Teatro da Vertigem
The pedestrian underpass of Rua Xavier de Toledo had been closed for more than fifteen years when Teatro da Vertigem first staged, in 2008, A última palavra é a penúltima [The Last Word Is the Penultimate One]: an intervention based on Gilles Deleuze’s text The Exhausted. The underpass, located at the centre of São Paulo and connecting the Viaduto do Chá with the Praça Ramos de Azevedo, used to house multiple small shops, all offering their goods to paulistas and visitors. By 2008, the shops were fronted by empty windows for non-existent passers-by: time capsules through which the effects of ruthless urban developments led by social inequality and class interests could be immediately felt.
In their revision of the piece for the 31st Bienal, six years later, Teatro da Vertigem shows how little has changed and, at the same time, how new factors and forces may suggest a different future. In their interaction with the publics for which the underpass will again be accessible, the actors and video screens installed in the former shop windows aim to make visible what the city tries to hide, what it no longer wants to see: living conditions, the exhaustion that results from the hard labour which some of the city’s inhabitants engage in, as well as the individuals themselves who occupy its spaces.
Such a presentation of A última palavra é a penúltima allows us to reconsider these conditions at a time when the redistribution of visibility and social relations is taking place in the city of São Paulo and throughout Brazil, as an effect of contemporary strategies of social organisation, which perfectly echo Teatro da Vertigem’s collective and localised approach to writing, producing and performing. – PL