ESPELHOS E MONSTROS | olhar externo

EYES WIDE OPEN (sobre Espelhos e Monstros de Paula Diogo)

texto de Francesco Chiaro

Um convite de fala mansa mas áspera à alcova emplumada de uma mulher em constante transformação, onde partes do corpo são recontextualizadas e olhares são trocados, questionados e renegociados: isso e algo mais, no Espelhos e Monstros de Paula Diogo e Renato Linhares.

A soft-spoken yet gritty invitation to the feathery alcove of a woman in constant transformation where body parts are recontextualised and gazes are traded, questioned and renegotiated: this and some more, in Paula Diogo and Renato Linhares’ Espelhos e Monstros.

An intimate, white square surrounded by an audience and populated by a duvet and a fan. In the corner, Cigarra at the soundscape while from afar, a voice recites: «I thought that if this show could be performed by a part of my body, by one single hand, for example, I could diminish the impact that my body has when it is looked upon by others». Thus begins Espelhos e Monstros, Portuguese performer and director Paula Diogo’s latest collaborative piece, co-created together with Brazilian performer and director Renato Linhares, with the support of the apap – FEMINIST FUTURES artistic network.

Based on Terra Nullius, «a video filmed in 2019 in which a mysterious woman dressed as Wonder Woman walks across an inhospitable Icelandic landscape, [undertaking] a journey of erasure in which other figures emerge and transmutations become the driving force behind the action», Espelhos e Monstros expands on the idea of a «normal day in the normal life of a normal person» that, throughout the 70 minutes of the performance, «becomes extraordinary». Inspired by Serbian artist Ana Dubljević’s research on feminist dramaturgical thinking in dance and performance practice (both in the form of her book The Feminist Pornscapes and the piece STILL TO COME a feminist pornscape), Paula Diogo and co. try to create and develop a female gaze, that is a gaze that does not objectify and dehumanize, but rather represent individuals as subjects having agency.

By implementing a non-frontal audience placing and a meticulous levity for the fleeting sculptures created on stage, Diogo attempts to disrupt the trained gaze and open up possibilities of looking without a constrained direction of attention, thus inviting spectators to take part in the effort to celebrate an «encompassing gaze» capable of embracing the entire world as it is. With these premises, it is easy to let the eyes wander around the Sala Estúdio of Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, glancing now at the alienated onlookers sitting on the other side of the stage, now at the performer crawling mulishly around the conflict-laden margins and making the artificiality of society’s othering «fixed gaze» unignorable.

Moreover, paired up with Cigarra’s live sound creations and Daniel Worm’s light design, Espelhos e Monstros reveals the endless possibilities of Diogo and Linhares’ feminist exploration of space and subject-object relations, concocting an easy-to-enjoy yet difficult-to-embrace performance in which everything -from creation to problematization and rupture- is the fruit of a collaborative, horizontal and inclusive practice of shared thinking, communication and exchange in which the audience is postdramatically called forth to constantly negotiate its position, its gaze and, perhaps, its very own “monstrosity”, too. Afterall, what is normal and what is extraordinary in this highly-performative, self-exploiting society of ours?

(Publicado em Teatro Persinsala.)

foto @João Tuna