The Dramaturgical production for Children and Young people from theater groups: Comédia Cearense Group, Atrás do Pano Group and Cia Experimentus.
Paula Gotelip Trad. Fabio Batista e Leonardo Gonçalves.
This paper discusses about the dramaturgical choices made by three groups presented
on this the ongoing master degree dissertation Theater for children: a sight about the research process and start up of the following groups: Comedia Cearense, Atrás do Pano e Cia
This paper’s interviews and data collection here were guided by questions about their stagings , their writing preference, how their texts selection, the public’s previous knowledge about their texts,, the relation about success and the text’s choice, the brazilian popular culture, the formation activities practiced by the groups and the social change influences in the childhood influences. The answers to this questions brought the connection of the theater groups and the show designed for children.
2 The theater groups
Referring to André Carreira’s group theater in 2003, he says that “the group structure carries the embryo of resistance”2 and the children’s theater production is as much a resistance action by this group configuration as a preference in working with children – although this practice is still viewed with some prejudice by many artists. Despite of the strong commercial appeal of the capitalism toward childhood to , the art realization can be considered a children’s right by the artists involved in this process, specially because poetic and aesthetic sensibility in public policies should inspire those minorities and respect the children particularities.
As Oliveira and Carreira (2005) says, “the group theather can be identified as theatrical manifestations defined by the actor’s training use, the search for a cast stability, its long-term
1The research is developed under the Postgraduate Program in Theater of the State University of Santa Catarina,
under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Vicente Concilio. 2 “A estruturação de grupo porta o embrião da resistência”, in portuguese.
project and its pedagogical practices” 3 . So, the three studied groups here have these characteristics above as well as the childhood productions focus and their names are Comédia Cearense, Atrás do Pano and Cia Experimentus.
The Comedia Cearense is considered one of the oldest groups in Brazil – it has been
working for 60 years uninterruptedly and it is recognized as a public utility institution by the Brazilian law4 . In 2002, the group created a cultural place called Casa da Comédia with regular
courses, its own scenarios and costumes exhibition and a small library. Throughout its career,
the group have produced and published books and magazines with its works with dramatic
texts. Since its foundation, the Comedia Cearense have staged 97 texts in 180 different shows
– so, several texts have been re-staged. The first children spectacle was debuted in 1958 and it
is called A Revolta dos Brinquedos, by Pernambuco de Oliveira and Pedro Veiga. It is
considered one of first children theatre presentations in whole country.
Although Lucia Benedetti’s O Casaco Encantado from1948 is considered by many researchers as Simone André and the Centro Cultural São Paulo’s curator, Lizete Negreiros, the first theatrical staging for children in Brazil. Despite of that, the researcher Atico Vilas-Boas da Mota has recorded that, on December 22nd, 1947, the director Adroaldo Ribeiro Costa was debuted the Brazilian children’s theater with the operetta Narizinho, by Monteiro Lobato, at the Teatro Guarani, in the city of Salvador,state of Bahia, and it had been watched by the author himself. 5(FONSECA, 2010)
Therefore, Comedia Cearense makes its debut in works destined to the children ten years after “the first theatrical assembly destined to children in Brazil”6 (FONSECA, 2010).
From 1958 until the current year, the group have held 52 stagings and over than 100 shows for
The group Atrás do Pano was created in 1981. Its theatrical work involves re-reading
games, childhood traditions and Brazilian popular culture – always looking at the children
nowadays. The theater leads the group actions , but also it dialogues with education, plastic arts
and music. The group is based in the city of Nova Lima, in the countryside of Minas Gerais
state, so, the most part of its plays have been carried out in to the other countryside cities. The
3 “Na atualidade se tem entendido por teatro de grupo, manifestações teatrais que se definem pelo uso do treinamento do ator, pela busca da estabilidade do elenco, por um projeto de longo prazo e pela organização de práticas pedagógicas”, in portuguese. 4 About the law and its concern, see D.O. number 2.821 of December 11.1964 – D.O. of 17/12/1964. 5“Embora a peça O Casaco Encantado de Lucia Benedetti, de 1948, seja considerada por muitos, a exemplo da pesquisadora Simone André e da Curadora do Centro Cultural São Paulo, Lizete Negreiros, como a primeira montagem teatral destinada a crianças no Brasil, o pesquisador Ático Vilas-Boas da Mota dispõe de registros de que, no dia 22 de dezembro de 1947, o encenador Adroaldo Ribeiro Costa inaugurou o teatro infantil brasileiro, com a encenação da opereta Narizinho, de Monteiro Lobato, no Teatro Guarani, na cidade de Salvador, Bahia, espetáculo assistido pelo próprio autor”, in Portuguese.. (FONSECA,2010). 6“a primeira montagem teatral destinada a crianças no Brasil”, in Portuguese.
group has been working for 36 years and, during this period, it has staged seven plays for
children and an adult spectacle, Por Parte de Pai – an adaptation from Bartolomeu Campos de
Queiroz’s work. The text’s choice came from the interest to remind emotions and feelings –
such as pains, afflictions and anguishes – that touch the adult public on childhood. There are
three children plays from this group that are still playing – Estorias Cantantes, Rua de Brincar
and A Toalha Magica – the last presentations are showing for 10 and 14 years, respectively.
In the city of Itajaí, state of Santa Catarina, the Cia. Experimentus was established in
1999 – the newest among these three groups. They have staged five works for children: A Roupa
Nova do Rei, O Menino do Dedo Verde, Meu Pai é um Homem Pássaro, A Pequena Vendedora de Fósforos7 and Brincando de Bonecos. These are adaptations from children’s literature.
On the Experimentus’ staging set, there are different plays, as Brincando de Bonecos
– that dramaturgic was created by Marcelo de Souza, an artist of the group – and Venha Ver
Nosso Boi Brincar – a tribute to the singer Arnoldo Cueca and the unique work related to the
Santa Catarina’s popular culture and interesting for adults and children. The show O Menino
do Dedo Verde made its last presentation in the year 2017 after 15 years and Brincando de
Bonecos was prized in 2003 and have been playing for 15 years. The most recent playing work,
Meu Pai é um Homem Pássaro, have completed three years.
The dramatic text construction for children and young people has been debated in recent years. The event created by the group, Formação em Foco 8, have presented as theme
Dramaturgies for Childhood with, as Rosa (2018) related,“three contemporary dramaturgical
previous readings for childhood and it was a so hard to find something like that. To read something we’d like to put together is really hard9”
Dramaturgies was the main theme on a seminar during the 21st National Theatre
Festival for Children and Young People, in the city of Blumenau, state of Santa Catarina. This
event has a great relevance in the discussions about children’s theater in Brazil and it produces
Therefore, the studies on the artistic productions of these groups over time should be an
way to understand how recent social issues -as technology, education and information access-
have impacted on their artistic production.
7This through the Teatro Cidade project. 8Event held by Cia. Experimentus in the city of Itajaí. Includes shows and training activities. Available at http://experimentus.wixsite.com/experimentus/2018 9“[…]prévia três leituras de textos de dramaturgias para a infância, contemporâneos. Foi uma grande dificuldade. Olha, difícil achar algo. Tipo, vamos ler algo que a gente gostaria de montar, olha, bem difícil”, in Portuguese.
For this paper, semi-structured interviews were conducted to collection of the
information presented. Interviewees are Hiroldo Serra, from Comedia Cearense, and Myriam
Nacif, from the group Atrás do Pano and Sandra Knoll, Daniel Olivetto, Andréa Rosa, Natália
Pereira and Marcelo de Souza, members of the Cia Experimentus.
Comedia Cearense and Atrás do Pano had their answers recorded in audio files and
Experimentus had participated in a face-to-face meeting at the group’s headquarters where they
were able to express their opinions. From the answers, the group’s headquarters visits, the
staging follow-up and the books and magazines produced by the groups, The analysis about
their production, criteria and the public reception of their works over the years could be started.
4.1 The texts chosen for staging
The first Comédia Cearense montages enacts the texts that were being staged in São
Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and that should be considered Brazilian dramaturgical children
classics. After the first plays, the stagings came from adaptations by authors from state of Ceará
and texts by the group itself. Periodically, the group brings out rereadings for Snow White,
Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood stories, because the public demand wait for this
particular repertoire. These tales permeate the first childhood septennium and general readings
present at homes and schools. About that popular stories, Hiroldo Serra says these are classic
I figure out these stories work the same way in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 2000’s, but it does not mean that you can not add a different speeches or update something. Parents, teachers and schools use the same books as ever and telling the story in the same way. So, there is a change in these stories, which will attain, in our case, the theater (SERRA, 2018)10
10 Os livros clássicos mundiais…eu observo que eles funcionam da mesma maneira nos anos 60, nos anos 70, nos anos 80 e nos anos 2000.Isso não quer dizer que você não possa acrescentar uma falazinha diferente, atualizar alguma coisa…Porque os pais, e os professores e as escolas continuam usando o mesmo livro de sempre.Contando a história da mesma forma. Então, não há uma mudança nessas histórias, que vai atingir, no nosso caso do teatro.(SERRA,2018).”, in Portuguese.
The group Atrás do Pano uses the literature as the main inspiration, improvisation and
games for the acting. From these inspirations, the dramaturgies are written by the group or its
As the group always adhere to themes as recreation, childhood, games, playground singing games, the body in space, the body and nature, the child playing spontaneously. The group always had a look at the education, for the formation of the children. Then, the spectacles were also always based on this question of joy, the spontaneous amusement, and stories that emerge emotion as the body when it was playing, the delicious anxiety and expectation of what will happen, the surprise. (NACIF, 2018)11
For these reasons, the text’s choices happens by the promotion of the spectator’s
participation in the plays, in and out the scene, provoking the spectators to use their eager to
play bodies. The Cia. Experimentus have had a defined vein since its first play, although it had
opened itself to experimenting other texts. The book that origin the play O Menino do Dedo
Verde has its first edition in 1957 and it approaches the children death. Olivetto (2018) points
out that “today I think we have more access. When the group started in 1999, you did not have much access to playwriting made for a child other than Maria Clara Machado”12. About the
dramaturgy production for children and the concept of childhood, the Cia. Experimentus
members, connecting their points of view, assert
“there is little production for children. Some people start to produce plays with an old conception about children, but they are another children today. There are moments that we thought to use only dramaturgical texts, and after we didn’t. We had accepted the adaptations, otherwise, we would not find something that satisfy us. Perhaps, because of market needs, the literature from books ends up in the front of the dramaturgy. (OLIVETTO, ROSA AND SOUZA, 2018)13
The company have chosen adaptations of children’s literary tales, perhaps, because
it recognize in this productions the poetics and childhood respect that the group demonstrates.
11 Como o grupo sempre apostou na brincadeira, apostou na infância, no jogo, no brincar de roda, no corpo no espaço, no corpo e a natureza, a criança brincando espontaneamente. O grupo sempre teve um olhar para a educação, para formação dessa criança.Então, os espetáculos também sempre se basearam nesse quesito, o brincar, o brincar espontâneo e uma história que trazia aquela emoção, aquele corpo do brincar, aquela ansiedade gostosa, aquela expectativa do que que vai acontecer, a surpresa”, in Portuguese. 12 “Hoje eu acho que a gente tem mais acesso. Quando o grupo começou em 1999, você não tinha muito acesso a dramaturgia feita para criança que não fosse a Maria Clara Machado”, in Portuguese. 13 “Daniel: Então, eu acho que se produz pouco para criança neste sentido… Tem gente que está começando a produzir dramaturgias para crianças ainda com uma ideia um pouco antiga sobre quem é a criança … Andréa Rosa: é outra criança hoje… Marcelo de Souza: Tem momentos que a gente pensou em pegar só textos dramatúrgicos. e teve uma hora que não deu. Vamos aceitar as adaptações senão, não vamos achar uma coisa que nos satisfaça. Isto é verdade. que a literatura infantil, talvez por questões mercadológicas, ela acaba ficando à frente da dramaturgia”, adapted from these tree different speeches from Portuguese.. (OLIVETTO, ROSA E SOUZA,2018). “
4.2 The text’s choice: before and after the premiere.
The text’s choice is a deciding feature for Hiroldo Serra – from Comédia Cearense
– also for the members of Cia. Experimentus. Otherwise, for Myriam Nacif, from Atrás do
Pano, the text’s choice contributes, but the folktale and popular aesthetics used by the group
approximate adults and children imagination to the theater.
Analyzing the group’s history and the interviews, the texts and themes must be fine-
tuned with the acting and, when it is necessary, both of them would being modified over time
under the adults and children agreement and experience. The relation of the text and scene and
the experience that the adult reaches the children’s universe impacts the public and the stagings
remains so long playing. All the stagings were not presented to the children before the premiere.
4.3 The brazilian popular culture and the formation activities practiced
The three groups has already used the popular culture aesthetic in their works,
sometimes regional or national, but only Atrás do Pano work with that constantly up to now.
The play Vem Ver Nosso Boi Brincar: A tribute to the singer Arnoldo Cueca, from Cia.
Experimentus, compose the group dramatic set. It is a granddaughter Natália Pereira’s tribute –
one of the actress of the company – to her grandfather and to the state of Santa Catarina tradition.
Other company works do not present popular culture characteristics.
On the subject and how it reverberated in Comedia Cearense in counterpoint with the
classic tales stagings, Serra (2018) says that
“a stories that has folklore, as Bumba-Meu-Boi14 dance, are more difficult to work, because the children are very shot-sighted, and they do not have much patience and they do not want to see anything, but, I think the classics did not really suffer.The public, the child who attends the theater today, is far removed from our popular traditions and I might say that we would have a very great difficulty in bringing the audience of today, the child of today, to a spectacle that had a little more of the popular culture root . (SERRA.2018)15
Besides the children’s montages, the groups allies work, training and education. Despite
14 A traditional dance practiced in the Brazilian north and northeast, that some people dance and run around the places with costumes. 15“a história que é uma história que têm folclore, que tem dança do bumba-meu-boi. essas histórias, eu acho que hoje, realmente cada vez elas estão mais difíceis.Porque as crianças são muito imediatista, e elas não têm muita paciência e não querem ver qualquer coisa. Mas, eu acho que realmente os clássicos não sofreramEntão o público, a criança que frequenta o teatro hoje, ela tá muito distante das nossas tradições populares, talvez dissesse que a gente teria assim uma dificuldade muito grande de levar o público de hoje, a criança de hoje, a um espetáculo que tivesse um pouco mais de raiz, de cultura popular”, in Portuguese.. (SERRA.2018)
of that combination has not influenced the text’s choices, the close contact with children makes
the groups updating their childhood sight for adjustments and modifications in the scenes and
texts. The groups have never present the stage before for the other children and their play’s
longevity demonstrates their childhood affinity.
Atrás do Pano offers activities far from the capital of its state, on the countryside, and
still retains the regional popular culture characteristics. These actions are a feedback to the
group’s work and they highlight the importance of willingness and motivation maintenance on
4.4 The childhood conception and social change
The contact between groups and children emerges the differences about the children
over years and their theater’s affinity. Myriam Nacif said that
There is a difference of the 80’s and 90’s urban child to the today’s child, but what we realize is that there is not difference and it’s funny! There’s no difference in the work’s acceptance. So we realize that you need change the aesthetic question, because the children’s look and aesthetics change. So we need to follow this process, dynamics, type, created characters. On the actor’s work, we develop different aesthetics, different body uses, different theater vision, so we must feed this new path of the actor, but the child in his or her own is the same. It is very clear the difference of the countryside and urban children and the first, generally, accepts the art proposal easily. (NACIF, 2018)16
That divergence could be explained because the countryside children are recognized by
their readiness to play, limited access to technologies, exposure to spectacular manifestations,
while the urban children could not recognize theatrical act values with their parents’ theatrical
guidance choices and out of contexts plays on downtowns. The religious, non-spectacularized
and contextualized popular rituals present in the countryside cities could make the interior
children understand their act spectator feature and their theatrical experience.
16Existe uma diferença da criança da cidade da década de 80 e 90 para criança de hoje…Mas o que a gente percebe é que não há, é engraçado, não há nenhuma diferença na aceitação do trabalho… Então a gente percebe…que… precisa mudar muitas vezes, a questão estética, porque também o olhar da criança, a estética muda.Então a gente precisa acompanhar um pouco esse processo às vezes a dinâmicas, às vezes o tipo, o personagem que se cria. Até, também, no próprio trabalho do ator a gente desenvolve outras estéticas, outro corpo, outra visão de teatro. Então a gente precisa também, alimentar esse novo caminho do próprio ator mas a criança em si, ela é a mesma…Agora é muito nítido a diferença da criança do interior para criança da cidade… Aceita-se a proposta com mais rapidez da criança do interior do que da criança da cidade.(NACIF,2018). In portuguese.
In this final section, this work must highlight the common mentions from the groups, as
the shortage of contemporary theatrical writes intended for children and the narrow adult
guidance towards theater and art for children. The common sense waits for colorful, cheerful
and noisy shows with linear dramaturgies and moral or didactical lessons. But, as Andruetto
(2012) says, it is necessary to make the adults understand that “reading and aesthetic experience are the most radical exercises of freedom”17.
That encounter – reading and aesthetics – should overcome the commercial barrier
surrounding childhood production. Many searches as quality on children’s literature, a
production without circulation or sale pressures from publishers and an oral and popular culture
promotion could conceive classics and a new spectators and readers generation.
The past century has seen public policies advances about children protection and care,
but, today, many contexts are going through a setbacks and rights’ withdrawals periods in
politics, leading children to premature death and precocious work. For whom the art is
There is a need to know for what kind of childhood the art is produced and how is the
diffraction of the adults – when it takes their children to the theater – through the art glass. An
innovative dramaturgical presence on scene can be fluid and enjoyable for children and adults
as long as the aesthetic experiences, poetic texts and the absence of a textual dramaturgies are
shown and presented. The children presence and experience on theater also passes through the
presence and experience of the accompanying adults.
ANDRUETTO, M. T.(2012). Por uma literatura sem adjetivos; traducción: Carmem
Cacciarro, São Paulo: Editora Pulo do Gato.
CANDIDO, A. (2017). O direito à literatura. In: Vários escritos.1995. Disponível em
%20Direito%20%C3%A0%20Literatura.pdf . Acesso em 01 de outubro de 2017.
CARREIRA, A. (2003). Anais do III Congresso Brasileiro de Pesquisa e Pós- Graduação
em Artes Cênicas, Florianópolis, 08 a 11 de outubro de 2003 – Florianópolis: Associação
Brasileira de Pesquisa e Pós- Graduação em Artes Cênicas- ABRACE.2003. ( Memória
17“A leitura e a experiência estética encontram-se entre os exercícios mais radicais de liberdade”, in Portuguese.
CARREIRA, A. & OLIVEIRA, V.(2013, n. 12, p. 95-98, 2003). Teatro de grupo: modelo de
organização e geração de poéticas. O Teatro Transcende.
FONSECA, Gilberto L. (2011). Acima De Tudo, Teatro! Um olhar sobre a produção teatral
para a infância e juventude em Porto Alegre, 2010 159 f. Dissertação (Mestrado em Artes
Cênicas)- Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande Do Sul, Porto Alegre.
GIRARDELLO, G. (2018) Crianças e Infâncias no Brasil do século XXI. Panacea- Revista
de Estudos sobre Teatro para Crianças e Jovens/ Instituto de Artes Integradas de Blumenau.
Ano 01, Blumenau.
NACIF,M. (2018) Interview granted to Paula Gotelip, Nova Lima.
ROSA, A. (2018) Interview granted to Paula Gotelip, Itajaí.
SERRA. H. (2017) Comédia Cearense 60 anos, Fortaleza : Gráfica LCR, 2017.
SERRA. Hiroldo.(2018) Intervew grande to Paula Gotelip, Fortaleza.
ENSAIO (2014) Aberto Brasil, Direção Luiz Cruz, Ceará, Canal Brasil, Documentário.
Comédia Cearense: https://www.comediacearense.com.br/
Cia. Experimentus: http://experimentus.wixsite.com/experimentus
Grupo Atrás do Pano : http://atrasdopano.blogspot.com/
Horizonte da Cena : http://www.horizontedacena.com/tag/grupo-atras-do-pano/
Primeiro Sinal: http://primeirosinal.com.br/galeria/grupo-atr%C3%A1s-do-pano-35-anos