“Once ten people know a poem by heart, there’s nothing the KGB, the CIA or the Gestapo can do about it. It will survive.” – George Steiner
Playwright and actor Tiago Rodrigues is a culture warrior. In By Heart he invites ten random members of the audience to commit a poem to memory. These people have not seen the performance before and they have no idea which text they will learn. Nevertheless, for one night and in front of the audience, they become members of a poetic resistance group, which smuggles words through minds and hearts.
Rodrigues establishes the space of the theatre as the site of such subversive transmission, a place where even forbidden texts can be preserved forever in our minds and hearts. In this space of transmission, he recounts seemingly unrelated stories about writers and literary characters, alongside the story of his own journey with his grandmother – who upon learning that she is losing her eyesight decides to learn an entire book by heart. In a brilliant and moving move, Rodriguez pulls at a thread that stretches from Nobel Laureate Boris Pasternak, to a cook from the north of Portugal, and the Dutch television show Beauty and Consolation – and the mystery behind the chosen poem begins to unravel.
By Heart touches on the importance of transmitting and smuggling the unquantifiable and immeasurable; transmitting or smuggling the culture embodied in words and ideas. This is made possible only by safekeeping texts in memory, guaranteeing the preservation of culture even in the darkest of times. By the end of the show, ten individuals will become a community, each one of them is already a multitude.
Written and performed by Tiago Rodrigues / Text with excerpts and quotes by William Shakespeare, Ray Bradbury, George Steiner, Joseph Brodsky, among others / Set, props and costumes by Magda Bizarro / English translation by Tiago Rodrigues, revised by Joana Frazão / Executive production: Magda Bizarro and Rita Mendes / Production: TMDM II / Co-producers: O Espaço do Tempo, Maria Matos Teatro Municipal
*The performance is in English with Hebrew subtitles< Back to all shows