WORDS HAVE THE POWER TO TRANSFORM WHEN THEY ARE LEARNED BY HEART
Can poetry bring hope? Audiences at the Auckland Arts Festival in March are invited to find out, first-hand.
Written and performed by Portuguese playwright, actor and director of Portugal’s Teatro Nacional D.Maria II Tiago Rodrigues, and presented exclusively as part of the Auckland Arts Festival in March, By Heart is an immersive and affecting theatrical experience in which Rodrigues invites 10 audience members to learn Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30, by heart, live on stage.
While the famous sonnet about nostalgia and regret is being memorised, Rodrigues leads the participants and the audience through a series of illuminating intergenerational stories about famous writers, fictional characters and, most profoundly of all, his grandmother, who inspired the piece.
When she was 93 years-old, Tiago Rodrigues' grandmother, who had spent her working life as a humble cook, learned she was rapidly losing her eyesight. Doctors were unable to offer any treatment. With the loss of her sight came the loss of one of her greatest loves: reading.
Fearing she'd be too old to learn braille, and having a passion for learning things by heart—songs, recipes, poems—she decided she needed to memorize one entire book before she became completely blind.
Rodrigues’ Grandmother grew up in a small village in northern Portugal during the first half of the 20th century and never received a formal education, but she loved and devoured the written word and passed that appetite along to her children and grandchildren. One of those grandchildren, Tiago, would bring her boxes of books when he came to visit. And so she entrusted him with the mission to select the last book she'd ever read. After a few weeks of searching, he found the perfect book.
Playing at the Loft, Q Theatre from March 13 – 16, By Heart is an ode to language and literature. Rodrigues’ beautiful, deceptively simple play gets to the heart of what connects us as humans, the value of ideas in art and revolution, and the wonders of memory and memorisation.
A moving theatrical experience that will touch hearts and souls, and remind us all of the sheer power of words.
Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster
The full AAF 2019 programme is here.
“So deep, so intelligent and so magnificent that we come out of it profoundly moved.”
– Le Figaro
Written and performed by Tiago Rodrigues
By arrangement with Arts Projects Australia
13 – 16 March 2019
written and performed by Tiago Rodrigues
Text with fragments and quotes by William Shakespeare, Ray Bradbury, George Steiner, Joseph Brodsky, among others
set, props and costume Magda Bizarro
english translation Tiago Rodrigues, revised by Joana Frazão
executive production on the original creation Magda Bizarro, Rita Mendes
a production Teatro Nacional D. Maria II after an original creation by the company Mundo Perfeito
co-producers O Espaço do Tempo, Maria Matos Teatro Municipal
Loft, Q Theatre
1hr 30mins to 2hrs no interval
General admission $55