Teatro Oficina Updates Chico Buarque's Musical "Roda Viva", 50 Years Later

The musical was forbidden during the military dictatorship, and performers were assaulted and arrested

Maria Luísa Barsanelli

"Let's follow Fernanda Montenegro's advice: wake up and sing," says José Celso Martinez Corrêa. Sitting in the half-shade under Teatro Oficina's tall windows, the director talks about a new stage production of one of the most famous plays in the history of his company Cia Uzyna Uzona, the musical "Roda Viva" )(Wheel of Life).

The debut, scheduled for Thursday (6th), had its share of mishaps. The new production was planned since 2017 when playwright and composer Chico Buarque authorized the new staging, but the company lacked funds.

Actors during rehearsal for the new staging of Chico Buarque's musical "Roda Viva"

The new production comes precisely 50 years after the play's first staging. Corrêa did something similar last year with 'O Rei da Vela" (King of Candle), a play that anticipated the tropicalist movement.

But if the new "Rei da Vela" followed the 1967 work closely, the new "Roda Viva" will be updated, according to Corrêa, not only because some references are outdated, but also to reverberate what is happening in Brazil in 2018.

The original play criticized TV's power, but in the new version, the Internet and social media take its place. "Nowadays, social networks are stronger than television. We are at war, life against robotization," he said.

The play won't avoid mentioning the 2018 presidential elections, especially the massive use of WhatsApp and the issue with fake news. Corrêa also promises to explore the idea of "myth" that surrounds president-elect Jair Bolsonaro. Many Bolsonaro votes refer to him using the nickname "Bolsomito" (Bolsomyth).

"But the show is not about the president-elect, it goes beyond that. The thing about myths is that they are ancient, but also fragile, and how it can be toppled," says Corrêa.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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