Small stations are arranged around the room where the participants will be seated, each with its transparent partition – a requirement of the time. The principle is simple and based on the principle of optimizing possibilities. The promise is implicit in the title of the show which opens this Friday at the Oficina Municipal do Teatro (OMT), in Coimbra: Speed Date, a joint creation by Alex Cassal, Keli Freitas, Márcia Lança and Renato Linhares.
In an hour, there are quick meetings between interpreters and participants. There are five minutes of interaction at the end of which resonates a song – chosen from a wide spectrum that can go from Chavela Vargas to Alanis Morissette – which marks the end of one meeting and the beginning of another. As in life, Speed Date “has everything to go well and has everything to go very badly”, explains Keli Freitas. As in life, interactions can oscillate between poetry and casualness, intimacy and embarrassment. The idea of ”maximizing the possibility of finding the love of your life overnight” is “amazing and hilarious,” says Keli Freitas. At the same time as it opens up possibilities, it also corresponds to a principle of efficiency adapted to human relations.
Director Alex Cassal, whose idea came up, was interested in working on the relationship between performer and viewer and how one can be affected by the other, he tells P expliqueBLICO . The chosen structure turned out to be the Speed Date, a format he had read and found to be curious about. “And the performing arts field asks a lot of that question, of how to find the other,” he says, from the work that developed over two weeks as part of the Linha de Fuga festival and laboratory.
There are five minutes of interaction at the end of which it sounds a song
The Speed Date creation workshop had 13 performers who also end up being the creators of the show, says Márcia Lança. They are the ones who will participate in the meetings and it is they who establish the conditions in which they will take place, leaving room for improvisation or the preparation of a device. “We’re more speed date trainers than playwrights,” says Cassal.
“Originally, [o encontro] it could have a touch, it could end in a kiss, it could have a number of things that he obviously can’t now.
Alex Cassal, director
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The idea came before the pandemic. “Originally, [o encontro] it could have a touch, it could end with a kiss, it could have a number of things that now, obviously, he can’t. The spectator cannot browse the films that will be between people and cannot remove the mask, ”describes Alex Cassal. All obstacles to the creation of privacy, if such a phenomenon is possible to occur in five minutes. Márcia Lança recalls that science says yes, but studies have not yet taken into account all these barriers that make expressions less readable.
Speed Date, which is based on a format whose origins date back to the 1990s, is a play “that oscillates between fiction and reality” and the creators play “with the possibility that this is true”, explains Renato Linhares. The final answer will depend on the experience of each viewer.
After Coimbra, the show should go to Viseu, at the Teatro Viriato, at the end of 2021. This year’s edition of Linha de Fuga, a project organized by Catarina Saraiva combines artistic creation laboratories with presentations to the public and tells, this year, with 28 artists from different countries, offers two other shows: Captured by Intuition, a dance solo by Tânia Carvalho which will be presented at the Teatro Académico Gil Vicente on October 3 and Esplendor e Dismorfia, by Vera Mantero and Jonathan Uliel Saldanha, who takes the stage at the OMT on October 29.