[Skip to main navigation] [Skip to content] [Skip to quick links] [Go to contact us] [Go to accessibility information]

Turmoil waf portrait

TURMOIL by JÔ BILAC

European premiere!

5, 6, 12 & 13 May 2017, 7 PM

Wandsworth Arts Fringe 2017 @ Battersea Library, London

FOR TICKETS @ £10 & £8 go to http://www.wandsworthfringe.com/whats-on/turmoil

Watch our lastest trailer using footage from our run at the Brazilian Embassy in 2016

 

 

Set in an OTT Jane Austenesque South-American world, this surreal tragicomedy sees lust and sibling love between Vladine and Matias bring TURMOIL to the latter’s marriage with the beautiful Bianca. Vladine has come to live with her brother due to a fatal disease and the mysterious death of her husband, and has brought her beloved Nataniel, a blind goat, with her. Bianca’s devotion to her beloved husband is tested by his sister’s absurd demands and Matias’ growing attachment to the goat, which soon becomes Bianca’s number one enemy.

TURMOIL seems like a period play, but it is not: the writing mixes melodrama and nineteenth century literature clichés with contemporary elements that reminds us of Lorca, Theatre of Absurd and Surrealism.

Dende Collective created a show, which echoes the fabric of the text: the costumes look period, but were made out of contemporary garments. The music played live flirts with Flamenco. Expect an energetic and stylized production performed by and international cast featuring flamenco, melodrama acting, acrobatics, samba, belly dance and, obviously, a tap dancing goat!

 

 

Our research so far to develop the show:

  • Second Draft: 30th September & 01st October 2016 @ Sala Brasil, Embassy of Brazil in London

Click here to watch a trailer made of rehearsasl footage for the second draft in 2016.

These two presentations took place in the exquisite Sala Brasil at the Brazilian Embassy in London in Trafalgar Square where we performed to a packed and enthusiastic audience. The work was the result of a three-week rehearsal process where we were able to explore some of the discoveries of the first stage of development of the work in 2015 like the usage of Flamenco and live music. We worked with the mesmerizing Flamenco teacher Lourdes Fernandez, who coached the actors and Leon Trayman, our voice coach, who was exceptional in working with the cast. Henri Gjestvang made costumes that look period, but were made of recycled materials and pre-existing garments. 

With support of the Embassy of Brazil in London, Latin American House, Barraco and Hoxton Hall.

 

  • First Draft: 18 September 2015 @ Limehouse Town Hall

Click here to watch our promo using footage of the first draft in 2015.

This presentation on the 18th of September at 7 pm at the Limehouse Town Hall to a packed and enthusiastic audience was the first step towards Dende's aim to produce this hit Brazilian play, being the result of one week of exploration around the text. We investigated how Flamenco could be used in the telling of the story. We presented the whole of the play since we were also trying out this brand new translation for the first time. Some scenes had been worked in more detail than others, which were read. There was a feedback chat with the company after the show. As in previous Dende shows we once again invite the audience to help us shaping how we develop our work!

Cast & Creative Team:

Directed by Andre Pink

Translation by Rogerio Correa and Richard Murphy

 

For WAF2017 @ Battersea Library in London, on 5, 6, 12 and 13 May 2017:

Produced by Emi Del Bene

Lighting design by Ben Jacobs 

Costume design by Henri Gjestvang 

Flamenco coaching by Lourdes Fernandez

Photos by Ramiro Andrade

Actors:
Bryn Mitchell - Nataniel
Fernanda Mandagará - Vladine
Ciara Molloy - Bianca
Andre Pink - Matias

Musicians:
Ella Bellsz - Accordion
Tom Bauling - Guitar

 

Third Draft @ The Courtyard Theatre in London, from 17 to 21 Jan 2017:

Produced by Emi Del Bene

Lighting design by Ben Jacobs 

Costume design by Henri Gjestvang 

Flamenco coaching by Lourdes Fernandez

Actors:
Alejandro de Mesa Palau - Nataniel
Fernanda Mandagará - Vladine
Ciara Molloy - Bianca
Ged Petkunas - Matias

Musicians:
Ella Bellsz - Accordion
Tom Bauling - Guitar

 

Second Draft @ The Brazilian Embassy in London on 30 Sep and 01 Oct 2016:

Produced by Emi Del Bene

Lighting design by Ben Jacobs 

Costume design by Henri Gjestvang 

Voice coaching by Leon Trayman

Flamenco coaching by Lourdes Fernandez

Documentation by Hannah Jones

Actors:
Alejandro de Mesa Palau - Nataniel
Fernanda Mandagará - Vladine
Ciara Molloy - Bianca
Ged Petkunas - Matias

Musicians:
Ella Bellsz - Accordion
Birte Widmann - Flute & Vocals
Tom Bauling - Guitar

 

First Draft @ Limehouse Town Hall in London on 25 Sep 2015:

Set Provocation by Eduardo Padilha

Guitar by Gui Tavares

Costumes by the company

Assistant Director: Lucy Bishop

Flier by Andrew de Almeida Silva

Front of House Bill Uden

Photos by Garry Hamilton
 

Actors:
Alejandro de Mesa Palau - Nataniel
Najla Ferreira Kay - Vladine
Paula Rodriguez - Bianca
Paul Sebastian Mauch - Matias

YOU FIND BELLOW A POECTIC BIOGRAPHY OF JÔ BILAC BY THE PLAYWRIGHT HIMSELF AND AN INTERVIEW WHERE HE SPOKE TO US ABOUT THE PLAY TURMOIL, HIS LIFE AND WORK:

Jô Bilac by Jô Bilac

Bio sent to Dende by email on 11 Sep 2015.

Carioca (born in Rio)/ fascinated by plants and cats. I have written many texts on the beaches / in Internet cafés / The city of Rio, a paradox of beauty and horror, has always been a reference, comprising the characters within its own paradoxes. Today I live in São Paulo, I write from the terrace, amongst the skyscrapers. My first text written here was "Kiss My Tombstone" with Marco Nanini as the protagonist, playing an ardent fan of Oscar Wilde who desecrates his grave at Pere Lachaise / Paris.

I come from a bourgeois, upper middle class family from the Urca neighbourhood, which consumed art with as entertainment. And that meant  unbridled consumption as a way to placate the emptiness of their own lives. And the lack of empathy with each other.

I ended up in the theatre by insistence. Not mine, but from the grief that consumed me, seeing myself so detached from the values I learned at home. I lived abroad / I trained a lot in childhood and adolescence, as a way to learn the Portuguese language in prose. I learned to feel the words. I thought I was going to become a novelist since my childhood. At 16 I saw a play by Nelson Rodrigues and I was fascinated, I understood theatre beyond entertainment / and the artist as artivist. I decided that I would become an artivist. Acting in the world through art.

Besides writing / I worked over the years as a curator / manager of public cultural spaces in Rio. Gláucio Gil Theatre in Copacabana / the Planetarium in Gávea and the Sergio Porto theatre in Humaita neighbourhood.

I managed to produce my first plays through the sponsorship of wealthy friends of my family. Who cut relations after they went to see the plays and discovered that the content was an affront to their values. Without sponsorship and still unknown in Rio, I worked at a video rental shop to continue bankrolling my artistic choices. The job at the video store helped me get in touch with film in an intense way, I devoured everything I could. And from then on, I recognized the influence of cinema in my writings. The cutting / editing / the image crossed by the word. I often say that I graduated from Martins Pena Drama School and the video rental where I worked.

In 2010, after writing "Savannah Glacial" (a play that won awards and nominations) I abandoned everything and went to live in Berlin. I returned two years later to write "Popcorn", which was part of a personal trilogy, which would be completed later with "Blood in the Sandbox." Three texts that departed from a writer protagonist.

I travelled around Brazil giving lectures and having meetings, from Acre to Curitiba. I noticed a giant and multicultural country with existential issues scaled by its social reality. After that experience, I wrote "Conselho de Classe" in 2013 for Companhia dos Atores, an analysis of the Brazilian educational system and how we relate to it. In 2014/2015 my trip has been through book fairs around the world, Gothenburg / Sweden, Frankfurt / Germany, Paris / France, Bogota / Colombia, Milan / Italy, New York / USA ... a physical enterprise, representing Brazilian drama , how we think / feel / how we reverberate art.

I notice the amazement of people when they meet me... often they think I'm older and white. Like Nelson Rodrigues, Plínio Marcos. I'm black and I'm 31 years old, I live off writing in a country that reads very little / with a government that sees culture as a luxury item and not a matter of prime necessity. Where people still think that theatre is just for the elite and sponsorship is mostly for musicals. I am lucky. And I take advantage of it writing theatre, comics, internet, TV, movies... One day I’ll still write a novel.

Interview with Jô Bilac by email

Answers sent to Dende on 11 Sep 2015.

Dende: Tell us about the genesis of TURMOIL: what made you write it? Where did the inspiration come from?

Jô Bilac: Rebú is the second text I wrote for my group, Teatro Independente. After "Cachorro!", we went to live in São Paulo for six months, Novos Baianos style (a famous hippie music group form the 70s) / Six people living together and developing what would be our second work. I proposed a simple synopsis, which would have as a starting point someone raising a goat indoors. That's because, in my childhood, I lived with my godmother in an apartment in the Humaitá neighbourhood, in Rio de Janeiro, and she was a Candomblé follower. And during the period I lived in her house, she raised a goat inside the apartment. I found it strange. Once it was fully grown, the goat disappeared. Then, when I was older, I realised that the goat was raised to be sacrificed in a ritual. It was with this in mind that I proposed to my group that we work on this relationship of a billy goat that awakens the love of a man who treats him as a son. I wanted to talk about this transposition of affection that reveals our human paradox, mixing noble / sublime feelings with obsessions / horror.

Dende: The play has a Rodriguean touch (reference to the Brazilian iconic playwright Nelson Rodrigues). Is this what was intended? Or is it something to do with circus-theatre?

Jô Bilac: Well, the text "Cachorro" (Dog) was a research of our theatre company about the universe of Nelson Rodrigues, the company (founded by six people) got together precisely to develop an identification with this universe. Between melodrama / the passionate mastering / blinding of the characters within an obscure spiral. It was natural, in our second work, to carry on being influenced by the Rodriguean universe. Adding now Eça de Queiroz, for his tragic / romantic universe.

Dende: Tell us about the goat, how did this idea occur?

Jô Bilac: I remembered the thing with my godmother, I thought the idea had legs / because it was something that sounded absurd, but that I had actually experienced. It was then that I began to see life as being as / or more absurd than fiction.

Dende: And the Portuguese title Rebú, Turmoil, in English?

Jô Bilac: I thought of a title that suggested something more sensory than actually rational. Something that was suggestive / but not judgemental. Incidentally, “Rebú" is misspelt (it’s written Rebu, without the stress, in Portuguese), the stress on the ú suggests strangeness / a recognizable word, but not necessarily one that exists.

Dende: There is the presence of the Moon in the piece, a thing a bit Lorcaesque, is this correct? Something a bit supernatural, a mystery involving the characters, a familial curse from which the siblings cannot escape: the sadness in their eyes, the inability in both to have children, the inability to establish emotional ties with others. Had family issues  “got you goat” at the time you wrote the play? There is a malaise with the concept of family in the play.

Jô Bilac: In fact, I was interested in the meaning we attach to signs, through our own understanding of the world. In the case of the Goat, it’s a powerful animal, who was worshiped as a god and Christianity demonized the poor creature / which began to be associated with the figure of the devil himself / with evil. The horns / the blindness of the eyes / the moon / it’s all nature / the human mind is responsible for mythicizing nature / in a quest for the understanding human nature itself. Nathaniel comes from natal: Christmas, birth. But it’s not from him that the obsession of Bianca / Matias and Vladine is born. He serves as a scapegoat for everyone in the house, who place this role on him.

Dende: Tell us about your background. I heard you grew up in the circus, is that true? And India?

Jô Bilac: Ha ha ha. Not in the circus, no. Where did you hear that? Ha ha ha. And, you know,  I've never been to the circus and this is one of my frustrations as a boy / adult.

My father's family is from India / my Indian father met my mother from Rio / I was born in Rio, but as a baby I went to Madrid, where I lived until I was ten years old / going backwards and forwards to Brazil. I spent my childhood in a gipsy community / my family background. The intercontinental upbringing helped me to understand better what brings us together as human beings, because be it Asia / Europe / America... man is always there, and within him the skull and the blood / growing / developing and dying.

Dende: What kind of playwright are you? Can we now talk about Jô Bilac themes, topics, about a Jô Bilac’s aesthetics?

Jô Bilac: Next year it’s my tenth anniversary in the profession. That is nothing in terms of theatre. Ten years, we are just beginning. Because theatre is handmade, it’s an art that needs time to mature / theatre is organic / from Man to Man / and, like a tree, you need time for one to know what kind of flower will come out / what kind of fruit impregnates you. It’s a process of self-knowledge / that has to do with the construction of the world. I think of theatre as a metaphor for life, in the sense of the ephemeral / that, just as life, it seems that every day is the same, but it's always different... and it only has value live / alive / You could film it, record it, photograph it / but it's not theatre, because the person is not there.

I still cannot identify a "dramaturgy line”, what I can recognize in nine years is the attempt to transcend / detach from reality in order to turn back to it. Trying not to be the mirror of man, but to smash that mirror and in these shards / shrapnel, reflect the contradictory images of our nature. Without moralising or judging. I search for provocation / what we can provoke together.

Dende: I know only “Fluxorama” and “Rebú” and both are very different. There is perhaps a very radical choice of styles or the search for a style or language in each of them. You scrutinize and go deep in each one of them. Are their starting points always like that? Do you start with a stylistic choice? Do you start from the form? From the content? From a character?

Jô Bilac: The starting point for me is always the encounter / I think about the potential of our encounter / how to reverberate something that in me feels so intimate, building a bridge to the intimacy of the other. And only through intimacy we conquer affection. Regardless of style, I want to affect / to be affected.  Form serves as packaging for content. I must know first what's inside / to then reflect on the form that can better enable the understanding / sensitisation of the content. The form usually comes from inspiration / it’s the bridge to the other... The content always departs from anguish / it’s what crosses this bridge / relativising the form through its own synapses.