Brazilian Play ‘Apatridas’ Opens 14th International Theatre Festival of Kerala with a Call for Dialogue

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Thrissur: The 14th edition of the International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK) commenced on Friday with the opening play, ‘Apatridas,’ directed by Lenerson Polinini from Brazil. The production explores themes of wars, conflicts, and migration, encouraging dialogue on identity and non-belonging in a world grappling with global crises.

Lenerson Polinini, the director of ‘Apatridas,’ expressed the play’s mission of finding the key to open minds for meaningful dialogues amid a backdrop of wars, conflicts, and migration. The 55-minute play, presented in Portuguese, delves into the experiences of individuals fleeing violence and persecution, only to find themselves trapped in refugee camps or undertaking perilous journeys across borders in search of safety.

“It’s not about who is right or who is wrong. It’s about how we can fix the problem and create an environment of peace. Unfortunately, humanity is not interested in dialogue. But dialogue is very important to understand the problems and find a solution,” remarked Polinini, who founded the theatre company Companhia Nova De Teatro in 2001.

Inspired by characters from Greek mythology, including Kassandra, Hecuba, Prometheus, and Hercules, ‘Apatridas’ focuses on human crises, migratory flows, the plight of refugees, and the devastation of native territories in the Amazon. The characters in the play explore the complex relationships between power, disagreement, resentment, and injustice, ultimately leading to revenge and brutal violence.

Polinini emphasized that the play reflects timeless issues faced by humanity, whether in Greek mythology or the contemporary world. The turbulence of war, conflicts, and the yearning of migrants for a place to belong repeats throughout history. In ‘Apatridas,’ he envisions characters like Prometheus and Hercules as Africans and Kassandra as a Brazilian girl, symbolizing the fight against exploitation of lands in the Amazon.

Speaking about language barriers in theatre, Polinini stated that language is not a hindrance as theatre communicates universally. ‘Apatridas’ is an experimental theatre production where video, sound, and light work together to create a unique landscape, allowing the audience to interpret and express their own emotions.

The play, performed since 2021, has already been showcased at international festivals in Tehran, Baghdad, and Italy. Lenerson Polinini shed light on Brazil’s vibrant theatre culture, noting that there are over 2000 theatre groups in the country, with many of them exploring experimental and innovative forms of expression. The International Theatre Festival of Kerala will continue to feature diverse performances and discussions, contributing to a global dialogue on shared challenges throughout its eight-day duration.

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