November Reading – Forgive Me For You Betraying (Brazil, 1957)

I participated on the OOTW Session led by Ramiro Silveira on ‘Forgive me for not betraying me’ two weeks ago via skype.  After initial introductions we read and discussed the play.

What I thought was going to be a  discussion on the translation needs of the project became a discussion on the merits of producing this text in to London’s current audiences, the lack of female voice in a post-Weistein world vs the sense that the author is writing to shock provoke, its unusual structure and straight forwardness in speech. The group seemed divided in the merit of producing this text, I daresay almost 50/50.

As I tried to explain during the session, I had already produced/adapted/directed 5 plays by Rodrigues (2005 – 2008) and 5 staged readings I know that in the readings at the Brazilian Embassy in 2005, Lyric Hammersmith and Royal Court Theatre representatives commented that the plays felt like ‘historical’ pieces and had not interest in pursuing it further. Having said that, the smaller fringe producers such as Southwark Playhouse, Greenwich Playhouse, Ovalhouse, Union Theatre and New Diorama saw its potential and went on to host his works produced by StoneCrabs, they were hailed as “unbridled lunacy a la Lorca” by Time Out on  Our Lady of The Drowned; “Brazilian Magic” Time Out on Waltz N. 6 and “a poignant and superbly paced piece of drama” by the Observer on All Nudity Shall Be Punished to mention a few.

Ramiro and Sacha (via skype) tried to convey that his work can split opinions but in the right directorial hands can push boundaries. Rodrigues has divided houses in Brazil all his life and continues to do so; he was ,without any politeness, lifting a mirror to the Brazilian society, exposing their hypocrisy.

I left the session wondering if Rodrigues’ carioca tragedies will translate to UK audiences of now, 10 years later since we last produced them, and most importantly how much we will be able to adapt/translate to make it count, the language required needs to be as bold as the production.   Unfortunately, time ran out and we didn’t get to discuss the best process to achieve such bold translation, but perhaps in another session.