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Lyric Hammersmith, London

R&D - 1 Sep 2005

Lyric Hammersmith, London

8 - 26 May 2007

South Hill Park, Bracknell 

29 & 30 May 2007

Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells

30 May & 1 June 2007

Supported by Arts Council England, Lyric Hammersmith, Brazilian Embassy in London, Parasol, Barraco, Casa Brasil, Banco do Brasil, Evidence and Jungle Drums.

"At the heart of this tale is a love affair whose radical innocence is touching." - Time Out

Dende Collective is proud to be bringing the work of Newton Moreno to the UK. He has already produced a significant body of work for someone so young. In Brazil Agreste brought him both critical and public recognition as one of the most versatile and interesting voices to have emerged in Brazilian theatre in recent years. A short play that mixes poetry, epic language and dialogue. We see it as Brazilian Noh play - as with this Japanese style of theatre it is at once complex and brutal in its apparent simplicity.

Dende created an intimate tale of mystery, prejudice and enduring love blending physical performance, masks, poetry and live music.

The Story

Deep in the drylands of the Brazilian outback, a woman comes to understand the powerful and dangerous forces that can be unleashed in others for the simple love she has for her husband. They lived together for twenty-two years. One day he dies. During the rituals to clean the body and dress it for the burial, the neighbours discover that the husband was… a woman! Even the wife was ignorant of this fact and the community deals badly with the news: the woman and her dead partner are burned in their home. 

The Agreste region and Theatre

The Brazilian Agreste region refers to a large area of Brazil that doesn’t get a lot of publicity abroad. It refers to the semi-arid region in the northeast and comprises 7 Brazilian states. Temperatures remain extremely hot throughout the year. Rainfall is extremely erratic, leading to catastrophic drought causing extreme famines exacerbated by the extreme imbalance of land ownership. Its distinctive vegetation consists of low thorny bushes. History and modernity have had little affect on this part of Brazil. Survival amongst hostile conditions has eaten up the vital force of the local population.

There is a tradition of basing plays in this region. It is the ideal setting to deal with universal human conflicts due to the immobility of a social structure that is ruled by archaic notions of honour. Poverty and ignorance can bring out the worst of human beings. Amid these conditions, intolerance can reign. 

Newton Moreno - The Author

Has been considered the strongest voice to emerge in Brazilian playwriting in recent years. In 2004, he won a series of Brazil´s most respected prizes for playwriting. The Royal Court brought Moreno to participate in its international residency in 2005. Originally from the North Eastern city of Recife, Moreno now lives and works in São Paulo, where he is fast becoming renowned as a contemporary writer and a director.


Cast and Creative Team

Written by Newton Moreno

Directed by André Pink

Translated by Mark O'Thomas

Musical direction by Gui Tavares

Movement Direction by João André Rocha

Assistant Director Ben Henson

Set and costume design by Michael Fowkes

Lighting by George Ogilvie

Production Manager Chris Hill

Live music by Gui Tavares and Dave Yowel


Performers - Lyric Hammersmith R&D 2005: Miguel Antunes, Tereza Araujo, Montserrat Gili and Mark Reid

Performeres - London and SouthEast England Tour 2007: Tereza AraujoRrenford FaganMontserrat Gili and Chand Martinez



"The production, directed by Andre Pink, is full of charm. It's elegantly lit (by George Ogilvie) and designed (by Michael Fawkes) on a circle of parched earth. There's also seductive live guitar music by Gui Tavares and Dave Yowel... At the heart of this tale is a love affair whose radical innocence is touching." 

Brian Logan - Time Out