Inspired by “Dances to a Pagan God”, by Brian Friel, “Fonte da Arage” takes the stage of the São Luiz Theaterin Lisbon, in the form of short scenes interspersed with the intervention of the narrator, directly challenging the audience.

Amélia is the daughter of a white mother and a black father. She decides to return to the ruins of the house where she was born, in Fonte da Raiva, one of the poorest villages in Portugal. The action takes place in 1962 and evokes memories of that summer – the summer of all changes. “The Portuguese empire, since the fall of Goa, the assault on Santa Maria and the beginning of the colonial war, had begun its slow agony the previous year”, reads the synopsis available on the website.

If the original text places the action in an Ireland changing from a rural tradition that is beginning to industrialize, in this staging by Cucha Carvalheiro it is mainland Portugal, mass emigration and the recruitment of men for war that frame the plot. The bleeding of men of “marriageable” age leaves many brides unmarried and jobs in factories are secured by female labor.

Amélia’s uncle, a missionary in Angola, suddenly returns. He says he suffers from malaria, but everything points to him having been expelled by the authorities for defending the independence of the colonies and having converted to paganism. Her father, a hedonistic and boastful black man, is expelled from the university for participating in a Student Day demonstration. Angola and death await him, in Tarrafal, after being accused of desertion.

In a deeply conservative land, Amelia’s clandestine birth made the five sisters fall even further into disgrace. Misery prowls like a hyena.

The older sister teaches and is the main breadwinner in the house, but the brother’s political and religious positions dictate his distance from teaching. Two of his aunts flee without a trace, following the opening of a competing factory in the vicinity of Fonte da Raiva. Augusta, Amélia’s lesbian aunt and favorite, emigrates to France so as not to be slaughtered by the scorn and curses of the villagers. That leaves Ana, Amélia’s single mother, condemned to work in the factory to support her daughter’s studies. Alone and bitter.

Bruno Huca, Cucha Carvalheiro, Inês Rosado, Joana Campelo, Júlia Valente, Leonor Buescu, Luís Gaspar and Sandra Faleiro give voice and body to “Fonte da Raiva”, which will be on stage from the 1st to the 12th of February at the São Luiz Theaterin Lisbon.


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