By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A stage adaptation of Mozambican writer Mia Couto’s acclaimed novel “Terra Sonâmbula” (Sleepwalking Earth), which is touring Brazil for the first time, will show every evening this weekend at Teatro Cacilda Becker. Performances will start at 7PM from tonight, Friday, January 13th and the final performance will take place on Sunday, January 15th.
The play was adapted for the stage with the help of Mia Couto himself, after he met with playwright Nuno Pino Custódio and actress Rosinda Costa met with in Maputo, Mozambique.
The play and the book tell two parallel tales: young boy Muidinga and elderly man Tuahir’s attempt to escape from Mozambique’s civil war, and the story of Kindzu, a traditional warrior killed in the fight against the conflict’s warlords.
Performed by Portuguese theatre company Estação Teatral da Beira Interior (ESTE) and starring actress Costa, the play’s narrative expresses the story through physical movements and gestures accompanied by percussion throughout.
“Paraphrasing the opening words of this surprising and magical narrative of Mia Couto, old and new go just hand in hand, in place where the war had died to the road, go wobbling, as if walking was his only service,” said Custódio, ESTE’s artistic director.
Custódio believes that unlike traditional theatre, physical theatre can offer adaptations that allow audiences to challenge established interpretations and assumptions they hold to be true. “I speak of a ‘Sleepwalking Earth’ that we all recognize as a space inhabited by eyes that do not see and hearts that do not feel,” he continued.
The original novel was published in 1992 and was later named one of the twelve best African books of the twentieth century by an international jury at the Zimbabwe Book Fair.
Heavily influenced by Latin American magical realism, as well as Brazilian literary influences such as Jorge Amado and João Guimarães Rosa, Couto became the first African to be awarded the prestigious Latin Union Prize in 2007. He later won the Camões Prize in 2013 and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 2014.
Tickets for this weekend’s performances can be obtained in person at Teatro Cacilda Becker, or by calling (21) 2265-9933. After this weekend in Rio, “Terra Sonâmbula” will continue its tour of Brazil with three nights of performances in Belém at the end of January.
What: “Terra Sonâmbula”, by Estação Teatral da Beira Interior
When: 7PM, on Friday, January 13th, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th
Where: Teatro Cacilda Becker, Rua do Catete, 338 – Catete