Cia de Teatro Quadrinos, O Cabrador

Review in Issue 7-3 | Autumn 1995

Ternando Vieira, who took the main part in the prize winning Brazilian piece, O Cabrador (The Avenger), is an ex-pupil of mine from six years ago, so I had a special interest in seeing this show.

Though Brazil has a strong feeling for theatrical spectaculars, there are no schools of physical theatre, so even famed companies like Macunaima, are low on physical expertise. Brazilian based international companies trained and formed in England, like Mimus Mundanus and Boi de Mamao have a stronger feel for effective theatrical movement.

The five-strong cast of O Cabrador were trained by Vieira and showed the economy, energy and power that we expect from good physical theatre.

From the extraordinary first entrance, with Vieira walking like a fractured Transformer, the piece commanded our attention. In a claustrophobic set of oil drums and rubber tyres, it followed the life and aspirations of a couple of hoodlums – for whom daily needs, food, minor luxuries, a visit to the dentist, sex, money, were achieved with a casual and grotesque violence. This was Pulp Fiction or Miami Vice set in the gutter. The Brazilians are generally strong on the emotions – and this was no exception, a joyless orgy of murder, intimidation and sex.

Unlike a lot of physical performers, they handled the Portuguese dialogue extremely well. Vieira’s character, particularly, was enhanced by his use of voice.

In foreign countries Étienne Decroux always went to speaking theatre, and if he could understand the play without understanding the language, then the play was good.

Mostly, I had no trouble with the plot; only towards the end did I feel I was losing the subtleties. The largely Brazilian audience loved it, dewy-eyed with nostalgia, and so did I – but in the end it was about ten minutes too long.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 1995

This article in the magazine

Issue 7-3
p. 24