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Volume 60 / Humanities

LITERATURE: BRAZIL


Drama

SEVERINO J. ALBUQUERQUE, Professor of Portuguese, University of Wisconsin-Madison


THE TREND TOWARD CATALOGING and historicizing has absorbed drama and theater criticism at the turn of the 21th century, hence the several overviews of the last decade (item #bi2001002521#) as well as of the previous one hundred years (items #bi2001002545# and #bi2001003211#). This historical preoccupation stretches back to include the 19th-century, as demonstrated by an award-winning work by João Roberto Faria (item #bi2002003411#) and a new, revised edition of a seminal book that spans the entire period since Anchieta (item #bi2001003204#).

Studies of single figures also fared prominently in the years under consideration; excellent examples are books on the contributions of Décio de Almeida Prado (item #bi2001002526#), Ademar Guerra (item #bi2001002541#), and French director Louis Jouvet during his Brazilian sojourn (item #bi2001000891#). One volume, dedicated to the career of Antunes Filho, is of particular importance as it focuses on a stage director who was a key figure in establishing groups as the vital force in contemporary Brazilian theater (item #bi2001003200#). Through his work with Grupo Macunaíma and Centro de Pesquisas Teatrais, Antunes Filho has given impetus to the success of theatrical groups thanks to a method that blends experimentation, discipline, and hard work.

Around the country, other groups have both followed in Antunes' tracks and opened new avenues of their own. Paramount among them is Grupo Galpão, which was created in Belo Horizonte in 1982, and burst onto the national scene in the 1990s with their vibrant blend of Brechtian technique, street theater, and the classics (Shakespeare, Molière, Nelson Rodrigues). Just as Antunes Filho has been fortunate in the quality of scholarly work done on his contributions (the names of George, Britton, and Guimarães spring to mind), so has Grupo Galpão figured prominently in the research of Júnia de Castro Magalhães Alves, Marcia Noe, and Lúcia Trindade Valente, whose ongoing, extensive study of Galpão has already produced the series of three articles annotated below (items #bi2002003415#, #bi2002003409#, and #bi2002003410#). Other groups and stage directors have not yet found their chroniclers and therein lies a major topic for new and further research in the field.

Thus, while groups are currently at the forefront of Brazilian theater, and encenadores like Gerald Thomas are still held in high esteem by a number of critics (although short of the luster and prestige they enjoyed in the 1980s), playwrights are beginning to be noticed again, with strong contributions from established names such as Maria Helena Kühner (item #bi2001003202#) as well as from younger playwrights like Clara de Goes (item #bi2001002540#) and respected novelists venturing into drama, as is the case of Diogo Mainardi (item #bi2001003215#).

Finally, the publication of original plays shows a trend that parallels the cataloging effort referred to above, as several anthologies of note have appeared in the last few years. Some of these books include plays by diverse authors (items #bi2001002543# and #bi2001003208#), while others have a sole author, as is the case of the complete theater of Caio Fernando Abreu (item #bi2001002522#) and the complete verse drama of Carlos Nejar (item #bi2001003203#). A serious gap in our field is the study of the type of theater represented in these publications. The work of most of these playwrights is fertile ground for new research but remains virtually unexplored.


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