Cláudia Madeira at the EASTAP Conference

NOVA FCSH’s Communication Sciences lecturer and ICNOVA researcher will give a talk about Memory Theater: The Politics of Memory in current societies and new theatrical forms at the II EASTAP Conference (European Association for the Study of Theater and Performance), which will take place at the University of Lisbon and D. Maria II National Theater, 23-25 September.

“Theatre of a (Read)Gone Man: Critical and Theatrical Metafiction 1954-2005” by Ernesto de Melo e Castro

 – A dramaturgy of resistance and (counter-) historical memory

Teatro de um Homem (L)ido (Theatre of a (Read)Gone Man) is unique in enabling us to read theatre texts conceived by Ernesto de Melo e Castro, a writer never known as a playwright and whose texts were never performed on stage during the period in which they were written, due to the censorship in practice during the Estado Novoregime in Portugal.

In this book, published by the Portuguese Society of Authors in 2005, proposed and at the invitation of Francisco Luiz Rebello, Melo e Castro analyzes, retrospectively and critically, these texts written in 1954.

His analysis produces a metadiscourse or, in the author’s words, a “critical and theatrical metafiction” on the historical time and context, and the constraints then curtailing artistic creation and freedom of expression.

Official censorship and the subsequent self-censorship of his theatrical work led Melo e Castro to turn to artistic fields less exposed to the regime’s vigilance, such as visual and experimental poetry. He gradually moved towards performance / happenings, distancing himself from the theatre to the point of presenting his theatrical texts under a pseudonym. Through the analysis of his book and with the support of interviews carried out with the author, this paper intends to reflect on how censorship affected a body of work that ended up in the “drawer” for more than fifty years. It also explores the repercussions on the life and artistic trajectory of its author, producing a “dramaturgy of resistance” that can still operate actively in the production of memories and counter-memories in our contemporaneity.