Photo: José Caldeira

Teatro Municipal do Porto spoke with Marco da Silva Ferreira about his piece "CARCAÇA"

How does this idea of ​​“carcass” (=CARCAÇA) arise in the process of creating the piece? Could it be related to an idea of ​​an “object-body” that undergoes mutations and absorbs different layers over time?

“Carcass” was a word that came up in the rehearsals of another process, and I thought it would be a good metaphor, a good adjective for a creation. Above all, because the carcass is the form that remains of a thing that was once alive. Therefore, it has a very direct relationship with the past, very direct with a form from which many inferences can be drawn. When we see the carcass of a dinosaur, we can already imagine what its skin would be. That information may be there or it may just be fictionalised. In this piece, I wanted to work from footwork. And wanted to cross footwork — from clubbing and contemporary street dance — which is very close to me, with the vertical work of the body and what they say is my heritage: European folklore. With this meeting, I try to provoke thought about the construction of a collective identity: “yes, we are this; this represents us; we identify”. CARCASS is the search for this form of things, between the past and the present.

Thinking about the construction of a collective identity, what strength do these group dances have in this dialogue between different generations, between what was left behind and what was recovered?  

The dances we are covering in CARCASS emerged in a social environment. Therefore, they absorb much of what is the socio-economic, political, ethnic context. These dances reflect the actuality of communities: those people, their desires, their fears. Supposedly, folklore also represented this reflection. It was the dances that marked the meeting of people and that emerged from chance, from the common, from being coerced and cohabiting. But, at a certain point, these dances were taken over by an authoritarian government, which began to restrict and repress what could be said, had, worn, sung. So, at a certain point, folklore no longer represented anyone. It just conveyed an idea to the outside of what Portugal would be, what the Trás-os-Montes or Alentejo would be, for example. What happened was a process of cultural crystallisation, which was neither organic nor real, nor built by that community. There was a certain paternalism of someone hierarchically superior who said: “you are this!”. This crystallisation effectively stopped representing those communities. What I seek in this work is to provoke the encounter between these contemporary social dances that build communities, that define groups of people, today, in a certain territory; and that, in fact, create a collective identity. We are all born in a time and a space. We can never separate ourselves from an inheritance, from a burden that comes from the past, which we continue to carry and to have a responsibility for it, for what we want to preserve, for what we want to transform and even forget about. The play is about this collective responsibility. How is the identity of a community constructed? What is it based on? What is the relationship that this community has with its past? How does it relate to your desires for the future? What do you want to forget and what do you want to rebuild? It’s about the power of this group to now make decisions about what they get.

You work with ten interpreters and two musicians from different universes. How do these universes intersect with the presence of folklore?

We worked with a very heterogeneous group, but one that was already known. The interpreters were already familiar with each other. Working together strengthened ties and common points of interest. It is a cast of approximate ages, with a similar sociopolitical context, who have common desires about who we are today: us, Portugal; we Portuguese; we Europeans; about what borders are these that are created or that are blurred. In this, we were all in tune; so it was easy to find that sense of community within this group. As for the musicians, Luís Pestana comes from the field of electronic music and has an incredible album entitled Rosa Panowhich serves as the basis for this work and relies heavily on digital, from a traditional atmosphere. Synthesizers intersect with human voices, and voices intersect with bagpipes and the most traditional Portuguese wind instruments. João Pais Filipe has a percussive quality that is in a perfect triangle between fast rhythms (which are related to trance and techno ), but, at the same time, an instrument that easily enters a lexicon of American post-classical music (such as Steve Reich, for example) and a percussion from the fanfares, from the philharmonic bands that can easily be extracted from the drum kit.