“Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. Nor indeed that we personally are needed. Others would meet the case equally well, if not better. To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not.”
Samuel Beckett, in Waiting for Godot
Since its foundation in 1944, Viana do Castelo’s Shipyards have played a fundamental role in the region’s development. More than an economic power, the shipyards became an iconic symbol and proved to be a game changer in the definition of the region’s identity. There, 200 ships were built for ship owners and sea fares from around the world – barges, tugs, ferryboats, fishing vessels, etc. – and through there, generations of grandparents, parents and sons have passed, laboriously passing on the art of moulding steel from one generation to another, in the same fashion one passes on its major cultural inheritance.
They are now victims of a political impasse, consequence of the economical crisis lived in Europe, of the changes encountered in the working world, and of a country’s loss of its political autonomy when struggling to reshape the industrial landscape.
And there the workers wait and despair, over three years, for a clear definition of the company’s future. They dress everyday their coveralls, and takes their places in the workshop, and wait for a potential work commission. A routine that was drained deliberately – there has been no work for over three years.
It was in this context of impasse that Marco Martins and his collaborators Nuno Lopes, Tânia Carvalho and Noiserv, created over the period of six months SHIPYARDS – ENVC 2012, a multidisciplinary show, interpreted by the shipyards’ workers, that brings together their biographical testimonials and writings by Samuel Beckett (“Waiting for Godot”) and by Gonçalo M. Tavares (“Mr. Kraus”). A performance supported by a dramaturgic device that summons in the same scenery the cultural richness of the variety of the traditional performing arts of the region of Viana do Castelo and the director’s multifaceted language centred the nature of the naval construction’s work.
In this sense, other regional forms of expression such as the folk singing of Minho (the Cantadeiras do Vale do Neiva) and local folklore ranches (choreographed and reinterpreted by Tânia Carvalho) were called upon, as well as the fishermen who show each year their ornamented boats during the festivities of Senhora da Agonia’s procession. A large-scale theatrical performance (with over 50 interpreters), showed in a public space (the vast yard that surrounds the shipyard’s workshops), brings together various artistic forms, traditional and contemporary, in a hybrid object that offers us a reflection on art and the identity aspects of labour.
based on “Waiting for Godot” and “Breath” by Samuel Beckett; “Mister Kraus“ and “Mister Calvino” by Gonçalo M. Tavares
artistic director Renzo Barsotti (Festival do Norte) Centro de Criação para o Teatro e Artes de Rua
cast Alberto Novo, António Barbosa, António José Rocha, António Marques, Fabíola de Sousa, Fernando Neto, Hugo Costa, João Peres, José Esteves, Martinho Cerqueira, Miguel Cerqueira, Olívia Ferreira, Pedro Oliveira, Samuel Gomes, Sebastião Almeida, Vítor Vieira (ENVC’s workers); Grupo de Cantadeiras do Vale do Neiva (folk singing group); Rancho Folclórico de Vila Franca do Lima (folklore ranch) and Noiserv (musician/band)
choreography collaborator Tânia Carvalho
director of photography (video) Miguel Manso
editing (video) Mariana Gaivão
set designer Artur Pinheiro
costume designer Isabel Carmona
lighting designer Nuno Meira
sound designer Sérgio Milhano
photography Marco Martins
producer Alberto Castelo (Festival do Norte)
production manager Alaíde Costa (Centro de Criação para o Teatro e Artes de Rua)
production director Narcisa Costa (Arena Ensemble)
production’s assistant Mariana Sampaio
Arena Ensemble’s managing director Marta Delgado Martins
co-production Festival do Norte, Centro de Criação para o Teatro e Artes de Rua, Arena Ensemble
first performed 27th July 2012, Viana do Castelo’s Harbour
acknowledgments ENVC’s administration, AISCA, Ao Norte, Viana do Castelo’s Port’s Captaincy Office, ENVC’s Workers Committee, Monserrate’s Secondary School, ENVC’s Workers Group for Sports and Culture, Communitarian Promotor of the Auto da Floripes
sponsors Tourism Office - Oporto and North of Portugal, Municipality of Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo Shipyards, Hotel Axis Viana Bussiness & Spa, Hotel do Parque