21, 22, 23, 24/05 – 20:15
PT > NL / FR
Can we rewrite someone’s life according to his or her works of art? Is it possible to separate life and creation, or are they just mirrors of the same reality? The young Brazilian theatre director Leonardo Moreira – a fresh voice at the festival – is fascinated by the blurry line between fiction and reality. 02 Ficções is an ambiguous presentation about the life and work of a theatre director, as well as a re-enactment of his unfinished final piece. With geometric precision, Leonardo Moreira outlines a lifetime and makes of fiction an unquestionable reality. Memories of a distant past and events of the present flow into one another. A constant doubt nestles in the perception of the viewer. Does the confrontation of two fictions ensure a new reality? 02 Ficções is a theatre piece serving as an imaginary museum of a lifetime. A discovery.
Concept, text & direction
Aline Filócomo, Fernanda Stefanski, Maria Amélia Farah, Thiago Amaral, Paula Picarelli
Producer & direction assistant
Set & lighting design
Cezar Renzi & Luciana Paes
Luisa Fecchio, Cezar Pinheiro Renzi
Photo & video
Luiz Amato (violin), Adriana Holtz (cello), Maurício Caruso (guitar)
Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Théâtre National de la Communauté française
Elephante Produções Artísticas
“Self-exposure was inevitable the moment she
described a character’s weakness: the reader was bound to speculate that
she was describing herself. What other authority could she have? Only
when the story was finished, all fates resolved, and the whole matter
sealed off at both ends so that it resembled, at least in this one
respect, every other finished story in the world, could she fall immune,
and be ready to punch holes in the margins, bind the chapters with
pieces of string, paint or draw the cover, and take the finished work to
show to her mother, or her father, when he was home.”
Ian McEwan, Atonement
Could we rewrite a person’s life through his/her creations only? How much biography is revealed in a work of art? Is it possible to separate life and creation or are they two fictional mirrors of the same reality? Isn’t a theatre-play a kind of personal museum? Would a work of art repair our unlived moments? How are the moments we could have lived but didn’t? Which reality do our artworks seek to repair?
In his previous works, Leonardo Moreira always tried to repair his biography – for instance, in O Jardim (The Garden, 2011), the father’s death, and the reviewing and reliving of his oblivion. In Ficção (Fiction, 2012), it was about ‘fixing’ the actor’s family issues: a father and son who are reunited on stage after years of remoteness, a public apology to a dead mother, the insulting imitation of a sister. After all, isn’t an artwork also an attempt at atonement?
Starting from this reflection, 02 Ficções is a creation with two forms of interaction. A theatre play, but also a museum. An audience has access to an exhibition that ends-up in the backstage area of a play. A second audience initially watches the play, and then after that – by way of a kind of time travel – is free to tour the museum that reveals the blanks in the play.
The first audience runs through an imaginary museum, being guided by actors. These players lead the spectators to the backstage of a theatre. There, pieces of a real museum (taken from the tiny Brazilian city of Areado, the homeland of Leonardo Moreira) reveal Cia. Hiato’s creative process and create a fictional character. Lastly, the audience watches the reverse of the play, an uncompleted theatre piece written by that fictional character, from behind the scenes. This play-inside-a-play is a thumbnail representation of the present moment of its creation. The second audience starts watching the show from the front. During the performance, this audience meets the other one (its own miniature).
The multiple-narrative is unveiled through the superposition of life and creation, fiction and reality. Dramaturgically, Moreira equates memory and invention, backstage and stage, past and dream. The past appears as the voice that gives meaning to the scattered fragments of a person who was forever lost. The dream of an artist as the possibility to apprehend the past from its traces, or from the creations that emerge from those traces.
The combination of these two different acts, a museum and a play – two biographical statements, make for two fictions.
2. Pentimento: the fake museum
“I started with fiction and discovered the real; but behind the real is again fiction.”
Pentimento is the Italian word for repentance, and it is also the term used for the appearance of the underlying drafts of a painting that are discovered during its restoration. Pentimento is an afterthought in the course of making a work, hidden by several layers of colour. Besides being fundamental to reconstructing a creative process, pentimento is also a tool used to find out if a piece is original or not. Only the original has ‘regrets’, copies never do.
By appropriating this matter, Cia. Hiato reveals its own creative process. Without limiting it to a metalinguistic issue, intimacy and theatricality are united: one does not exist without the other. An audience is led to navigate a maze of works that depict or reflect the multiple lives of the character. The six different routes traced by the museum-guides thus reveal the biography of Leonardo Moreira and his invented memories. Six different biographies of the same character collide in a single gallery. This gallery is also the metaphorical reconstruction of a childhood house. In the words of the philosopher Bachelard:
“Sometimes the home of the future is stronger, clearer, wider than all the houses of the past. The image of the dream house is in opposition to the image of the birthplace. In the evening of life, with indomitable courage, we say again: what we have not done will be done. Build a house. This dream home can be a simple dream of the owner’s, a concentration of all that is considered convenient, comfortable, healthy, solid, or even desirable to others. Then pride and reason – irreconcilable terms – must settle. (…) A house that was, in the end, symmetrical to the birthplace. That would prepare one for no more grief and sad thoughts, but for dreams. Better to live in the interim than in the finale.”
Juxtaposed, the actual architectural elements of the building and thefictional situations proposed by the actor-guides allow the public to‘retell’ a story by putting into order the imaginary objects, spaces, andwords; the performative spaces presented to the spectators placethem in an intermediary place in which the pairs: theatre/museum, audience/visitor, literary narrative/political history, actor/object operatesimultaneously.
As stated, not everything on this route is fake. Hidden behind the museumare also the biographies of Leonardo Moreira and the actors (alreadyexplored in the first phase of the project). Cia. Hiato now leavesthe fictionalised biographies and goes for the deviation. Here it’s notabout collecting pasts, but creating a collection of dreams. Although ourlives and work are activities without creation, says Paolo Virno, we cansay that the ‘product’ of life’s experiences is the lived moment. But whatabout those unlived moments, those futures we bury with each choice?
When exposing a biography, Cia. Hiato wants to give life to these unassumingmoments, to the lives dreamt about but never performed. Here,the affirmation of the existence of an invented personal reality is attestedto by the credibility of the space that welcomes his/her works – themuseum. The works in this space allow for the formation of an identitythat is intended to be real. Fiction becomes an indisputable reality.
3. The uncompleted theatre play
“I have to conclude that fiction is better at ‘the truth’ than a factual record.”
The second act is the re-enactment of an unsuccessful foray into dramaturgy by a dead author. This is the fictional plot that reunites the actors of Cia. Hiato. Trying to fill-in the blanks left by the author, the actors use his biographical notebook to stage the reading of an unfinished play.
A moment before the play begins, part of the audience follows the actors backstage. The other part acts like a fictional audience. Meanwhile, yet another audience is preparing to watch the show.
Written by Leonardo Moreira, this piece is fictionally treated as an unfinished project by the artist previously described in the museum. Raising questions about the ephemeral nature of the theatrical event, Cia. Hiato remakes this fictitious work, true to its anachronism and excessive theatricality. The theatrical event is not an original piece, but a faithful reproduction.
This play is a dramatic text in which the author tries to repair his biography. The text presents a drama conceived in geometric progression. To say this is to consider all the regrets, sketches, and discarded ideas as also part of the text. This work, full of incongruent fragments, shows us Leonardo: a man who writes the past (all his notes and texts are diagrams of his childhood home), but that is unable to cope with the present.
Different times and spaces overlap on stage, memory and invention are equal, past and present mingle, actors duplicate themselves, and an imaginary house is built with words in front of an audience: this is the ambitious, failed project that Cia. Hiato tries in vain to reconstruct. The failure and the attempt are, together, the theme of this work.
What is proposed, then, is a superposition of two opposite poles: the fiction proposed by the drama and the fake author – where the memory cuts and rewrites a story, and the presence of actors – ‘simulating’ a confessional state, assuming characters of themselves, confusing the viewer with real stories and made-up ones, and combining people from their family life with fictional characters.
Although this confusion results in the temporary disappearance of the dramatic figure, we cannot consider it a device that makes fiction disappear completely, but rather a strategy that transforms our perception. The audience is thus thrown into a space between the fictional characters in search of their memory and the materiality of the role, rescuing the story of a creative process, and therefore personal histories.
It is hoped that the audience’s perception remains with the relationship between actor and character. While the devices of staging (the occupation of a backstage) can enhance or fix the attention of the viewer in the presence of actors, the drama opens the possibility that sometimes one’s focus on a dramatic figure changes. And vice versa.
Each time this ‘ripple’ appears, there is a break, a discontinuity. The order of perception that viewers have built-up is destroyed and another one has to be established. This becomes relevant here, the moment of instability, the gap when the perception changes, the hiato – the inbetween moment when the order of perception is changed but another one has not yet been established. Is it possible to reconstruct an abandoned life?
Is it possible to repair a past or rebuild it? If ‘forever’ only exists in fiction, could a work of art repair a life? Is not our present geometry comprised of echoes from the past? These are the questions raised by this work as it attempts to create a poetic scene in which public space (theatre/museum) and intimate space (the house) merge.
Together, these two acts form 02 Ficções. Among issues involving originality, plagiarism, the function of fiction, biographies of actors merged with fake biographies, 02 Ficções confronts the double-audience with a constant sense of doubt. And the confrontation between these two fictions may create a new reality, one full of overlapping perspectives and divergent impressions. Paraphrasing the author Ian McEwan in his novel Atonement, isn’t the possibility of showing coexistent worldviews the only aim of a story?Back to top
Cia Hiato, the group founded by the director and playwright Leonardo Moreira, is considered one of the most promising and talented theatre collectives in Brazil. Moreira’s first work as a playwright and director, Cachorro Morto (2008), was nominated for two FEMSA Awards (Best Play and Best Scenography). For his next work, Escuro (2009), he received three Shell Awards in 2011 – Best Playwright, Best Scenography and Best Costume (also nominated for Best Director). In 2012, O Jardim, his third work, was nominated for 19 of Brazil’s leading awards and won the Shell Award 2012 – Best Playwright, the Governador do Estado Award – Best Play of the Year, APCA (Association of Art Critics of São Paulo) – Best Director and Cooperativa Paulista de Teatro – Best Playwright and Best Play. O Jardim was named the best play of recent years by several critics and has been presented in Berlin (HAU), Chile (Santiago a Mil) and Holland (Ervaar Daar Hier Festival). His latest work, Fiction, has also received three Shell Award nominations (including Best Director). Moreira is currently working on Cia Hiato’s new project: 02 Fictions.Back to top