Rogério Nuno Costa and Susana Mendes Silva
performance/ practice-based working session for the international meeting of artists and researchers in Performance Studies Generative Indirections
Convento da Saudação — O Espaço Do Tempo — and in several public places in the city of Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal
7th September 2013
Support: Câmara Municipal de Montemor-o-Novo (Gabinete de Arqueologia), O Espaço do Tempo, Cine-Teatro Curvo Semedo, Indirecções Generativas.
Thanks: Hermínia Santos, Susana Picanço, Ana Carina Paulino.
"An afternoon" happened precisely when an early hot September afternoon was just beginning.
The session started like many Summer afternoons in Alentejo: with a nap. From the room facing East we could see Montemor-o-Novo from a distance and enjoy the silence.
Twenty minutes later we left the convent and headed to the city centre.
On the stage of Curvo Semedo Theatre, and as we still didn't know each other, we proposed that everyone would write their autobiography. Afterwards we exchanged the texts randomly and this way another person would read our statement.
We walked through the theatre to access the boxes area, where Susana read “Mestre Finezas” from the writer Manuel da Fonseca — he was one of the most interesting Portuguese neo-realist authors, portraying, in a very humane way, the social contrasts of life in Alentejo, especially the roughness of the landscape and of the life of rural workers.
We left towards the most beautiful tavern to drink pennyroyal liquor or granito montemorense (a liquor that is made from several herbs) There the group read "The square", from the same author, which is a text about the change of centre caused by the railway in a small town in Alentejo.
The temperature was still quite high, but we had to return to the convent, where a pennyroyal infusion — just bought by us in the market during the morning — was waiting for us. The final text was read by Rogério. We were in a huge room facing West, with a view to a rural, imposing and rough landscape. "Aldeia Nova" (New Village) is a very poignant text about the lack of hope from Alentejo rural workers. Strangely enough this has so many echoes in nowadays.
We finished by sharing the documentation developed for the project in the huge table of the room.