S.A. Marionetas (Pt)

“Dom Roberto”

Traditional Portuguese Puppet Theater Teatro

Dom Roberto is surely one of the oldest traditions of performing arts, not only in its Portuguese and European dimension, but also the popular heroes of the east. In fact, the origin of this popular art form of representation goes back, in the “Italian” tradition of Commedia dell Arte of the sixteenth century and does not seem unlikely that the Eastern traditions have had, in some way, influence the evolution of this traditional type of representation .

It is during the following century that the deambulation of artists, mainly French and Italian, provides a miscegenation on this kind of theatre, and its evolution closely related to the cultural specificities of each country. In any case, constant traces cross all European traditions of folk heroes: the subversive / burlesque nature of texts and representations, the use of swazzles that emit shrill sounds (ideal for simultaneously capturing the attention of the public and to enhance the management synchronization / sound, so important in creating an appearance of “life” in small glove puppets) and, finally, the invincibility of heroes, able to win the worst enemy – death. However, interest to highlight the peculiarity of the Portuguese branch, since all the characters involved having “swazzle voice”. InPortugal, the popular hero arrives to our days with the name of Dom Roberto, though over time wereseveral the designations for this glove puppet theatre. The prevalence of this name is, by chance,connected to a string comedy with great impact at the time entitled “Robert the Devil” or a well knownpuppet theatre businessman, Roberto Xavier de Matos. However, despite the Roberto’s theatre have met a considerable success until, roughly, to the sixties of the twentieth century, not only through the pavilions incorporating fairs and festivals as well as the beaches and cities, survives today thanks the testimonies that have reached us in a fragmentary and even controversially left by the master puppeteers Domingos Bastos Moura and António Dias and the owner of one of the famous pavilions (Mexican Pavilion), Manuel Rosado.

S.A.Marionetas, having had the privilege of contact with the Master António Dias, one of the lastPortuguese popular puppeteers recreated, from his testimony, tree plays – “The Barber”, “The Bullfight”and “The Ghosts Castle”.

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