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06 MAY 2018

O RAPAZ DE UCELLO ou aquilo que nunca perguntei ao Álvaro Lapa 
(THE BOY FROM UCELLO or what I never asked Alvaro Lapa)
by Jorge Silva Melo 
with Jorge Silva Melo and João Pedro Mamede
documentation: Leonor Buescu 
set design notes: Rita Lopes Alves
lighting: Pedro Domingos

No, Alvaro Lapa wasn’t evasive. He was penetrating. He responded, he hesitated very little, he spoke softly, he kept a silence that no one could interrupt. Sometimes painful silences. I didn’t always understand what he said, in a peremptory fashion. They were "proverbs" he used to say. I spent three days at his house in Leça de Palmeira, asking him questions. Probably because I wasn’t middle class and because we met in long afternoons in Lisbon cafés, in those years between 1964 and 1966, during my first years in college, Lapa welcomed me into his house, he even gave me the keys - in case I wanted to arrive earlier "tomorrow". "What a beautiful jumper!" I said to him. He smiled, with his twinkling sad smile. "I bought it for the film". I have to admit I loved sitting there, looking at him, seeing him, intelligent, fierce, sharp, scintillating, accurate, and also profoundly fragile. It was impossible not to look at him, he was a magnet. And I posed a lot of questions to him, banal questions just to get him talking, questions. And I didn’t ask him, I didn’t actually ask him very much. Who was this shadow of a teenager who had glimpsed a mirror, a trace in Uccello ("my only classical reference", he remarked)? What is the link from here to Gombrowicz, whose Notebook achieved ... to the Villon of the ancient snows? So many questions that I could have asked, I was so stupid. Lapa was right there in front of me, and he was willing to talk. And I didn’t even ask the crucial question: what is Literature, Alvaro?

We will always be asking ourselves about this. With João Pedro Mamede, an actor who I profoundly admire. I wanted to delve into this weird thing - to be faced by someone who we admire (and Lapa is truly admirable) and not be able to ask him what I wanted to know, through my fear of appearing to be foolish.

Yes, it's about what I never asked Alvaro. Once again, it’s about Literature.


Image Copyright: Jorge Gonçalves
  • LocationSerralves Auditorium
  • Schedule18h00 - 19h30
  • Days06 MAY 2018
  • Price€ 5,00
JORGE SILVA MELO founded Artistas Unidos in 1995, where he is the artistic director.
JOÃO PEDRO MAMEDE graduated from the ESTC. He began his theatrical training in Cena Múltipla, working with texts by Fernando Pessoa, Valentin and Farid Udi-Din Attar and with collective works. In March 2011, directed by Francis Seleck, he premiered The 20th of November, by Lars Nóren. In 2013, he founded OS POSSESSOS (Rapsódia Batman (Batman Rhapsody) 2014; II - A Mentira (II – The Lie) 2015 ; Marcha Invencível (Invincible March) 2017). With Artistas Unidos he recently participated in Stupidity, by Rafael Spregelburd (2017), The Stunning of Animals before the Slaughter by Dimítris Dimitriádis (2017) and O Grande Dia da Batalha (The Big Day of the Battle) by Jorge Silva Melo (2018)
PEDRO DOMINGOS has worked with Jorge Silva Melo since 1994, responsible for the lighting direction of almost all the performances of Artistas Unidos. He regularly works with Teatro dos Aloés. He is a founding member of Ilusom and the Teatro da Terra, based in Ponte de Sor, which he manages with the actress, Maria João Luís.

The Artistas Unidos theatre company was founded in 1995, when it created "António, a Boy from Lisbon", by Jorge Silva Melo. It staged performances with a large cast, plays about the here and now, or others from the past, that were explicitly political, during the company’s early days. The seminar, "Sem Deus nem Chefe” (Without a God nor Boss), held in the old factory building, the Antiga Fábrica Mundet, in Seixal, where five small productions were created, each coordinated by an actor who participated in the work, served as a test for the two and a half years work in A Capital / Teatro Paulo Claro, that was closed by Lisbon City Council on August 29, 2002. After this intense period, the company focused on contemporary stage plays: by Sarah Kane, Gregory Motton, Jon Fosse, David Harrower, Mark O’Rowe, Xavier Durringer, Spiro Scimone; Jorge Silva Melo, José Maria Vieira Mendes, Rui Guilherme Lopes and Francisco Luís Parreira among the Portuguese playwrights. The company also performed classics: by Melville, Kleist, Kafka, Beckett, Pinter. There were thirty premieres, several receptions, as well as co-productions, seminars, readings. After closure of A Capital, they performed works in various venues in Lisbon until they were hosted by the Teatro da Politécnica from 2012 onwards. The company produced several films about artists such as António Palolo, Joaquim Bravo, Alvaro Lapa, Angelo de Sousa, Bartolomeu Cid dos Santos, Nikias Skapinakis, António Sena, José de Guimaraes. It also organized exhibitions of artists such as Sofia Areal, Álvaro Lapa, Pedro Proença, Xana, Pedro Chorão, Miguel Ribeiro, Michael Biberstein, Ana Isabel Miranda Rodrigues, Sérgio Pombo, Barbara Lessing, Ana Vieira, Ângelo de Sousa, Manuel San Payo, Ivo, Nikias Skapinakis, Jorge Martins. 

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