Sunday, July 09, 2006

Os Satyros


One of the theatre houses owned by Os Satyros at Praça Roosevelt, no. 214. The other one is at no. 421. Photo: Satyros.

The award-winning brazilian theatre company Os Satyros was started in 1989, in Curitiba, by the actor and playwright Ivam Cabral and director and playwright Rodolfo García Vazquez. It's main field of research is experimental theatre. Their productions span from classical texts to contemporary theatre, including their own texts, adaptations and collectively written plays. They always explore alternative interpretations and unusual forms of communication and expression in theatre, and frequently divide opinions among critics and audience.

Their first successful play was Marquis de Sade's The Immoral Teachers, in 1990 which took the group to São Paulo where they won several awards. Two years and several plays later, they were invited to represent Brazil in two European theatre festivals: the FITEI, in Portugal, and the Castillo de Niebla festival, in Spain, during the EXPO of Seville. After the festival they also established headquarters in Lisbon, where the founded a theatre school, produced several plays and performed in many important theatres all over Europe, from Great Britain to Russia.


Ivam Cabral, in De Profundis. Photo: Satyros.

This page, from the Satyros's website, features a list of all plays produced by the theatre group. The description of each play is in Portuguese. The list features controversial Sade plays such as Philosophy in the Bedroom and 120 days of Sodoma, Oscar Wilde's De Profundis, Lautreamont's Chants of Maldoror (which had its original soundtrack composed by the British composer Steven Severin), Büchner's Woyzeck, Heiner Müller's Hamlet-Machine, Goethe's Urfaust, Shakespeare's Coriolanus, Sophocles Antigone and several other plays written by Ivam, Rodolfo and other Brazilian playwrights. Their last play: the award winning Life in Praça Roosevelt written by the German playwright Dea Loher and directed by Rodolfo Vazquez, has recently returned from a successful tournée in Germany sponsored by the Goethe Institut. The play was written for the Thalia Theater in Hamburg and is the result of an intense cultural exchange between Brazil and Germany, Loher and Satyros.


Poster for Life in Praça Roosevelt by Laerte Késsimos.
Today Os Satyros is present in Curitiba, with one theater, and in São Paulo with two. They are also involved with several educational projects partly funded by the government which help to promote culture. One of those projects include free theatre workshops, cultural activities and job opportunities for young people who live in poor districts. They also maintain workshops for professional and amateur actors, which are coordinated by the group's actors, directors and invited teachers.

The acting workshops consist of weekly 4 hour classes during a full year. They do not follow any traditional acting method, but lead its participants through creative exercises which aim at improving qualities such as perception, truth and body language. The exercises help the actors to discover their abilities and limitations, and to find ways to materialize their creativity in theatre as creative actors, as playwrights, or in other roles. They are part of a "method" called Teatro Veloz (fast theatre), developed by Ivam Cabral and Rodolfo Vázquez, inspired in bio-energetics techniques, Stanislavski, Meyerhold and Artaud (but not limited to them). Several articles about Teatro Veloz are available (in Portuguese) at the company's website. During the year, each workshop focuses on a theme, or playwright, and produces scenes, improvisations, seminars and other performances. At the end of each year, the workshop's participants produce a full play (usually by collective writing) which usually runs for one or two months at the Satyros's theatres, with weekly performances (one recent workshop production ran for seven months).

Selected actors from the workshops are invited, every year, to be part of the Núcleo Experimental (reseach group), which continues the process at a higher level. Last year's production from the Núcleo Experimental: Dress your Body in Thorns, a collective production inspired in Antonin Artaud, was selected among several other Brazilian candidates to participate in the Play-off/06 festival in Germany, this year.

Both theatres in São Paulo are located at Praça Roosevelt, centre of the city. They started the first theatre located on the decadent town square which was a formerly a meeting point of tranvestites and drug-dealers. Os Satyros helped Praça Roosevelt recover from its dark past mixing with its history and its people. The place is today a lively cultural centre and has attracted several other theatres houses and schools.

More information about the theatre group Os Satyros is available in Portuguese at their website, and in blogs maintained by Rodolfo Vazquez and and Ivam Cabral.

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