"Athwart your heart a ship passed
And still follows its course without you." (dérive XIV)
translated by Ruth Fainlight
To Lisbon and "its secret glitter of something theatrical"(Lisboa).
There is a seawall in which a piano is embedded, a ship that will carry on its journey and that has The Pianist for a captain. There is a pavement made out of these little black and white cobblestones you can find in Lisbon's streets, here and there covered with sand. There is a sky, a call from the sea, the fog on the Tagus River behind the tulle, the morning freshness, the threat of a storm, a rainbow range. In the seawall, there is a pathway which She, He and The Opera Singer will cross on their turn in the assertion of their journey. She calls for travelling, The Pianist answers and takes the call further, so does She, thus making her inspiration evolve. He, her twin "in poetry",embarks with Her, but their paths will diverge during the journey. The Opera Singer, like a siren, calls upon the passengers to go "beyond", being the Pianist's accomplice in terms of expression, of music and of navigation. The captain's familiarity with potential pathway hiccups, sirens included… This game of echoes, this stimulation, this challenge, create, like the movement of a wave, the dynamic of relations between the characters.
A work on poetry has many correspondences with tragedy. At the level of stage directing and actors coaching, I rediscovered the outlines of my work on Racine's Andromache: the fluidity, the energy concentration, the gazing strategy.
And then there was the encounter with the author and her work…
The music: after working with Dominique Probst on several occasions, I wanted to come up with a show in which music would have the leading part. So Navigations was conceived from the very beginning, for an actress, an actor, an opera-singer and a pianist. According to our way, I offered to work using a precise framework about the situations and characters. Then the composer let his inspiration run free.
Two themes with variations have been defined: the journey and the leit motif,the Sebastianism' theme: Difficult to face your death head-on / And never expect you again in the mirrors of fog (The islands VII). Two levels of musical composition too: piano pieces, songs "a cappella" or with piano accompaniment from a selection of poems from Navigations. The text: construction of adramatic structure in 5 parts and 43 sequences from the poems in the collection Navigations, from fragments the author' texts on the Discoveries (interviews, articles, unpublished notes written especially for the show) and excerpts from The letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha (16 century, translated by Andree Crabée Torga). This letter has been sent to the king of Portugal Manuel I to tell him the discovery' story of unknown lands and men. The shock of beauty facing the brutal and insidious reality. Anne Petit
Sophia de Mello Breyner (1919-2004) was born in Porto, she lived in Lisbon. She published her first collection of poems in the early forties and then collaborated with various reviews. She presides twice the General Assembly of the Portuguese Society of Authors. Before the revolution of April 25, 1974, she participates in the foundation of the National Rescue Committee of Political Prisoners. In 1975, she is elected socialist representative to the Assembly of the Republic. Author of poetry, tales, short stories, essays, her work is based on the most ancient myths of the Mediterranean world. "The tragedy, she liked to say, can only be a cry thrown in the violence of the midday sun." She who knew so well how to say her own poems, wrote several crystal clear and accurate stories that have become part of the classics of children's literature. Very famous in her country, her work has won numerous awards including the prestigious Prix Camoes in 1999, the Price Max Jacob abroad in 2001... Navigations was published in a trilingual edition in Portugal Impresa National-Casa da Moeda, Lisboa and in France by Editions of the Difference, translated by Joaquim Vital.
Direction and montage by Anne Petit, translated by Joaquim Vital reviewed by Anne Petit, assistant Bruno Lenoir, music by Dominique Probst, design and lighting Jean Grison, costumes Mine Barral Vergez.
With : PascalinePointillard (Elle), Régis Le Rohellec (Lui), Asayo Otsuka, soprano (La Chanteuse), Rafael Hime (Le Pianiste) and the voice of Sophia de Mello Breyner recorded in Studio Girardon, Paris.
A co-production TAT - National Commission for the Commemoration of the Portuguese Discoveries, with the participation of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Oriente Foundation, the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France in Lisbon, Institut Franco-Portuguese Lisbon, Teatro da Trindade-Inatel and Radio Renascença.
First produced on June 25, 1992 at Trindade Theatre in Lisbon.