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By Heart (Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, Portugal): Sept 24 – Sept 25, Smock Alley Theatre
Tiago Rodrigues brings ‘By Heart’ to the Smock Alley Theatre 24 – 26 September 2015
‘Once 10 people know a poem by heart, there’s nothing the KGB, the CIA or the Gestapo can do about it. It will survive.’ – George Steiner
In By Heart, Portuguese playwright and actor Tiago Rodrigues teaches a poem to 10 volunteers. These people have not seen the performance before and they have no idea which text they will learn, by heart, in front of the audience.
As he leads them through the poem, Rodrigues recalls stories of his grandmother, who is losing her sight and with it the ability to read, along with stories of writers and characters from books that are connected to them both. Unlikely associations emerge – between Nobel Prize winner Boris Pasternak, a cook from the north of Portugal and a Dutch television show – and the mystery behind the chosen poem begins to unravel.
By Heart is about the importance of communication, of how words and ideas are stowed away and smuggled through our memories, our minds and our hearts. It’s about theatre as a safe house for forbidden texts – a guarantee of civilisation and resistance even in the most barbaric and desolate times.