Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A very forced entertainment

I have just mistakenly erased a very large review of Agatha Christie, a show by Teatro Praga.
The below text is all that's left.

Teatro Praga is currently the most popular - and renowned - "experimental" theater in Portugal. The sort of work they do actually aims at being experimental. The formula is the following: take a play (or a text that can be adapted into one), present it in a fairly traditional way making it occupy about 1/3 of the show (time-wise or importance-wise), then add 2/3 of a "chaotic" "experimental ambience, with people saying nonsense, running around, laughing madly and crying (very important!), add some cardboard signs with things hand-written on them (very important, could be a way of identifying the "character", e.g. "sad", or "king of the castle", or "Foucault", or all three), add as many references to contemporary philosophers as you can squeeze in (Foucault, Deleuze and Derrida are welcome no matter what the circumstances), add a story about some "scientific" fact with loads of fiction interwoven into it in such a way that the audience doesn't know what the truth is, and finally, the most important factor: add some profound thoughts about what theater is and isn't.

(The conclusion was something along the lines of: Praga are still scared to abandon the classical theater, or to stop thinking about it and asking questions that are neither original or really relevant for anyone but the theater people themselves (though in Portugal nearly only performing arts people go to theater, so this is not surprizing). They don't make for an excessively good classical theater, and they don't dare to follow the often interesting, fresh and new leads they discover in their work. Instead, we are left with some sort of left-overs from all the Forced Entertainments and Wooster Groups that have done the experimentation work much more extensively, and gone much further. It's a pity. And hopefully they will focus more on the research & development,and aim at creating things, and not just scattering them around.)
Oh, and there was a picture that summed up the show:
(now how often do you get that in a review? ;))

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