Origens Origins 2005 - Nelson Rodrigues - banner

In 2005, StoneCrabs in association with the Embassy of Brazil in London presented ORIGENS/ORIGINS,  a series of rehearsed readings whose aim was to breathe life into the translated works of international playwrights old and new.

Origens/Origins 2005 brought work of Nelson Rodrigues to an English audience for its first time.  Nelson Rodrigues is considered one of the most important Brazilian playwrights. His plays bring innovation in style, aesthetics and in the approach to polemic themes. Contradictory and ambiguous, Rodrigues was one of the most censored playwrights of this time.

The raw portrayal of each Rodriguean character, though it scares us in its uncompromising details, fascinates us in its continued relevance.

This series of rehearsed readings presented 3 of his revolutionary works and opened by a talk from Professor Paul Heritage

Wedding Dress  – Directed by Natacha Metherell

Two women are dead; one in a fatal hit and run the other murdered.  But who are they?  Who killed them and why?  Belonging to Rodrigues’ psychological plays this tells the story of Alaíde, the victim of a car accident who is taken to hospital in a critical state where she undergoes emergency surgery. Through the press you hear the news of the accident and the state of the victim. Alaíde dies.  This is Alaíde’s story in the “realm of reality”. The “realm of reality” serves to gives the audience a linear description of the story.  In the “realm of the memory” however, we learn about Alaíde’s story before her accident. Alaíde and Lucia are sisters and Alaíde marries Pedro, Lucia’s boyfriend.   In the “realm of hallucination” Alaíde project her fantasies of herself and her guilt in the story of Madame Clessi, the owner of a brothel, murdered by her 17 year old lover. The play’s intricate structure highlights the complex psychological distress in which Alaíde lives

All Nudity Shall Be Punished – Directed by Tifanny Watt-Smith

A man arrives home to find his wife has committed suicide.  In flashback their tragedy forms part of a tangled web of obsession, desire and death.  One of Rodrigues’ Carioca Tragedies, the tragedies of the people of Rio de Janeiro.  Herculano arrives home from a working trip to find that his wife, Geni, has committed suicide. In flashback, through radio news and Geni’s recorded voice we hear that following the death of his first wife from cancer, Herculano becomes imprisoned by his grief and the almost obsessive grief of his son.  His conniving brother arranges for him to meet a prostitute, Geni, whom to the disgust of his son he marries. Geni betrays him with his own son, who in a tragic twist leaves her for his homosexual lover – a Bolivian criminal.

Lady of the Drowned – Directed by Kwong Loke

Forbidden passions, incest, murder and revenge; how long can this family keep these secrets buried? A seemingly mad old grandmother, matriarch of the Drummond family, predicts the ultimate death of all her family at the hands of the sea, an invisible character whose presence constantly haunts the stage.  Her son, Misael, a powerful judge is married to Dona Eduarda with whom he has three daughters; Moema, Clarinha and Dora, and a son Paulo. Following the drowning of their daughter, Dora, the action of the play starts on the day of Clarinha’s funeral also killed at the hands of the sea.  But is this suicide, murder or the prophesies of a seemingly mad old woman coming tragically true?

The work was presented at Gallery 32, 32 Green Street London W1K 7AT