Teatro Praga has become a benchmark of Portuguese contemporary creation throughout the world. The show they bring to Naves Matadero questions gender identities and traditional theatre.
Spring Awakening, written in 1891 by the German dramatist Frank Wedekind, crated quite a scandal in its day, with its scenes involving homoeroticism, masturbation, sadomasochism, rape, suicide, and references to abortion.
125 years later, Portugal’s Teatro Praga company has resurrected Wedekind’s text about a group of adolescents in conflict with a conservative and moralistic society, in order to question some of today’s invisible dictatorships such as dual or socially established identities (man and woman, homosexual and heterosexual) and the identity of language. To do so, in the translation (and betrayal) of the text, Portuguese playwright Vieira Mendes has created a unique language, with a touch of queer, full of words with different origins. “A linguistic promiscuity which may on occasions remind us that we are watching a play from another century, and which, on other occasions, may make us think about a future civilization that handles a linguistic amalgam”, says Alfonso Becerra from Becerreá. This language “of a generation that is growing up beneath artificial light, in front of plasma screens and among the tangle of the digital universe”, talks to us without hesitation of the invasion of the globalised world. And its message dances through the pink-tinged universe of sequins, sparkles, glitter, and inflatable unicorns that constantly cover the scene questioning gender identities, sexual arguments, and traditional theatre.
“By invitation of the Cultural Centre of Belém, we return to a classic of dramatic literature to register, in a text and in the theatrical canon, those who are excluded by representative theatre. Despertar da Primavera is permeated by a puberty that deceives nature, that rejects the submission of one body to another, the construction of identities, and that grasps a rite of emancipation to challenge traditional standards. A place where several languages must necessarily coexist, where references are lost and reconstructed, where despair is life and suicide victory. It is a performance art piece that vindicates the need to devise a certain degree of humanity”, the company explains.
ABOUT TEATRO PRAGA
Established in 1995, Teatro Praga has become a benchmark of Portuguese contemporary creation throughout the world. Its creations have found the support of the most prestigious contemporary cultural institutions in Portugal and have been presented at international festivals such as, for example, the Macao Arts Festival in China, the Chantiers d’Europe Festival at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris or the VIE Festival in Modena. Although the work developed by Teatro Praga may be conventional in appearance, they have an exceptional way of working a scene. They define themselves as a group of artists, different ones in each show, with a heraldic shield that unites them. “We delight in the established order and we find that its unpredictable variations are a way of extending the concept of predictability”, they explain. Their current base is in Rua das Gaivotas, 6 (www.ruadasgaivotas6.pt), in Lisbon, where they also offer residences to emerging young Portuguese artists who don’t fit in elsewhere.
Text: Frank Wedekind
Translation: José Maria Vieira Mendes
Participants: André E. Teodósio, Cláudia Jardim, Cláudio Fernandes, Diogo Bento, Odete C. Ferreira, João Abreu, Mafalda Banquart, Óscar Silva, Patrícia da Silva, Pedro Penim, Rafaela Jacinto, Sara Leite and Xana Novais
Lightning: Daniel Worm D’Assumpção
Sound: Miguel Lucas Mendes
Technical assistance: João Neves
Set design: Bárbara Falcão Fernandes
Costumes: Joana Barrios
Tayloring: Rosário Balbi
Production: Andreia Carneiro
Executive producer: Bernardo Lacerda
Production assistant: Alexandra Baião
Coproduced by: Teatro Praga, Centro Cultural de Belém, Teatro Nacional São João, Teatro Viriato Artistic Residence and 23Milhas - Casa Cultura Ílhavo
Language: Portuguese with Spanish subtitles
*Warning: Strobe lights are used during this performance