Thursday, June 28, 2007

Black Angel

Yesterday I was at the Volksbühne in Berlin Mitte, which is a very nice theater, one of the most importants of the east Berlin. The play was "Anjo Negro", in german "Schwarzer Engel" ("Black Angel") a classic work of the most famous brazilian dramaturgist ever Nelson Rodrigues. Although Rodrigues is since decades glorified for brazilian artists and intelectuals I must confess (and I am not alone) that is a bit strange for me to clap my hands for an author who has belonged to the right politics during the military dictature in Brazil and among other things used to surrender his friends to the militars. Also he became infamous for his machism and racism, what is very clear in the form how he used to expose females and afro-descendents characters in his work. But whatever as someone said yesterday during the panel after the play: "we should try not to mix the person with the artist." But I swear I know many people who didn´t find out any beauty in Wagner´s work anymore, since they knew he was an antisemit. On the other hand it´s not possible to listen to Wagner´s antisemitism through his music, what makes things easier at least. But in Nelson Rodrigues case is different: you can read it in his texts and you can even feel it. Like in the case of "Black Angel" for example. The play talks about racism from the perspective of an afro-descendent Doctor, who hates his own color of skin. His white wife kills the two kids they have, because they are blacks like the father. Well there are two things which annoys me on it: first is this stigma of "victim" he used to describe black people in his plays, as the whole racism issues would be characterized through this "victim of the society" behavior. Sencond, I think brazilian society loves to talk about racism and prejudice aways from a "white" perspective, what makes things much "easier" for them. They d´ont need to feel guilty nor have any political and social conscience about nothing related to it since some right intelectual did this job for them. And it´s just the way it is untill nowadays in that country.By the way I would love to read someone, who really faces those situations ( racism and prejudice) talking or writing about that through his own perspective. Otherwise all this shit sounds too faraway from the reality... Well the point is that yesterday I saw this play with direction of Frank Castorf, who is also the director of "Volksbühne". Castorf was a long while in São Paulo and had the idea to mix Nelson Rodrigues "Black Angel" with Heiner Müller´s "Der Auftrag" ("The Mission"), a play written in 1979, which talks about the slave revolution in Jamaica some years after the french revolution. The result was pretty radical and I really liked what I saw. But I guess some people were really annoyed by hearing sentences like: " (...) there will be only Africa, Asia and the two Amercias in the future! " I cannot explain why but I feel there´s some sense on it...

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