On 21st March 2019, at São Paulo's Mostra International de teatro (MITsp), Mohamed El Khatib will present, in collaboration with Gabriel F., a Brazilian playwright, author notably of Castaways (“Naufragés”), a staging of C’est la vie, translated into Portuguese for the occasion. This is the kick-off of the project “Centre Stage. New French and Brazilian drama”, which will put French and Brazilian authors in conversation in 2019 and 2020.
The project was launched by Arnaud Meunier, director of the Comédie de Saint-Etienne, and Marcia Dias, director of the Tempo de Rio de Janeiro festival. Both want to open up “textual borders” and inspire the authors of both countries to work together.
As the project leader in France, the Comédie de Saint-Etienne has selected original texts by eight French authors - four men and four women - each of whom will stage their text at a festival, in collaboration with a Brazilian author selected by the host festival.
Juxtaposing points of view
The project seeks to bring together different artistic points of view. The authors do not know each other, do not choose each other and do not meet before working together. However, each duo was formed based on resonances between the themes addressed by or in the artistic approach of the two writers.
It is up to the host author to suggest highlighting the text of the guest author on a theatre stage: it is not yet a question of making it into a show, but rather first of all of making a voice heard, a story as of yet unknown to Brazilian spectators.
Some themes resonate strongly between the authors, such as Alexandra Badea and Marcio Abreu, both of whom have very political concerns: one will offer a text on business life, the other on the Brazilian favelas. Pedro Kosovski will also talk about today’s Rio de Janeiro and will welcome a text by Pauline Sales, who works on women’s issues. Silvero Pereira, who deals with the notion of transgender people in Brazil, will share his work with Marion Aubert, who with her team interrogates her own way of being in the world, of living (and her sexuality in particular), on the basis of a work by Jean Genet.
International openness and political discourse
For these French authors, whose texts had not yet been translated into Portuguese, the project is an opportunity to open a window onto the world. Arnaud Meunier explains: “These playwrites reflect a new generation of writers who represent the vitality and diversity of French writing today. ". For Brazilians, the issue has quickly become more political.
The French texts will be published in Brazilian Portuguese by Cobogó Editions. It will then be France’s turn to host Brazilian contemporary writing, in 2020 at the Théâtre national de La Colline in Paris, the Festival Actoral in Marseille and the Comédie de Saint-Etienne.
The project is supported by the Institut français within the framework of its agreement with the City of Saint-Etienne.
The Institut français partners with 21 local authorities to develop international artistic exchanges.
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