Notes on «Para onde vai a luz quando se apaga?». Premiere May 4, 2007, Culturgest.
1. The performance does not concern the disappearance of light. Rather, it is about the disappearance of shadow. The shadow of causality, of logic, of story-ness, the shadow of the human realm as we know it. Here, what we have are states. Functions. The performers don't act, they remain in action. The very first scene, where the musician walks along all the walls of the stage scratching them with a small microphone, says it all: this is going to take time, and you better deal with it. If you're not happy with it, you might just as well leave now. I will remain as long as it takes. And when it's over, it's simply gone. This doesn't need to lead anywhere but here, to the sound table. It doesn't need to tell a story other than my trip from there to here. Unsatisfied? Yes, I can understand. But can't you just appreciate it, for what it is - somebody's notion of honesty?
2. What is your function? Are you being the person that listens? Or the one that speaks? Are you the guy that draws lines? Are you the dancer girl? And what does that mean? Do you fit in when you do your thing? Do you ever not fit in? What comes out of your standing here?
3. The dancer girl - Márcia - never actually dances. She sort of warms up, tries a jump or two, prepares her body. She gets comfortable. And leaves. While she does that, a snail race is being prepared. During the general rehearsal, when Lenaic put the snails, she didn't align them to make them advance in the same direction, and they just dispersed all over. I asked her after if it was on purpose. She said no, and at the premiere they are quite carefully aligned. And I miss the havoc. I regret having asked the question.
4. The risk is huge. About half of the show is improvised. The structure remains, but the way of filling in, of respecting the tough rules of Real-Time Composition, is up to the performers, and depends on every show. It can always go wrong. It would really make more sense to see two show in a row, every time.
5. The general rehearsal goes very bad. They are aggressive, tired, unimaginative. They choose either the simplest and flat solutions, or they jump off into something completely nonsensical and unrelated. Things seem chaotic. The show ends with a quote from Deleuze, about how happiness/joy empowers. It sounds ironic.
6. The premiere goes incredibly well. Everything is right. The improvised parts all come together. The performers are strong, at first still somewhat too heavy and inexplicably over-present (too dramatic, too «significant», as if they were constantly in the middle of to be or not to be), but the performance quickly gains a good pace.
7. At a certain point, Lenaic leaves the stage with a microphone, and we hear her describing everything she sees. At the same time, Gustavo remains on stage alone, creating an abstract and quite beautiful installation. She walks up to a security guard and starts asking her questions. When asked about what was important to her in working here, the guard answers that the people she meets: «So many good experiences and good encounters. Different people. Artists, normal people...» The audience bursts with laughter. Gustavo keeps on with his paper line.
8. These beautiful visual images, all created in front of our eyes. Imagine witnessing the creation of an installation. One that includes spoken text, and maybe an actor or two, from time to time. But really, it's just like watching a construction sight. Exciting, boring, curious.
9. I talk to the performers after the show. They all seem very happy. Only at a certain point Cláudia, João's long-time collaborator, looks at me and says: «Oh my god, what is it going to be like tomorrow? I don't know why it goes well when it goes well. I still don't know.»
10. For the neophytes: don't expect a fridge.
To see a video of a fragment cut from the final version of the show, go to re-al.org, then click on Artistas - João Fiadeiro - Para Onde Vai A Luz Quando... - Filmes - 1.