting plays scheduled to open soon. I will certainly be in the audience, in order to be able to choose the most interesting ones and write my articles for “The Umbrella”!
(*) Ewa Procter is a writer and a theater translator,
and Chair of the Instituto Cultural Chiquinha Gonzaga