Pirandello’s “The giants of the mountain” in open-air scene at Carmo ruins

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The show “The giants of the mountain”, by the Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello, will debut on Wednesday at the Ruins of Carmo, in Lisbon, in a staging by António Pires, which marks the return to open-air theater nights.

Continuing in what has already been a habit, Ar de Filmes/Teatro do Bairro returns to the Ruins of the Carmo Museum this summer season, between July 26 and August 19, with a new creation, this time in co-production with the Italian Institute of Culture, “The Giants of the Mountain”, by Luigi Pirandello.

This is a premiere for this company, which has never before staged Pirandello’s unfinished work, chosen by António Pires for being an “absolutely fantastic” play, which “talks about theater in its essence”.

“This text is an iconic text and it is a wonderful text, the beauty of the text, above all, was what led me to want to do it,” the director told Lusa, considering that the theater “is a place of imagination, of dream, where we can be everything, we can give wings to our imagination, we can talk about everything, where people are very free, and not only the actors, but also those who watch”.

According to António Pires, this show “has some comic situations”, but it is a place that “has no comparison with life”.

“A theater company arrives at a place described as outside the world and time, but which for me is a metaphor for a stage,” he adds.

The characters are a star, “with the tics of a star, talking loudly, full of tics and reasons and wills”, a comedian, a very dumb actor, a count who is the husband of the star, who has ruined all his fortune in the theater, an older character, and another more straightforward actress, not so brilliant, not crazy, with her feet on the ground.

In this story, on one side, there is the group of marginals led by the magical poet Cotrone (Adriano Luz), on the other, the troupe of the Countess (Sofia Marques), a group of actors, tired, disillusioned with life, who wander from land to land, looking for an audience.

They find themselves at the foot of the mountain, a place that lies between two worlds, between life and death and where there is a chance for the characters to free themselves from the weight they carry on their conscience.

“This is the embodiment of the types of a theater company, but it’s also different types of people. They arrive at that place at the moment when the play is failing, when it is not successful at all, (…) and they find the people who live in that absolutely magical place, where they can do anything”, but which is also a place of “a lot of sincerity”, where “the characters begin to unveil what is most intimate and where they can make the show just for them, without needing the acceptance of others”, explains António Pires.

But when the countess demands that they perform the play in front of an audience, Cotrone explains that the only beings they can perform for are the giants who live on the mountain, but they are too busy with other things, distracted in their lives.

At one point there is a noise, they start to hear the giants, and the last sentence is “I’m afraid”.

“It’s an unfinished play. It ends here, because Pirandello died before finishing it”, said António Pires adding: “There is a version written by Pirandello’s son that tells the story of them going to the giants, but I kept this version, I think it ends very well, this fear, this uncertainty of going or not, of continuing, of saying… I leave that to the audience, I really like that it ends like this, people are free to imagine whatever they want”.

In the words of the Italian playwright himself, this is “a kind of humorous tragedy”, a paradox that suggests a contradictory hue, a mixture of shadows and light, of charms and cruelty.

In the opinion of António Pires, despite being over 80 years old, this is a “contemporary” play, a parable about the value of art in a world dominated by giants impregnated only with economic and profit logic, with the intention of establishing a critique on the devaluation of theater in times when the artistic work tends to be extremely realistic and objective.

Subtitled in English, the show also features performances by Alexandra Rosa, Alexandre Jerónimo, Cassiano Carneiro, Catarina Vicente, David Almeida, Graciano Dias, João Araújo, João Sá Nogueira, João Veloso and Mariana Branco.

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