The wind rocks the actress’ costume, which incorporates movement into action; a helicopter flies over the stage at the time of the song, forcing the actor to strengthen his voice; a slight sensation of coldness is felt by the audience, already well wrapped up – external factors that would never mark the performance of a play in a closed theater will be constant throughout the season of Evita Open Air, a musical whose the first will take place on Thursday 7, in a specially designed exterior in the Villa-Lobos park.
With 8,500 m², the structure houses accommodation capable of accommodating up to 1,600 spectators per session, a stage that is almost four times the size of a conventional space and a catering area with various food and drinks, including Argentinian cuisine. “When we did the first session for the guests, I was surprised to see the audience practically empty, a few minutes before the start of the show – in fact, people were in the leisure area”, laughs the Canadian John Stefaniuk, responsible for the artistic direction of the musical.
His challenge was daunting, as there are few references of this type of assembly in the world – the closest was also from Evita and took place in 2019, in Regent’s Park, London. “I tried to create something more contemporary and intimate, despite the large space”, explains the man who worked with a set four levels high, allowing greater movement of the actors. This translates into a fair occupation of space, the cast presenting the elegant choreography created by Floriano Nogueira, careful not to leave unoccupied spaces.
Produced by Atelier de Cultura, Evita Open Air offers the new version of the rock opera by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, created in London in 1978 and quickly becoming a classic. The outdoor montage uses new musical arrangements composed by David Cullen and Lloyd Webber in 2014. “It made the piece feel more nimble and realistic on such a current figure,” notes Stefaniuk.
Indeed, the trajectory of Maria Eva Duarte Perón (1919-1952) was short, but dazzling: from an actress in a radio soap opera, she became a political leader and first lady of Argentina, weaving a chrysalis of beauty, which transformed her into the queen of the people. To the rich and powerful, this little brunette was nothing more than a second-rate actress, full of teeth and social climber; for the poor and shirtless, however, the woman, now blonde, was a true diva for knowing how to touch people’s most painful feelings.
Saint or opportunist, the fact is that Evita has become a myth. “A charismatic woman, who asks for an actress at the height – and here is Mira Ruiz”, melts the director. In fact, one of the main interpreters of the Brazilian musical, Mira dominates the three qualities required by the role: dancing, singing and acting. In addition, a good dose of emotion. “Without judging her, I try to humanize Evita, a woman who fought for her desires, which makes her even more current,” she says.
The rise of Evita is supported by Juan Domingos Perón, who knew how to use this novel as a political strategy in the midst of the mistrust of the rich and the military. Does that make him an antagonist in the play? “I don’t believe it, because Evita helped Perón reveal his imperfections, which humanizes the character,” said Cleto Baccic, the politician’s interpreter. “Before he met her, Perón was already dealing with power – Evita brought him even more fuel to the presidency.”
The trio of protagonists is completed by the guerrilla figure Che Guevara, who has the relevant role of narrator of the story, remotely following the entire route of Evita’s trajectory until she becomes Perón. “I seek to understand the ideology of the character, who is a competitor in the plot, to find the way of interpretation”, explains Fernando Marianno.
He moves both on stage and in the audience, directing the audience’s attention, allowing them to live unprecedented experiences. “After a rehearsal, I noticed that my pants were wet: it was the humidity of the serene atmosphere that took over the stage”, he recalls. Baccic also collects stories. “The sounds of planes and helicopters, as well as the birds in the park, come as an unexpected soundtrack,” he says. But there is also room for poetry: “It’s exciting to look up and see the sunset behind the audience in the afternoon, or the starry sky in the evening”.
Avoid the outdoors.
Why Villa-Lobos (Cândido Portinari gate). 5th and 6th, 8 p.m. Sat. and Sun., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. BRL50 / BRL300.
The information comes from the newspaper. State of Sao Paulo.
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