Dende Collective, Viva Maria

Review in Issue 14-1 | Spring 2002

A Brazilian double-bill. Two plays about Brazil, the allure of Brazil, the beaches, the sun, sex, soap operas and the perfect destination for Europeans on the run.

The first play is about an ageing soap-opera star who has it all – the money, the fame, the enemies, the virile husband, the best plastic surgeon and the cocaine habit to match any A-list celebrity. A story about bitterness, jealousy and betrayal, coming on strong like a Jackie Collins novel. This is a solo piece that relies heavily on the ability of the actor; though she captures the mercurial Maria with viscous precision, her face wrapped in cling film like the shiny gloss of the plastic surgeon, her occasional transformation into Maria's arch enemy fails to convince.

The second play is a murder story about an Englishman on the run. Escaping murder in England to search out his dream date – a woman he met in an Internet chatroom – he lands in Brazil pursued by the ghosts of his victims. What ensues is a confusing switch between his imagination and his reality culminating in a standout dream sequence. His ghosts, taunting him with his insecurities act out, like children in the playground, the murder of his final victim who dies symbolically with the shot of a partypopper to the heart. Unfortunately, trying to marry real and symbolic violence undermines the drama by failing to accurately pinpoint how his ghosts are illustrating the moral conflict that is raging in his head.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-1
p. 28 - 29