the show “Catarina and the beauty of killing fascists” by Tiago Rodrigues

the show "Catarina and the beauty of killing fascists" by Tiago Rodrigues

In her daily critical post, Lucile Commeaux casts her sharp and sparkling gaze on a cultural object.

Today the show Catarina and the Beauty of Killing Fascists of Tiago Rodriguesto discover until October 30 at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nordin Paris, then on tour (dates at the bottom of the page):

It is one of the many shows that can be seen at the moment in France by the director, and now director of the Avignon festival Tiago Rodrigues. It is already a few years old but the performances were interrupted with the COVID, and it arrives in France preceded by a somewhat exciting rumor: it would have been banned in certain theaters, in the halls it is sometimes booed, spectators would leave the room, others would even try to attack the actors on the stage. All that was enticing, so I went there with a grain of salt.

I was distressed, I know I often exaggerate, but really this time, I was very angry. Not angry for the right reasons, not angry because finally a show shocked me, made me think, jostled me, no, angry because it was boring, vain, and deeply revealing once again – and what a spectacular time! – that it is time for the public theater to stop taking itself for the herald of good political conduct, especially when it is badly done.

The text, written by Tiago Rodrigues himself, tells the story of a Portuguese family which for several generations has been killing fascists, in the strict intimacy of their community, a matriarchal community where everyone is called Catarina to honor the first, victim of police and patriarchal violence. One day, the youngest brings her first fascist, a deputy in a tie who we guess comes from an extreme right party. The ritual is set up but when pressing the trigger, she moves back. Long debates ensue on the advisability of violence, the need to defend oneself, that of questioning or not one’s family values, along two and a half very long hours which more or less resemble a lesson in philosophy. repeated: “Should we tolerate the intolerable? ”.

No shape, no substance

It started off pretty well though. The scene is beautiful, with its small removable wooden hut dug in the center of a cork oak, and then these long dark dresses with flounces worn by the whole family. The actors are good and even heroic given the simplicity of their postures, the lighting particularly successful. For ten minutes I thought of Mérimée and his Corsican vendettas, I thought of Chekhov too, of a cherry orchard news, and I was quite won over. The problem, we realize very quickly, is that this scenography is not used for much, in any case not to bring to life a wise, sluggish, ineffective text. All this is a form of pretext, a beautiful setting for a series of speeches whose purpose is above all didactic.

We are therefore witnessing a series of theorizing and talkative dialogues that the absence of form completely empties, when the show certainly thinks of arming them: violence, the family, fascism, patriarchy, tolerance, etc. It purrs when it would like to bite until it actually gets excited at the end, when the condemned deputy who had been silent until then takes the floor for a long time, a tribune defending a racist, anti-feminist, ultra-conservative doctrine. , now well known and institutionalized. One wonders why it is exciting elsewhere. Do people need to be on the benches of the Bouffes du Nord one evening in 2022 to realize that fascism wears ties and sits in European assemblies? The reaction of some spectators is uncomfortable, and it is the fault of the show, which does not incite revolt but, basically, to a powerless and disconnected anger. The show is not subversive for a penny, which permanently cowardly operates slight shifts, either in the past with this imagery of traditional Mediterranean costumes and this ancestral history, or in the future since a detour of the text is not lacking in set the action years after the pandemic. Very practical, the fable or the dystopia, to think over the real. Everything is referenced aside, not frank, and soft, like this permanent mention of Brecht, artificially drawn to link the show to a totally devitalized political tradition: an accessory. Result: another show that completely abdicates fiction, theater, entertainment in the good sense of the term, and which abdicates in the same movement all effective thought, to warn us from who knows what position of knowing, that… what , actually ? What to pay attention to? That it is necessary to vote better? That we’re all going to die? We don’t even know anymore.

Lucile Commeaux

October 7 to 30, 2022 at the Bouffes du Nord Theater
November 7 and 8, 2022 at La Garance – Cavaillon National Stage
November 9, 2022 at the Théâtre d’Arles
November 12 and 13, 2022 at the André Malraux Cultural Center in Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy
November 15 and 16, 2022 in Evry – November 18 and 19, 2022 at the Joliette Theater in Marseille
November 22 and 23, 2022 at the Maison de la Culture in Amiens
November 25 and 26, 2022 at the Angoulème Theater
from November 29 to December 1, 2022 at the Comédie de Reims
March 3 and 4, 2023 at the Quai – CDN d’Angers
April 6, 2023 at the Edwige Feuillère Theater in Vesoul

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