Teatro Nacional São João (Portugal)
Georg Büchner: DANTON'S DEATH

Saturday, November 23, Main Hall

Portuguese translation by: Francisco Luís Parreira
2h 45' with intermission
Lacroix / Soldier / Citizen / Deputy of the National Convention: Afonso Santos 
Danton: Albano Jerónimo 
Hérault-Séchelles / Young Gentleman / Citizen / Deputy of the National Convention:
António Afonso Parra 
Lucile, Simon’s wife / Adelaide / Thomas Payne / Woman / Member of the Committee of Public Safety / Deputy of the National Convention: Joana Carvalho 
Camille Desmoulins / Deputy from Lyon / Citizen / Deputy of the National Convention: João Melo 
Julie / Deputy from Lyon / Eugénie / Billaud-Varennes / Woman / Deputy of the National Convention: Mafalda Lencastre 
Lady at card table / Rosalie / Barère / Woman / Citizen / Deputy of the National Convention: Margarida Carvalho 
Marion / Balladeer / Laflotte / Woman / Deputy of the National Convention: Maria Leite 
Philippeau / Legendre / Dillon / Gentleman: Mário Santos 
Robespierre / Madame / Mercier / Jailer: Nuno Nunes 
Simon / Hermann / Deputy of the National Convention: Paulo Calatré 
Saint-Just / Citizen, Gentleman / Driver: Rodrigo Santos 
Paris / Collot d’Herbois / Citizen / Young Gentleman: Sérgio Sá Cunha

Directed by NUNO CARDOSO 

Set designer: F. Ribeiro
Costume design: Nelson Vieira
Dramaturgy: Ricardo Braun
Director's assistant: Nuno M. Cardoso
Light design: José Álvaro Correia 
Sound design: João Oliveira
Video: Fernando Costa
Voice and elocution: Carlos Meireles
Stage movement: Elisabete Magalhães
General production: Maria João Teixeira
Executive production: Alexandra Novo, Mónica Rocha
Technical direction: Emanuel Pina

"Will this clock never stop?", Danton asks, as time speeds up and history appears to violently begin anew. Such is the primary meaning of "revolution": to face the challenges of beginning. Danton's Death (1835) plunges us into the poetic and bloody chaos of the French Revolution, while being a revolutionary play itself. Georg Büchner operates a ferocious fragmentation of traditional theatrical form, mixing scenes of greatly varying length and tone, short and long, frantic and meditative, into a clashing narrative flux that anticipates cinematic montage. With it, Nuno Cardoso inaugurates a new season, his first as artistic director of the Teatro Nacional São João (TNSJ).
Through it, he looks at a social body in permanent convulsion and decomposition, an orgy of human flesh. But the Paris streets of 1789 are the same through which the Yellow Vests' rebellion runs now. Streets that flow into the Mediterranean or the Rio Grande, into the return of walls, the power of hatred, the rise of populism. "Such evil times are these. Who can escape them?" Danton's Death has always confronted us with difficult, frightening questions. "How long will humankind continue to devour their own body?" "Will this clock never stop?"

"We are all angels and scoundrels, geniuses and fools."
"End of June. Teatro Nacional São João. The big reunion. I hold a bunch of A4 sheets with the new translation of Danton's Death by Francisco Luís Parreira. Ready to be worked on, crossed out, underlined. Aimed at the bodies of thirteen actors. Indeed, they could not be neither more nor less. This story came from long ago, and I'm a superstitious man.Since day one, the doubts were numerous. The play is mutable, variable. From one period to another. From one mindset to another. From youth to middle age. A lot of questions.What was – what is – the word "Revolution"? Where does theatre end and politics begin? Are they the same? Pleasure or duty? Terror or mercy? Should we take a side? Is there even a side to be taken? Reason or randomness? Citizens, what do we want, after all? As rehearsals continued, other questions arose, simpler but not at all easier. How can we maintain a 40-character narrative with only 13 faces? Slaughterhouse, sewer or dam? Fan, blade, guillotine? How do we make these words strike a chord with an audience that no longer remembers our own Carnation Revolution? Overcoats or t-shirts? The questions persisted until now, the opening night. An effort without answers or a treasure map to Danton's Death. A long-time companion, still today more deeply felt than understood, more expelled than constructed with these thirteen voices, the visible movement of a much greater collective voice, that sets out from Praça da Batalha, occupies Teatro Carlos Alberto, invades the São Bento da Vitoria Monastery and spells out Teatro Nacional São João. At the end, a single certainty: doing theatre is a collective insurrection, a longing for a Revolution, for a City. At the end, a possible ascertainment: a Revolution doesn't fail, nor does it succeed. It creates CHANGE."

Nuno Cardoso