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How far can art go? How far does it have to go? Performance artist Pippa Bacca set out in a wedding gown to hitchhike from Milan to Jerusalem in 2008 in order to take a stand for peace and trust among people. Along the way, she was raped and murdered. The first part of The Bride and Goodnight Cinderella focusses on Bacca and other female artists who have used their own bodies as a means of protest and a target. Brazilian theatre maker Carolina Bianchi reports these women’s stories on stage while knockout drops that she has taken – in Brazil, they are known as ‘Goodnight Cinderella’ – are taking their effect. Bianchi loses consciousness and the eight performers of her collective Cara de Cavalo take over. Vulnerable and defenceless, she is utterly exposed to them. Bianchi deploys her own body in a performance that has triggered debate around the globe.

Joëlle Gayot, Le Monde

18 / 19 / 20 May, 8pm

Halle G im MuseumsQuartier


German and English surtitles

2 hrs 30 min

Concept, Text, Dramaturgy, Direction Carolina Bianchi With Alitta, Carolina Bianchi, Chico Lima, Fernanda Libman, Joana Ferraz, José Artur, Larissa Ballarotti, Marina Matheus, Rafael Limongelli Dramaturgy, Research Carolina Mendonça Production direction, Tour managemen t Carla Estefan Production assistance, Stage management AnaCris Medina Technical direction, Sound design, Original music Miguel Caldas Set design and art Luisa Callegari Light design Jo Rios Videos and screenings Montserrat Fonseca Llach Karaoke video Thany Sanches Costumes Tomás Decina, Luisa Callegari, Carolina Bianchi Art Assistant, Artistic collaboration Tomás Decina Photography Christophe Raynaud de Lage International management, Production Metro Gestão

Cultural (Brazil) Collaboration body and voice training Pat Fudyda, Yantó Dialogue on theory and dramaturgy Silvia Bottiroli Translation surtitles Nicky Garcia (German), Larissa Ballarotti, Luisa Dalgalarrondo, Joana Ferraz, Marina Matheus (English) Surtitles Montserrat Fonseca Llach

Production Metro Gestão Cultural (Brazil) Coproduction Festival d’Avignon, KVS Brussels, Maillon Théâtre de Strasbourg – Scène européenne, Frascati Producties (Amsterdam) Supported by Fondation Ammodo (Amsterdam), DAS Theatre (Amsterdam), 3 Package Deal of the AFK – Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Theater der Welt, Kaaitheater (Brüssel) Residency finals La FabricA du Festival d’Avignon Residencies Frascati Theater, DAS Theatre (Amsterdam), Festival Proximamente/KVS (Brussels), Festival 21 Voltz/Central Elétrica (Porto), Pride Festival (Belgrade), Greta Galpão (São Paulo), Espaço Desterro (Rio de Janeiro)

executed by the team of Wiener Festwochen | Freie Republik Wien nach Residencies

Premiere July 2023, Festival d’Avignon

On the intertextualities of the performance: The text of the show also relies on intersections with some authors. Carolina Bianchi y Cara de Cavalo highlights the collaboration of the actress Alita in her text in the second part of the show, Nathalie Léger and her book The White Dress, writings by Saidiya Hartman, the work of the anthropologist Rita Laura Segato, the bibliography of Roberto Bolaño and conversations with the artist Renan Marcondes.


Carmen Hornbostel The Bride and Goodnight Cinderella is the first part of the trilogy Cadela Força. It translates as ‘Bitch Force’ – a title, which I consider empowering. In the first part of the performance – a kind of theatre lecture – you talk about women in the arts who put their body at risk. And you take the crucial example of Pippa Bacca who was raped and murdered during her performance. Femicides are currently widely discussed in many countries, also in Austria. What is the origin of your research? Why do you start the trilogy with such an empowering title with a performance about violence against women?

Carolina Bianchi I find it very interesting to read the title as empowering. And it’s interesting how this word has had to appear in feminist slogans everywhere in recent years. For me personally, this title has nothing to do with power, on the contrary. Maybe it can be read like that because the word strength appears in this title and perhaps that can set the tone. But the strength here might emerge from a completely powerless perspective, one that has to do with the feeling after having been a victim of sexual violence. ‘Cadela Força’ are two words that appear side by side without adjectivising each other or establishing a complementary relationship. They can recall joy or also great discomfort. As a woman, I find it complex to say that I have experienced situa-

tions of power, or if I have done so, I was performing them. For me, the notion of power is something completely patriarchal. I started this research because I’ve become obsessed over the last years with the effects of sexual violence. And as an artist, I realised that I was constantly asking myself how art and its different languages deal with this violence. Performance art, especially with women artists, has brought this realm of experience to this discussion of violence – of the body as a medium. And this is how, when I started this first chapter of the trilogy by talking about my obsession with the story of Pippa Bacca, who was performing when she was murdered, I realised that it was necessary for my body to go through this work of experiencing a performance, above all: something that provoked a certain vulnerability, not just for my body itself, but for the narrative experience.

C.H. In the performance you put yourself into a state of unconsciousness by taking a drug that is known for being used to commit rapes. However, in theatre there exists a kind of unwritten contract that the public knows that the stage is safe, that they don’t have to intervene as a matter of the public responsibility to help somebody in need. In other words: you are questioning this ‘agreement’ in your performance by putting your own body into an obviously vulnerable

Carolina Bianchi in conversation with Carmen Hornbostel

state. What do you intend by this artistic statement? How far can, how far must art go? What can an unconscious body tell us that a conscious one can’t?

Because this kind of very direct conversation about sexual violence is still a big taboo in our society. How we listen to these stories or how we avoid them. I believe that the experience, which goes beyond the limits of discourse, produces a language, however blurred.

direct conversation about sexual violence is still a big taboo in our society. How we listen to these stories or how we avoid them. I believe that the experience, which goes beyond the limits of discourse, produces a language, however blurred.

C.H. The performance is equally political and sensual at the same time. What is the power of art in comparison to activism, politics or education?

C.B. My intention was to experience a performance on stage within a theatre production, and to incorporate these two specific notions of time: the time of the performance (which is connected to timing in our reality) and theatrical timing (which is ghostly and blurred) coexist in a strange, complex way. Because talking about rape is always uncomfortable and full of layers for both the speaker and the listener. The gesture of taking this rape drink, known as ‘Boa Noite Cinderela’ in Brazil, is also in some way an experience of the limits of a narrative. As Pippa’s story progresses in my lecture in the first part of the show, and we know the end of this story from the beginning, I get closer to this state of falling asleep, of losing consciousness, which means that I’m inhabiting this other place of presence. And this is a kind of loss for the spectator and of course, for myself, because in some way I lose my own piece, this unique experience of the theatre each night. And all this really messes with this contract, the contract of responsibility, the agreement of how we position ourselves in the face of narratives of this nature, even if that agreement is clear from the beginning, as a performance programme. I tell the audience what will happen. And even then, how we feel may be entirely unexpected. Because this kind of very

C.B. I’m incapable of comparing art with these other aspects, nor do I have the desire to. I don’t know how to measure the power of art. And I don’t want to, because I have the feeling that if I put art in this perspective, like a horse race, to see what is the most efficient way for the world to be saved from barbarism, that I’m being terribly unfair. I think my work is political to the extent that theatre can be as a language. But I prefer sensuality more as a word in which I recognise what I’m doing. Sensuality has no purpose. It’s sensory, it’s poetic, it’s palpable, as words are. I’m not interested in a theatre that is concerned with presenting solutions to problems, or that offers the audience appeasement. I’m interested in a theatre that hovers on the edge of a big problem, in the middle of complete darkness – between fear, delight and mystery. So I’d say I’m totally interested in this notion of sensuality. And of course, this can work as a political notion as well.

C.H. How was the process of working on the performance for you and your company while you are putting your body at risk but at the same time your company is bearing a lot of responsibility? And how has the performance developed since the premiere?

C.B. I think The Bride and the Good Night Cinderella talks a lot about friendship. There’s a very important text in the play about this, spoken by Marina Matheus, one of the performers I’ve been working with for many years. She and

all the people involved in this work have been accompanying me in creative processes for over ten years. I have had a long partnership with Carolina Mendonça, the dramaturge of this piece, and we share this research into sexual violence and its consequences. So the tenderness and responsibility with which the actresses and actors of the group deal with my sleeping body on stage is not ‘a performance of care’, but an achievement of constant work over the years, through various practices, in the construction of different shows, of building a very solid vocabulary together, which makes them completely a part of this journey with me, understanding their responsibilities and being able, together with me, to find instances of pleasure in doing theatre together. And in this sense, touring with the show allows us to deepen our relationship with the work. We’re always discovering new things about this Dantesque journey we’re on together. And the development of this will have a total impact on the next chapters of the trilogy, which will premiere in the next two years.

C.H. In the performance we see a projection ‘Fuck Catharsis’. Catharsis is a word with many interpretations. The word originally comes from the Greek and means ‘purification’. According to the catharsis theory, seeing and experiencing aggression in the theatre reduces aggressive impulses in the audience. This interpretation was later criticised as a concept that contradicts the potential for transformation. What do you mean by ’Fuck Catharsis’ in the performance?

C.B. I think catharsis is a very beautiful concept in theatre, in tragedy. This concept is really linked to the festivals of Dionysus, a purging of the emotions of the spectators of tragedy through the experience of terror or pity. What I propose by this phrase in my play is to link this theatrical concept to the fact that, for me, there is no purgation after having been the victim of a violent rape. We’ll find ways to deal with it, of course. But this whole philosophy of healing that we hear so much about nowadays, this idea of overcoming – so present in the hero’s journey – doesn’t make sense here. And I know that’s very hard for a lot of people to digest. And maybe it is an important movement to stay with the discomfort. And to see what happens.

Carolina Bianchi is a Brazilian theatre maker, writer and performer. She is currently based in Amster- dam and recently graduated from the DAS Theatre master programme. In her theatre work, theory and practice are inseparable. Her works depart from a perspective of crisis to launch deliberations about gender and sexual violence. Her staging is a combination of different references from litera- ture, cinema and visual art, filled with musical mashups, and a constant confrontation with everything that seems to be an absolute truth.

She is the director of the collective Cara de Cavalo (which translates to “horse’s face”) from São Paulo, with whom she has been creating the Cadela Força trilogy (2022 – 2025), O Tremor Magnífico (The magnificent tremor) in 2020, LOBO (Wolf ) in 2018, the outdoor performance Quiero hacer el amor (I wanna make love) in 2017, and in 2016 the lecture performance Mata-me de Prazer (Kill me by pleasure). Carolina Bianchi’s works will now be shown in Vienna for the first time in 2024.

PUBLICATION DETAILS Owner, Editor and Publisher Wiener Festwochen GesmbH, Lehárgasse 11/1/6, 1060 Wien P + 43 1 589 22 0, festwochen@festwochen.at | www.festwochen.at General Management Milo Rau, Artemis Vakianis Artistic Direction (responsible for content) Milo Rau (Artistic Director) Text credits the interview was conducted in writing and in English on 16 April 2024 by Carmen Hornbostel (Dramaturgy Wiener Festwochen | Free Republic of Vienna) Translation Almut Mölk Picture credit Cover: © Christophe Raynaud de Lage Produced by Print Alliance HAV Produktions GmbH (Bad Vöslau)

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