In 1927, the first production of Pygmalion was staged in Brazil. At the time, over 65 per cent of the adult Brazilian population was illiterate, which makes it all the more surprising that directors and producers dared to stage such a controversial playwright – a writer who had often been rejected by the more sophisticated theatregoer in England.
This book analyses the reception of almost a century of Brazilian productions of Pygmalion, My Fair Lady, Arms and the Man, Candida and Mrs Warren’s Profession, setting that analysis in the context of the political, economic and cultural climate at the time of each production. What emerges is a faithful portrait of a country where theatre and theatre criticism are precariously established, and the theatregoer with no knowledge of English cannot be certain that the translation or adaptation they are watching bears anything more than a passing resemblance to the original. Nonetheless, Brazil has also witnessed a number of fine productions, presented by highly skilled actors and directors and reviewed by well-informed and articulate critics.
As well as supplying fascinating detail on the wide range of Shaw productions staged in Brazil over the last ninety years, this volume also generates valuable insights into the complexities of twentieth-century Brazilian society.