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  • Foto do escritorJornal O Cola

Play: O Filho

By Bruna Luz and Carolina Franco
Translated by Sara Fernandes

On the 11th of April, the newspaper O Cola was invited to attend an open rehearsal of the play O Filho, by Florian Zeller.

This play is a version by Vera San Payo de Lemos, who is also the playwriter, and João Lourenço. The members of the cast are Cleia Almeida (the mother), Paulo Oom (the psychiatrist), Paulo Pires (the father), Pedro Rovisco (the nurse), Sara Matos (the stepmother) and Rui Pedro Silva (the son).

Florian Zeller is also the writer of A Mãe and O Pai, and both works have been adapted to theatre. The three plays may seem to be part of a trilogy, but that is not the case. Although the stories are not connected, each play portrays a disorder that affects society. A Mãe portrays depression, O Pai portrays dementia and O Filho portrays suicidal ideation.

Nicolau is a young teenager and comes from a broken family: his parents slip up and his father started a new family with another woman. This is a reality for many young people nowadays. The protagonist lives with his mother and, without knowing how to deal with the anguish and the emotions he is feeling, starts to skip school and socially isolate himself. His parents, disturbed by this, think that the solution is for him to changes houses, so he stars to life with his father, his stepmother, and his new baby brother. However, this option is far from being the solution for Nicolau’s existential problems. After not seeing positive results, the parents seek medical help and choose to take him to a psychiatry clinic. Will they be able to help him? Will Nicolau be able to overcome his depression and the deep bitterness he feels but is not able to express?

In this play, unlike most, we do not have access to the mind of the protagonist. In fact, from beginning to end, we are as confused as the people around Nicolau, who do not know what to do when faced with this situation.

Despite the sensitivity of the topic, the chain of events is well balanced, switching between deep scenes of anguish and light scenes of relaxation, which gives the audience time to take a breath. There is a balance of extreme importance, in which the two types of scenes do not neutralise each other but instead complement each other, showing that, even on the worst of times, not everything is completely terrible.

At the end of the rehearsal, O Cola had the chance to speak with João Lourenço and Vera San Payo de Lemos, who explained that it was the third time they adapted one of Zeller’s works into a play. Although it is an adaptation, every intention that the author had shine through, to represent the inner suffering of a young teenager. Due to the emotional weight of the play, the rehearsals were intertwined with moments of relaxation between scenes, where artists did activities to unwind, having invited the choreographer Cifrão.

The play has approximately 110 minutes and will be in season from the 20th of April to the 18th of June of 2023, at Sala Azul of Teatro Aberto (Rua Armando Cortez, 1050-017 Lisboa). The tickets can be purchased online, BOL – Bilheteira Online or at Bilheteira do Teatro Aberto. Young people (until 25 years old) and senior citizens can enjoy a discount.

For more information here.

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