Manfred Karge


Beatriz Batarda


Ana Brandão, Bruno Nogueira, Flávia Gusmão, Miguel Damião, Nuno Lopes, Nuno Nunes e Romeu Costa

A cigar in the Pole. Truly amazing.

The Conquest of the South Pole was written at the end of the ‘80s before the fall of the Berlin Wall, surviving the explosion of new theatrical languages, the numbness of illusion, the new metatheatrical writings, the rereading of the classics, and even the social mutations in Europe. Combining classicism and contemporaneity, realism and artifice, prose and verse, this play is the result of a highly theatrical game “de-southpoled” by the anarchic energy of those constantly marginalised by the system. We meet four friends in an old attic – who we might see walking down the street – destroyed by poverty, by unemployment, by the emptiness in lieu of the future. The attic in the theatre – or the theatre in the attic – is the frame delineating our attention, providing us, for a period of time inside that room, the possibility of recognising the promise that, walking oblivious down the street, we would otherwise never notice. Slupianek, the great South Pole explorer inside the refrigerator, leads us gun in hand, Roald Amundsen under his arm, pursuing the path to victory amid the washing on the line, pots, and pigeons. On an epic dream journey, the four friends find the path to rebuild their domestic lives and the faith that something good may yet come.

Technical sheet

by Manfred Karge
translated by Helena Topa
director Beatriz Batarda
artistic collaboration Marco Martins
cast Ana Brandão, Bruno Nogueira, Flávia Gusmão, Miguel Damião, Nuno Lopes, Nuno Nunes and Romeu Costa

set designer Wayne dos Santos
costume designer Isabel Carmona
movement Victor Hugo Pontes
lighting designer Nuno Meira
sound designer Sérgio Milhano
musical director Nuno Rafael
photographer Estelle Valente
lighting designer’s assistant Cárin Geada

production director Narcisa Costa
production and director’s assistant Carolina Serrão
Arena Ensemble’s managing director Marta Delgado Martins
project Arena Ensemble
production São Luiz Teatro Municipal
co-production Centro Cultural Vila Flor
rating 14+
duration 2h15mins
first performed 7th April 2016, São Luiz Teatro Municipal, Lisbon
acknowledgments Victor Hugo Pontes, Sérgio Milhano and Ministério dos Filmes
sponsors Cabelos WIP-Hairport, Peris Costumes – Maria Gonzaga Guarda Roupa


© Estelle Valente