PORTUGAL, 2017 | 1h45min | PARENTAL RATING 12+
A theatre and its backstage homage, the show is built from the memories of Cristina Vidal, who for almost 30 years has worked as a prompter (the person who blows the lines for actors who forget the text) at the National Theatre D. Maria II, in Lisbon. This shadow character is on the stage for the first time, accompanied by five actors. In a ruined theatre simulated set, with weeds growing in the middle of the boards, she appears with text in hand, blowing the lines to the cast. It is through them, the performers, that Vidal recounts her trajectory and the history of the theatre itself. Guardian of an activity on the brink of extinction, she calls real and fictional memories, mixing the offstage stories, ghosts of artists who have been there and classic dramaturgy, such as texts by Chekhov, Racine and Molière.
Actor, director and playwright, Tiago Rodrigues approaches the theatre as an assembly: a place to meet and share ideas. He became famous for making shows transiting between reality and fantasy, filled with great poetic and thought sophistication. Still as a student, in 1997, he worked with the tg STAN group and, in 2003, he co-founded the Mundo Perfeito group with Magda Bizarro, in which he created and presented about 30 shows in more than 20 countries. He was also a theatre teacher at institutions such as the Belgian dance school PARTS, directed by choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, the Swiss school of performing arts Manufacture and the international project École des Maîtres. Parallel to his work in theatre, he wrote screenplays for films and TV series, articles, poetry and essays. Some of his most prominent works are By Heart, Antônio and Cleopatra, Bovary, Como Ela Morre and Sopro, which debuted at Festival d’Avignon 2017. In 2018, he won the XV Europa Realidades Teatrais Award. In the same year, he received the title Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government, and recently received the 2019 Pessoa Award. Since 2015, Rodrigues has been the artistic director of the National Theatre D. Maria II, one of the main theatres in Europe.
Blow is Tiago Rodrigues signature of a conceptual and at the same time deeply emotional show. A vibrant tribute to the theatre and those who are part of it.
This sometimes comical sway between the creature behind the scenes and the chatty playwright (of whom she frequently mocks), plus the virtuosity that mixes with the tales of her career, is what gives Blow a huge delicacy and it gives us the impression of being part of it, of never being left out of that evident complicity that bonds characters and actors: in short, we all breath the same. Excerpts from plays in which Vidal had to intervene come up at the center of the speech. Classics from the repertoire such as, Three Sisters, The Miser or Bérénice, work our memory increasing the emotion of the experience. Tiago Rodrigues revives these “blowing creatures”, centuries old, through us and with us, with such grace and intelligence that make Blow an unforgettable work.
TEXT AND PERFORMANCE: Tiago Rodrigues
WITH: Beatriz Maia, Cristina Vidal, Isabel Abreu, Marco Mendonça, Romeu Costa and Sara Barros Leitão
ORIGINAL CAST: Beatriz Brás, Cristina Vidal, Isabel Abreu, João Pedro Vaz, Sofia Dias and Vítor Roriz
SET AND LIGHTING DESIGN: Thomas Walgrave
COSTUMES: Aldina Jesus
SOUND DESIGN: Pedro Costa
DIRECTION ASSISTANT: Catarina Rôlo Salgueiro
LIGHTING TECHNICIAN: Daniel Varela
EXECUTIVE PRODUCTION: Rita Forjaz
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Joana Costa Santos
PRODUCTION: National Theatre D. Maria II
CO-PRODUCTION: ExtraPôle Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre de la Bastille, La Criée Théâtre National de Marseille, Le Parvis Scène Nationale Tarbes Pyrénées, Festival Terres de Paroles Seine-Maritime – Normandie, Théâtre Garonne Scène Européenne and Viriato Theatre
SUPPORTED: by Onda
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Agnès Troly, Beatriz Maia, Carla Bolito, Carla Galvão, David Pinto, Filipa Matta, João Coelho, Julie Bordez, Magda Bizarro, Marco Mendonça, Mariana Magalhães, Paul Rondin, Romeu Costa, Sara Barros Leitão, Teresa Coutinho, team of Festival d’Avignon, technical team of Cloître des Carmes and ICA – Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual