Hélia Correia's last award-winning work, “Um Bailarino na Batalha”, is the starting point for the play “Antes do Mar”, which the company O Bando will debut in Palmela, on June 25th.
The play speaks of an exodus, of leaving one place and going to another, that is, of migrants and refugees, the director of the work, Miguel Jesus told Lusa. "The play talks about the current situation of migrants, but this theme also seems to be a congenital situation" to humanity itself, he stressed.
This movement of people, which is part of human nature, often for the worst reasons, leads us to think that we were unable to create mechanisms to overcome this ”, added Miguel Jesus.
"Before the sea" ends up being also "a provocation and a reinvention of our way of dealing with religious, social and tribal paradigms, among others", he added.
Almost the entire creative process of the piece, which began to be rehearsed on the first day of the state of emergency, March 19, was carried out ‘online’, Miguel Jesus told Lusa. “We were lucky that the beginning of the rehearsals coincided with the beginning of the state of emergency, and so we were able to think of solutions that we were taking advantage of to better clarify what we have been doing”.
Asked how they are going to take the show to the stage, Miguel Jesus, who is also responsible for the dramaturgy, said that it will be an open air show and that, in principle, spectators will start to see it from a distance of 100 meters. This distance ends up making the spectator see very far what is happening, making him also think that it is not a situation that is happening with us.
Which turns out not to be true, because in a global world everything is about everyone ”, he stressed.
The play will not be on stage at the headquarters of O Bando, in Palmela, but on a neighboring lot, so that there is no space of proximity between the spectators, said Miguel Jesus. The purchase of tickets for the show will also be made only through the internet, added the director.
For a theater company that favors proximity to its audience, sharing the editing process ends up becoming a “strange place” for the company's usual work, he said.
Spectators' seats will be set up as if it were “a car park with chairs”, he observed.
Only in this final rehearsal stage are the actors close, but outside, and at two meters from each other, a distance that, according to Miguel Jesus, can be used “in favor of a representation that is more symbolic, that enters more into a cinematographic record ”, but in which the sound is very close and has a strong presence.
This distance, in narrative terms of the drama, also raises the question whether “we, Europe, are a frontier”, he said. "Perhaps, we, Europe, are really a closed gate", he maintained.
The play features nine actors, two extras and ‘technical’ passages that are not merely ‘technical’, added the director who is also on the board of the O Bando cooperative.
With the body of Juliana Pinho and music by Jorge Salgueiro, “Antes do Mar” has interpretations by Dora Sales, João Neca, Laurinda Chiungue, Maria do Ó, Nicolas Brites, Nylon Princeso, Paula Só, Raul Atalaia and Rita Brito, and has the special participation of André Mexia and Fabian Bravo.
Visuality is by Rui Francisco and Clara Bento, sound design, by Miguel Lima, and light design, by Nicolas Manfredini.
“Um Bailarino na Batalha”, by Hélia Correia, won the Grand Prize for Romance and Novela of the Portuguese Writers Association (APE), in 2018.