The centennial of the birth of Clarice Lispector (1920-77), one of Brazil’s most important literary figures of the 20th century, is being celebrated by Group Dot BR (NYC’s only Brazilian theater company) with the premiere virtual presentation of Inside the Wild Heart. Inspired by her first novel Near to the Wild Heart (1943) and other works by the prize-winning writer, the immersive interactive experience, conceived and adapted for the stage by co-founders Andressa Furletti and Debora Balardini and directed by Linda Wise, takes audiences on a unique personal journey via the latest gather.town software technology to explore the inner world of Lispector, as expressed in her semi-autobiographical Modernist stream-of-consciousness style.
Over the course of two hours, viewers around the world have the opportunity to access eleven different digital paths as they travel remotely through three floors of the 19th-century Aich Studio – a preserved brownstone (built in 1848, and later converted to a foundry) in the heart of Gramercy Park – much like the on-site audiences did during the show’s live in-person performances of 2016 and 2018 (when it was filmed). Online participants can choose their own routes, decide which characters to follow, where to go, and how long to stay in each room. And if there’s any question about what to do, just remember Lispector’s compelling words, “Getting lost is also a way . . . If you were you, how would you be and what would you do?”
Along with offering a personalized go-your-own-way adventure, the creative non-linear show integrates photography, film, music, and performance to serve as an entry point into Lispector’s work (which is still largely unknown in the US), to manifest her deepest feelings, and to encourage audiences to engage with her enigmatic literature on a sensory level. And the performers – Debora Balardini, Mirko Faienza, Patricia Faolli, Andressa Furletti, Fabiana Mattedi, Gio Mielle, Gonçalo Ruivo, Yasmin Santana, Ibsen Santos, and Montserrat Vargas, accompanied by Mario Forte on violin – transport viewers into the depths of the author’s heart and mind by embodying such momentous universal themes as identity, solitude, madness, faith, time, violence, maternity, childhood, and freedom.
Produced by Monica Vilela and Roberta Fernandes, the multi-disciplinary event, which plays a three-week limited engagement online, features a scenic design and art installations by Vargas and Furletti, costumes by Jussara Lee, and lighting by Charlie Jarboe, an original score by Sergio Krakowski, and video design and operations by Paul Leopold. In addition to the performances, there will be a special day-long centennial celebration of “Clarice Day” on December 10 (her actual birthday), which will include a talk-back with the cast, panels, readings, and discussions about the artist, her life, and her work.
Inside the Wild Heart streams Thursdays through Sundays, November 27-December 20, 2020, at Group Dot BR. For tickets, priced at $20-50, go online. On the day of your selected streaming, you will receive an email with a link to join; you must enter your name and email address. You can watch a trailer of the 2018 production here: