The Mandarin – apostrophe and patience

2018 | Festival contraDança, New Hand Lab, Covilhã - Portugal
2017 | Teatro Sá da Bandeira, Santarém - Portugal

"Teodoro, the main character of O Mandarim (a novel by Eça de Queiroz, 1880), is an unambitious civil servant who is tempted, by reading a passage from a mysterious and mirific folio, to kill Ti Chin-Fu, an old and wealthy mandarin who lives in the far ends of distant Mongolia. To do so, he would only have to ring a bell. If he would, he would inherit the mandarin endless fortune. Theodoro rings the bell. Shortly after succumbing to temptation and becoming extraordinarily wealthy, he begins his odyssey of redemption, always haunted by the ghostly image of the old mandarin and razed by the confusion in which his conscience lives, from which he tries, unsuccessfully, to get rid of. — It should be noted that the interest towards this novel is not moral. We use several moments of its narrative as fiction generators to propose a scenic poetics with a strong tendency to anachronism by its literary genesis. On the other hand, dramaturgical conflicts are provoked through the subversion of canonical mechanisms of theatrical composition and the problematic relations between idea, word, image, object, author, performer, reader and viewer, providing a disillusioned analysis of the world and of the art making value. — “Your judgment is sovereign and serves no purpose. What we offer you is an idea full of different ideas that can tell you as much as they tell us. The author says that this is a modest work, inhabited by ghosts and deviated from the general current. It belongs to the dream realm. It was invented. It was neither observed nor copied and it faithfully characterizes nothing. It rejects any tendency, does not respect nature and does not believe in identities. It seeks totality and it can be completely wrong. Here we continue to be idealistic and deeply lyrical. We love passionately and we still consider fantasy as the highest of all qualities. Fair ideas hardly interest you, because you don't understand them. That is also why we are close. In the end, after the last page written, the last word said, the last song sung, we go out into the street, back to our lifes, and we devote ourselves to the severe study of humanity and its eternal misery."

Text by Pedro Barreiro from Eça de Queiroz, Fernando Brito and Paul Valéry | Direction and dramaturgy: Pedro Barreiro | Technical direction: Tiago Correia | Performed by: Carla Reis, Fernando Brito, Fernando Romão, Pedro Barreiro, Sandra Oliveira, Sérgio Pereira, Silvana Ivaldi, Ves Liberta | Cenography: Fernando Brito, Pedro Barreiro, Silvana Ivaldi, Tiago Correia | Costumes: Silvana Ivaldi | Multimedia: Rodrigo Pereira | Dramaturgical collaboration: Mauricio Paroni de Castro, Ricardo B. Marques, Rui Lopes | Technical operation: Rodrigo Pereira, Tiago Correia e Ricardo B. Marques | Graphic Design: Silvana Ivaldi | Coprodution: Activo Tóxico – Artistas Associados / Teatro Sá da Bandeira – Santarém | Acknowledgements: Paula Nunes, Rodrigo Melo