Remembering sounds and gestures in the landscape, with Eva Poro at Monte Paraíso

O Sul Informação attended a morning of rehearsals and creation

"This is the entrance to the show, Mr. Valentim is the guardian of this paradise", says Madalena Victorino, making a wide gesture with her arms, to the group of ten children, actors from Eva Pore #1, the new show of «sound and movement in the landscape» of the Lavrar o Mar project, which will be presented on a hill on the slopes of the Serra do Espinhaço de Cão, two steps from the Costa Vicentina, between the 8th and 10th of February, or that is, next weekend.

Who knows the Plowing the Sea projects, you know that Madalena Victorino or Giacomo Scalisi, her mentors and main creators, strive to find unlikely places for their creations. And they also know that the landscape and even the air you breathe are part of the shows, being their true characters. In Eva Poro, this is even more true.

For the first group of presentations, between Friday and Sunday, the creators discovered Monte Paraíso, a half-hour walk from the village of Vilarinha, a little south of Bordeira, in the municipality of Aljezur. It is a hill with three semi-ruined houses, beaten by the wind and with a fabulous view of the valley, also called Paraíso, where a stream flows.

On that hill, Mr Vicente Valentim was born, 85 years old, who today, with his son, also called Valentim, leases it to its owner and continues to give it some life, with its herd of cows, who shelter in the houses with mud walls crumbling. “They are the true guardians of this valley and its animals”, explains Nicolau da Costa, one of the five co-creators of Eva Poro. «They made their whole life here».


Mr. Valentim, the son, who is 55 years old and a man of few words and a shy smile on his face, is part of the show's cast, being "present in almost all sequences", not only with children, but also with adults and even with the animals (two mares and nine dogs).

He is also the person who, in his tractor, transports many of the props and other heavier elements needed for it. Eva Poro, along the three kilometers of dirt road that separate the village from Vilarinha do Monte Paraíso. In principle, your contribution would be more logistical. But then Father Vicente Valentim told Madalena Victorino that his son also liked to participate. And the choreographer accepted this idea with open arms, which incidentally was already boiling in her head.

Mr. Valentine son does not speak much. To South Informationo, he explained, in these exact words, that it is the “first time” that he participates in something similar and that he is there “to help”. Very interested in his role, Valentim listens attentively to Madalena Victorino's indications, during an intense Saturday morning, in rehearsals at Monte Paraíso.

Mr. Valentim, like the character of Nicolas, are, as the choreographer explains to the Sul Informação, «the memory of a series of primordial work gestures that now evaporate, no longer have a function, but which dance recovers. They are gestures that resist the winds, the elements, and that appear as a kind of oneiric situation, which has body and sound».


There is “a sleep in which this land is, a melancholy that hovers around it”. There is "a group of men who do not know exactly where they come from, who meet a group of children and animals", and "they evoke what lies between the past and the future", being "elements of memory". «They lose their origin and gain new breath, but for a limited time», because, in the end, «everything will be returned to silence and to the animals».

There is “a mare that disappears from the meadow, evaporates, in a metaphor of what can no longer be recovered”. But this memory is brought back "by the strength of the children, when they sleep it appears again, in holes that are beds made in the earth, where children retire to dream."

The words are from Madalena Victorino, raising a little of the veil of her new show. But they don't translate the wonder to the various senses that will be this Eva Poro. Reinforcing the scenes, there is the music and voice of Joana Guerra, creator of the show with Madalena. They are original compositions, which enter into a dialogue with the neigh of the mares, the blowing of the wind or the creak of the mound's doors. And that accompany, between the cello notes and the voice, the sequences of this evaporation.

Madalena's work with the ten kids (there are eleven in total, but on Saturday only ten could be there) is not easy. Rumi Cid, the youngest, aged 6, yawns with sleep. Phönix Zaffetta speaks only German and the rehearsal is accompanied step by step by her father, who translates what Magdalene is saying, jumping from language to language. «In the first days of rehearsals, Madalena spoke Portuguese, English, German, Portuguese, English, German…but it is very difficult and exhausting», explains Telma Antunes, responsible for communication at Lavrar o Mar.


The eleven children are between 6 and 16 years old and have very diverse nationalities – Portuguese, German, English, French, Russian, Canadian… Many of those who do not have Portuguese nationality were born here, among the hills and waves of the municipality of Aljezur, and ( almost all) speak Portuguese and English among themselves. A few go to official school, but most go to schools alternatives in the municipality – Aljezur International School, Escola das Borboletras and Story Forest School.

«I wanted to bring these children, who sometimes live disconnected from the local reality, for this project», explains Madalena Victorino to the report of Sul Informação.

Sasha Guru, 12, is Canadian by nationality, Ismael Gallet, 10, is French. Both speak Portuguese perfectly and claim that they are not exactly new to this show thing. Ismael is the son of Remi Gallet, the French artist who has lived in Aljezur for years and who has collaborated with Lavrar o Mar in other shows. “I had already done theater and circus,” Sasha guarantees. “For me, this is about the 10th show I'm going to participate in, I've already participated in many with my father,” says Ismael.

Noah Schydlo, who is German, says he has also done “many shows with the circus”, the circus school that exists in Aljezur. But he confesses that this show Eva Poro it's “a lot of work to decorate”.


Then there are the adults. Nicolau da Costa, who is from Raposeira (Vila do Bispo), presents himself as a “shellfish collector, farmer and beekeeper”, a real man multi task, who knows how to live on what nature still gives in that corner of the Costa Vicentina. Perhaps for this reason, he is a person of great sensitivity and, proudly, one of the co-creators of this Eva Poro. With Madalena, he created, for example, the entire sequence that takes place inside the cows' stable. "Today is the first time we are rehearsing with children". It is also up to him to recreate those gestures of work that are only memories, but also to set up the mare Zaia, the one that evaporates in the meadow.

Then there is Nídia Barata, the guardian of the animals – the two mares are hers, Zaia, the white mare, and Happy, the sorrel, as well as the nine dogs. is a real animal charmer, because wherever she goes, all the dogs follow, in a calm and orderly way, playing their part in the show as if they had hours and hours of training.

Nídia lives in Vila do Bispo, where she has a farm with horses that she rents for sightseeing, but also other animals, such as a donkey, dogs, cats, chickens and geese. “I've lived with animals all my life,” he says. His animals, he explains, «have a very natural life, they are never arrested». And they are not used to being trapped in such a way that, on Saturday morning, when it was necessary to transport the mares for the first time to Monte do Paraíso, about 30 kilometers away, Happy, who had never entered her own trailer, only he did it after much insistence…and one of the dogs went miles away…

But Nídia never tires of saying that this is “a good challenge”. Dogs, he guarantees, «are perfectly adapted to many people and so are horses», although the show is «a break from their routine».

And so, next Friday, February 8th, at 15:30 pm, with the village of Vilarinha as a meeting point, the new production will premiere Eva Poro. It is a «show of community art in the landscape that, using the languages ​​of music and dance, investigates the phenomena of disappearance, evaporation, the end of things. It brings together boys from very different school worlds with artists from the theater of objects, music, dance, the great and fabulous theater of life. They are, in this circumstance, the “drones” who, in defiance of the customs in the hives, worked to the heart, to sculpt this will to exist in the air».


To reach Monte Paraíso (and then to return), you have to walk about three kilometers of dirt road, with mud, water, stones and a steep climb. This round-trip walk is already part of the show, where, once again, the audience (80 people in each presentation) is invited to participate, in this physical form. Therefore, you must take good walking shoes, as well as warm clothes, as everything takes place outdoors and there is a lot of wind...

As for the animals, which are beautiful, the recommendation is for the public not to try to interact with them, not even to have a little party. They are all meek and peaceful, but they must be focused on their role as actors.

And don't forget: from the 22nd to the 24th of February, and this time having the Monchique heliport as a meeting point, the second phase of the presentations will take place. Eva Pore #1. This time, the stage will be the abandoned village of Barbelote, on the northern slope of the mountain range. But the show will be a little different from that of Monte Paraíso, because the landscape – which is always the main character in Lavrar o Mar productions – is different.

However, throughout this week, the work of rehearsals is intensified, with children, adult artists and animals. And just like the Sul Informação he found out on Saturday, following an intense morning of work, more than rehearsals, it was a creative work. Or, as Madalena used to say, after two hours of working with the kids: «now I think I understand: you have to go with a more rhythm…». Finding out what rhythm this will be is reserved for the happy 240 spectators of Eva Poro.

Tickets, which cost 7 euros, are, as always, on sale at Bol's online box office, as well as at participating points of sale (Fnac, Worten, etc.) and also in Aljezur, at Casa Lavrar o Mar (Rua João Dias Mendes) and in Monchique, at the Municipal Library. Hurry up and buy your tickets, as they tend to run out (or vanish) quickly, thanks to the legion of faithful who drag everything that the Lavrar o Mar project does behind them.

O till the sea, which is a project of Cosanostra Cooperativa Cultural, has the support of 365 Algarve and also of CRESC Algarve 2020, the municipalities of Aljezur and Monchique and the General Directorate of Arts.

Photos and video: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação





CREATION: Madalena Victorino and Joana Guerra
CO-CREATION: Alix Sarrouy, Miguel Nogueira, Nicolau da Costa, Patrick Murys, Remi Gallet
SPECIAL PARTICIPATION: Emílio Neal Frener, Ismael Gallet, Lias Whitelegg, Noah Schyolo, Otto Forgaard, Pepijn Jones, Petri Pisarenko, Phönix Zaffetta, Rumi Cid, Sasha Guru, Vicente Andrade
ANIMALS: Zaya and Happy (mares), Aspa, Pira, Sassá, Tobias, Ariel, Vitória, César, Pulguita and Barão (dogs)
PRODUCTION: Catarina Sobral
PRODUCTION SUPPORT: Vasco Almeida and Joana Brandão

Space +
Bordeira Parish Council
Mrs. Engineer Margarida Alves – Owner of Monte Paraíso / Carrapateira
Mr. José Martins – Owner of the Aldeia de Barbelote / Monchique
Pastors: Mr Valentim – father and Valentim – son; Mr. Manuel Galinha
Farmer: Mr. “Choça”
parents of children
Helen Helder – Creating Edible Clouds
Isabel Silva – Seamstress
Aljezur International School
Butterfly School
Story Forest School