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The Love-Story of Romeo and Juliet (Andrade, 1998-1999)

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The Love-Story of Romeo and Juliet

The Love-Story of Romeo and Juliet (1998-99), directed by Elza de Andrade, is a stage production of a Brazilian textual variation of the story of the star-crossed lovers. In 1996, the Brazilian playwright Ariano Suassuna adapts João Martins de Athayde’s chapbook (folheto em cordel) Romance de Romeu e Juliêta [The Romance of Romeo and Juliet] for the stage. This new variant, entitled The Love-Story of Romeo and Juliet [A história do amor de Romeu e Julieta] by Suassuna, acquires new contours in the process of transculturation. Athayde retextualizes and recontextualizes the story to the backlands of Northeast Brazil, where medieval codes of values still used to prevail at the beginning of the 20th  century. In his adaptation for the stage, Suassuna recreates the folheto em cordel (chapbook), inserting elements derived from Iberian and Brazilian popular culture, mainly mamulengo puppetry, Iberian poems and popular songs, and dramatic strategies such as the play-within-the-play, narrators, foreshadowings, besides the addition of erotic dimensions. The ludic, comic and erotic dimensions introduced by Suassuna are foregrounded in Elza de Andrade’s production.


Text: Ariano Suassuna

Director: Elza de Andrade

Cast: Alexandre Barros, Anna Paula Araújo, Ângela Blazo, Bruno Balthazar, Fábio Cordeiro, Flávio de Souza and Rodrigo Machado.

Costumes: Marcello Costa.

Setting: André Sanches and Daniel Leão.

Lighting: Thomas Ribas de Farias.

Soundtrack: Elza de Andrade (melodies that recreate Iberian poems of the XV and XVI centuries, and popular Brazilian songs and music).

Musicians: Lisa Kuernerz and Éber Freitas.

Assistant Director: Fabio Cordeiro

Production Director: Angela Blazo.


Production notes provided by Anna Stegh Camati




The Love-Story of Romeo and Juliet

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  • Victoria Charles says:

    The minimal, 3/4 stage that is up close to the audience gives a very personal atmosphere to the play and actors that seems to allow the audience to get more engrossed in the production. The flamboyant costume and makeup give the actors in the play a doll-like appearance, almost telling how the characters are pawns within the long family feud in this tragedy. The extreme makeup also gives the characters a more tragic look to the actors, similar to makeup in older German films.

    Simply put, the imagery in this production is gorgeous.

  • Adam J. Toth says:

    The element of dance and expression there through differentiates greatly this production and interpretation of “Romeo and Juliet”. I agree with Victoria’s comments about the atmosphere, although I do not know to what extent they intended to stage such a production in a confined to where it is staged. The close atmosphere may not have been a choice for the company that produced this version of “Romeo and Juliet,” but they worked very well with the stage.

  • Anna Stegh Camati says:

    Thank you for your thought-provoking comments. I also like this cannibalistic version, transposed to the backwoods of northeastern Brazil, very much. Elza de Andrade’s production opts for a kind of expression that freely appropriates elements from high and popular culture, incorporating regional traditions. The inventive spatial configuration, costumes and make-up certainly liberated carnivalesque energies among actors and spectators.

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