A variety show or a musical are examples of artistic forms that have had a strong impact on western culture’s collective imagination. They are usually put under the category of “entertainment”, due to a certain cultural but also political heritage which reflects an ideological structuring of the occupation and division of time (the time for entertainment/the time for work; the time for pleasure/the time for duty). Entertainment, according to this point of view, is the “good” part of the equation, a happiness pill that we can take in order to lessen the obligations and burdens of life.
This project started about 4 years ago when I was invited to do a project in England, where showbiz and entertainment culture are profoundly rooted in the artistic identity of the country. At this time, we in Portugal, were at the peak of the financial crisis that had fallen upon us. It was a difficult moment and it was necessary to find a way out. The illusion machine that entertainment creates, I felt was the perfect motif to question the paradox of the world that we live in; the assumption of a difficult reality and the idealisation of a better world. The commercial exploitation of our happiness and sadness.
In the initial research, I discovered a song called “Happy Days Are Here Again” which in some ways, became the backdrop of our work. The song was written in 1929 by Milton Ager and was featured in Charles Reisner’s 1930’s movie “Chasing Rainbows”. The film was set during the Great Depression in America, and it became a symbol of hope; that despite everything, hope was needed to believe that something else was still possible. Then, as now.
Collaboration (Scenic Space and Costumes)
Premiere 22 - 25 November, Maria Matos Teatro Municipal, Lisbon/Portugal
Happy piece by Miguel Pereira
Teatro do Bolhão, Porto, Portugal
co-production Maria Matos Teatro Municipal and Teatro Municipal do Porto / Festival DDD – Dias da Dança
in the framework of the DDD festival - Dias da Dança