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What if Macbeth ruled modern-day Brazil? After her impressive Chekhov adaptation What if they went to Moscow? at last year’s festival, Christiane Jatahy returns to Amsterdam with The Walking Forest. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth, she explores the impact of our greedy political and economic power systems on ordinary people. The audience is free to roam around this video and theatre installation screening various documentaries recounting the stories of young Brazilians who were crushed by the system. At the same time, a group of actors record a film – a modernised Macbeth. Breaking down the boundaries between fact and fiction, and between theatre and film, Jatahy brings the tragedy of everyday life to the surface.
Brazilian theatre and filmmaker Christiane Jatahy based her latest show, The Walking Forest (‘A Floresta que anda’), a live cinema and theatre presentation, on Shakespeare's Macbeth. Once again, actress Julia Bernat will play an important role in this performance. As in last year’s two-parter What if they went to Moscow?, Jahaty offers up a mix of live cinema, theatre and documentary.
Jatahy aims to break the constraints imposed by the theatre using a very versatile tool: the camera. Intercutting documentary footage and live video of the actors on stage with the live performance itself, she smashes the unity of time, place and action. Never before in the theatre did anyone switch between moods, scenes, times, spaces and places with such natural ease.
What if they went to Moscow? was Jatahy's contemporary Brazilian interpretation of Chekhov's Three Sisters. The three lead actresses presented an intuitive, modern take on the lives of the three sisters, on stage and on camera. Half the audience watched the performance on stage followed by a second version of the story in another room on a video screen, while the other half watched the video first and the performance next. Jatahy's version was only loosely based on Chekhov's text; she mainly used it as an inspiration to translate Chekhov's 19th-century issues and questions to 21st-century Brazil, in the same way that she transposed Stindberg's Miss Julie to her JULIA in 2011. This adaptation marked her international breakthrough, bringing her several theatre awards and nominations.
In 2012, Jatahy led the Rio Occupation London project, a residency of thirty artists from various disciplines creating new work at the London 2012 Cultural Olympics. As part of this project, Jatahy devised In the Comfort of your Home, which allowed British people to offer their homes to participating artists. The resulting performances were filmed and screened at the Rio Occupation London Festival Finale.
In her new show The Walking Forest, Jatahy explores Shakespeare's Macbeth. Again, she tries to find out what a classic story can contribute to fathoming the problems in our modern world. Macbeth is a story of power and what the lust for power does to us. Returning from the battlefield, the brave general Macbeth encounters three witches who prophesy that he will one day be King of Scotland. From that moment on, Macbeth is consumed with ambition. For the past four hundred years, Macbeth's theme of power has remained an inextricable part of our notion of humanity; from the ways we organise ourselves politically, either in democracies or dictatorships, to the ways we relate to our families, our friends and our lovers. Jatahy interviewed many people about these issues and weaved these recordings into her performance. The audience is challenged to actively reflect on these issues. Where Shakespeare explored power through the character of Macbeth, The Walking Forest pushes its audience in the role of the ruler, confronting them directly with their responsibilities.
Christiane Jatahy (Rio de Janeiro, 1968) is an author, filmmaker and theatre director. From 2000 she has been experimenting with new theatrical forms in her work, combining the various possibilities of film and theatre. In her trilogy Uma cadeira para solidão, duaspara o dialogo e trêspara a sociedade (One chair for loneliness, two for dialogue and three for society) she explored the boundaries between reality and fiction, actor and character, theatre and film.
The first part, Conjugado (2004), is a mix of documentary and performance; the second part, A Falta Que Nos Move ou Todas as histórias são ficção (2005), was filmed by Jatahy in thirteen uninterrupted shots of one hour each; part three, Corte Seco (2009), played with live edited footage from security cameras around the theatre. In 2011, Jatahy integrated all the possibilities of film, camera, sound recording and theatre in her piece JULIA (2011), a theatrical and filmic version of August Strindberg's play Miss Julie. The production toured Brazil as well as many European festivals. In 2014, her next production What if they went to Moscow? premiered, an adaptation of Chekhov's Three Sisters. This performance further extended and enhanced her explorations in combining film and theatre.
Julia Bernat was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1990 to singer/actress Soraya Ravenle and actor/director Isaac Bernat. She took to the stage aged four, and has performed in her dad's plays. Bernat graduated in theatre studies at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. In 2009, she made her television debut in a Brazilian teen series and went on to perform in various films, including Bruno Viana's Hangover, Marcelo Taranto's Match Point and Rodrigo Alvarado's The Farewell. She sang in Brazilian productions of the musicals The Sound of Music (2008), Spring Awakening (2009) and Fiddler on the Roof (2011), all three directed by Charles Moeller and Claudio Botelho. In 2011, she performed in Christine Jatahy's JULIA, which won the 2011 Shell Theatre Award and landed Bernat a nomination for best actress. In Jatahy's What if the went to Moscow?, she played the youngest of the three sisters. In Jatahy’s The Walking Forest, Bernat is the only professional actress.
- inspired by
- Macbeth, William Shakespeare
- Julia Bernat
- creation, live direction
- Christiane Jatahy
- director of photography, light, live camera
- Paulo Camacho
- concept set
- Christiane Jatahy, Marcelo Lipiani
- art direction, set
- Marcelo Lipiani
- sound, music
- Estevão Case
- artistic collaboration
- Julia Bernat, Fernanda Bond, Isabel Teixeira, Stella Rabello, Henrique Mariano
- Fause Haten
- video system
- Julio Parente
- assistant director, artistic dialogue
- Fernanda Bond
- lightning assistant
- Leandro Barreto
- stage manager
- Diogo Magalhães
- stage assistant
- Thiago Katona
- video operator
- Felipe Norkus
- sound operator
- Francisco Slade
- production director, tour manager
- Henrique Mariano
- local stage, translator assistant
- Juliana Neves
- Cia Vértice de Teatro
- Le Centquatre - Paris/, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm - Frankfurt am Main, Tempo_Festival Rio de Janeiro, SESC São Paulo
- Cia Vértice de Teatro is sponsored by Petrobras