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“This is a show about borders.
This is a show about borders which become saturated and overflow.
This is a show about borders which became saturated, overflow and enter bodies.
This is a show about bodies. This is a show about bodies heading against the wall.
And then, they die.”
Maria Sequeira Mendes in Pastoral, Book of Texts
Heading Against the Wall, is a theatre piece by Cão Solteiro made in collaboration with the film maker André Godinho and the actor Greg Wohead comprising two different objects – one presented live at the main room in Lux club, in Lisbon; and the other broadcast simultaneously on the internet.
The piece’s structure relies on a series of personal questions, randomly picked by the actors, and answered in real time. The viewer doesn´t hear the questions, only the answers.
Questions and answers diverge in each presentation, as they approach themes such as intimacy and the simultaneously true and false exposure of identity and private space on the internet.
In the live version, three actors roam freely through the space, continuously changing a series of uncomfortable clothes.
On the internet, spectators watch an assemblage of live inserts and pre-recorded images of the actors wandering through the city.
The reading of a report on a scientific study of clothing sweat absorption spans both versions.
Cão Solteiro is a platform of artists creating works of theatre in Lisbon since 1997, directed by actor Paula Sá Nogueira, costume designer Mariana Sá Nogueira, and producer/photographer Joana Dilão. Their creative process relies on the construction of images, and their work often code-switches between different artistic languages and disciplines. They continually question the formal relevance of theatre and test its structural rules, focusing mainly on how communication establishes itself and unfolds in the theatre.
Their tools include the displacement and purposeful misuse of formal elements and of meaning, absurd entrances, errors, and pure lies.
Cão Solteiro creates projects in colaboration with the film maker André Godinho since 2007.
Heading Against The Wall is the first artistic colaboration with the actor Greg Wohead
Creation Cão Solteiro & André Godinho
Scenography Vasco Araújo
Costume Design Mariana Sá Nogueira
Sewing Mestra Teresa Louro, Mestra Rosário Balbi
Sound Design Emídio Buchinho
Light Design Joana Mário
Production Mariana Sá Marques
Stage Manager/Cão Solteiro Noëlle Georg
Production Director and Photography Joana Dilão
Sound Recording Studio Estúdio da Maternidade
Actors Cecília Henriques, Greg Wohead, Paula Sá Nogueira
Voz-Off – António Gouveia
Director and Editor André Godinho
Sound Emídio Buchinho
Sound Recording Studio Estúdios Namouche
Book of Texts Maria Sequeira Mendes, Nuno Fonseca, Pedro Faro
Book of Images Mariana Sá Nogueira
Translations Susana Pomba
Scenography Intern Sara Vicente (Mestrado em Teatro/ Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema)
Theatre Intern Mansy Singh and Sofia Silva (Curso Profissional de Artes do Espectáculo/Escola Básica e Secundária Passos Manuel)
Support São Luiz Teatro Municipal, Teatro Praga and Junta de Freguesia da Misericórdia
Co-Production Cão Solteiro, TBA-Teatro do Bairro Alto, Festival Alkantara 2020
Financial Support República Portuguesa | Cultura, Direcção Geral das Artes and Câmara Municipal de Lisboa
Acknowledgements André e. Teodósio, Bazar do Vídeo, Equipa do LuxFrágil, Filipe Sambado, Joaquim Montes – Estúdios Namouche and Teatro Praga
This was the first in-person show I’ve seen that was not only made during the pandemic but collected and distilled something of what it’s been like these past months. Not that covid is ever mentioned – most of the temporal references are mysteriously to 2008 – but there is a longing for intimacy, a preposterous oversharing that somehow befits these days of Zoom and precarity.
As is often the case in the work of Cão Solteiro, totality is out of reach: at home or in the same space as the performers, you won’t get the whole show, which is unceremoniously decentred (until the very end): performers stand next to distant windows or behind pillars, are filmed with their backs turned to the camera, answer questions we don’t hear. It’s all part of the game.
Cão Solteiro tend do come up with rules that make life difficult for them, but this time the pandemic (gamemaster, game changer, adversary) did that for them. There’s a sense of defiance and one-upmanship in the way they play: as the stories get increasingly surreal and intertwined, as bodies are mangled and split, a special lyricism appears. Perhaps it’s love. Or hope.