Tieta, The Trial is a a play adapted by Franko Figueiredo from the Brazilian novel Tieta do Agreste by Nobel Prize nominee Jorge Amado. Produced by StoneCrabs International Theatre Company, it is being performed throughout London this summer. I went to see it at the Marylebone Theatre thanks to TheatreBloggers.
Tieta returns to her Brazilian home town, twenty-six years after being beaten up for being different, rejected by her father, and forced to leave. A trans woman formerly known as Antonio, Tieta has embraced her true self and is now a millionaire. She has returned to bestow untold riches on the town – but there is a price to pay.
Tieta examines the concepts of revenge, justice, greed and equality in a witty and subversive way, using storytelling, live music and dance. It is performed by the multi-talented and versatile Inês Sampaio, who sings, dances, narrates, and performs each one of the characters. From lively, confident Tieta herself, her haughty sister Perpetua, and her good friend, to Tieta’s foul-mouthed elderly father and the cigar-smoking mayor, each character is superbly drawn and Sampaio switches back and forth between them with ease, often multiple times per scene. There is effective use of music as Sampaio layers her own voice to use it as a backing track, with interesting effects produced from only a handful of instruments.
Without giving too much away, the audience is invited to join in and vote on a key issue, making us all complicit in the result. We are invited to compare the relationship between justice and revenge, as well as how easy it is for greed and corruption to take over. However, these messages are not delivered in an overly heavy-handed way; Sampaio’s sparkling performance and the entertaining songs keep things interesting.
Tieta, The Trial is a fascinating play, unique and well worth seeing. It is being performed at the Soho Theatre, the Etcetera Theatre and the Camden People’s Theatre in July/August, so there are plenty of opportunities to catch it.