quinta-feira, dezembro 16, 2004

Seminário Internacional de Jovens Críticos de Teatro (XV)

Terminamos hoje a apresentação das comunicações ao Seminário Internacional de Jovens Críticos de Teatro. O texto é sobre Portugal e é de minha autoria.

A brief look on the relation between creation and production in recent Portuguese theatre

One of the aspects for consideration is the importance of the production system (relation State-society/culture) in the process of creation.
The 25th of April's revolution allowed the presentation of authors that were, by then, forbidden and the creation of groups, in a need for fulfilling an emptiness that was lasting for more than 40 years. The appearance of independent companies in the late 60's and beginning of 70's (Teatro Experimental de Cascais, Grupo 4/Teatro Aberto, Comuna, O Bando, Cornucópia) implied the refusal of a commercial logic and the increase of a work essentially artistically based, with the figure of the director emerging from the theatrical hierarchy. This relates to the absurd need of separating economics from the art. As if art wasn't part of the system. And in that urge for giving to the public not what he was used to have but what he needed to have, these companies became the substitute for an absent national theatre (the concept, not the building), by insufficiency of the State. And in fact, these companies are independent only by theory since their main support was coming (and still does) from the subventions given either by the government or the mayor's office.

For many years this asphyxiating reality worked as an impediment for the upcoming of projects less dependent on the subventions of the Ministry for Culture. These new projects were using a language closer to other arts and needed a new theatrical definition. Was it still theatre? How could not be? There was still a daily basis being worked and manipulated. With a maker and a receiver with the expressed need to question theatre through its conventional mechanisms. In resume, there was an urgency to restore to the theatre the condition of eternal questioner of the times and contexts in which it was being produced.

Nowadays the most stimulating portuguese theatre is not in the repertory companies (which are more and more trapped in their own formal system) but in the real independent projects, that started by being an alternative response to that way of making theatre. The urge was, again, based on a need to show and do a less conventional theatre, even though money and critic could ignore it. This attitude forced the tearing of concepts and even the need for distinction already referred. The new generation, mainly in the beginning of the 90's (with names such as Mónica Calle, João Garcia Miguel and the group Olho or Lúcia Sigalho), imposed a relation with theatre based on three major aspects: the use of non-conventional space and the development of site-specificity, the return of the body as a dramaturgical element (in which the influence of the dance was evident) and the search for a new role for the audience during the performance.

These three factors allowed the establishment of a new artistic reality with projects based not only on actors or directors, but emphasizing the collaboration with artists coming from various areas such as dance, plastic arts, cinema, video, photography or architecture. The development of such "pièces à these" brings this new approach to the theatre closer to the Wagnerian concept of total art, since by accepting the difficulties of the creative process they allow the other techniques to look for their own place in the final object. We can say that is a contemporaneous response to the "documentary theatre" very common on the late 30's or 60's. And already exists a the 2nd generation with such names as Teatro Praga, Cão Solteiro, Útero, Rogério Nuno Costa, André Murraças, Sónia Baptista, Susana Vidal or Patrícia Portela, some of them even combining the academic and traditional techniques with the factors mentioned earlier. Therefore what we have are hybrid objects that still respect the concept of theatre, but applying it to the times in which they are conceived. In fact, even the State has developed lines of credit for supporting pluri and transdisciplinar projects, even though insists on judging them by the same criteria as theatre projects.

And that's another big issue on the definition of the state of affairs: the absence of a definition for the role of the State in the cultural process. Should it rule and impose a model or should it give conditions for all to create? In other countries the role of the State and its active presence implied a reform of the theatre system, but in Portugal that as not occurred (with the exception of Porto, where the presence of Teatro Nacional São João helped the revitalization of the city's theatrical system but also emphasized the differences). Instead, the system became liberal and dangerous without a model - even a bad one - to use as example or go against.

And the State allowed himself to resign from its obligations creating new problems such as consecutive delays on the openings for new subventions and even bigger delays at the attributions of the amounts, undefinition of the role and responsibilities of the Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II, incapacity in the creation of incentives to apply the mecenate law, absence of a real discussion of the artist's statute, lack of articulation between Ministries and departments - with the scandalous example of the theatre for youth being done, in many cases, without the knowledge of the Ministry for Education and the supervision of a pedagogue -, and, last but not the least, the incapacity of rising the budget for the Ministry for Culture, at least, for 1% of the State's General Budget (not to mention the idea of making profits with culture, as well as health and education).

Contacto: tiagobartolomeucosta@hotmail.com

TIAGO BARTOLOMEU COSTA trabalha essencialmente em produção de teatro. Desenvolve análise de espectáculos no blog O Melhor Anjo. Faz investigação sobre a história da produção de teatro em Portugal, tendo publicado alguns artigos sobre as relações da produção e da criação em diversas revistas e jornais.

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