quinta-feira, 22 de março de 2007

André Murraças - unrestrained voyeurism

"I have large breasts. I've made my fortune through them. People make fun of my breasts.They don't realise that there's a big heart beating underneath." The play 'O Espelho do Narciso Gordo', in which Dolly Parton talks about her most obvious attributes, is highly rated. Critics claim it is the first Portuguese theatre production of the 21st century that is truly camp.

The 30-year-old author André Murraças wears his city as well as his heart on his sleeve. His need is more for writing than for breaking boundaries."I do not aim for the political in my work. I write about what interests me. I don't set out to produce gay theatre or queer or camp, or whatever you want to call it. Writing is always my starting point."
He made his name through the subjects of sex and sexuality. His latest play deals with sexuality, as does his book Peças Amorosas ("Pieces of Love", 2006). An extremely prolific writer, Murraças explores the question of what it means to be a man or a woman in many of his works, such as the performance "Pour Homme".

André Murraças wants to cram all of life into his books. He needs to have all his feelers out to follow his particular line of enquiry: "First come people, then their stories, and finally their way of getting around the city". So how does his city's geography affect its residents? "This city forces people to keep going. Lisbon is an obstacle course: there's traffic everywhere, and it goes uphill and downhill a lot. All this leads to a bad attitude among people. Lisbon is a hard city.' But only during the day - it is different at night. "Lisbon people love to go out.They want to see and be seen. They like to meet their friends for a drink,"says Murraças. They love to drape themselves in chic outfits, to show off. There's also a sexual charge: a power cut might result in a rising birth rate. "The city is both very masculine and very feminine. Classic and modern perceptions of men have merged, and the same goes for women." On the writer's request our meeting takes place in Chiado, the oldest and loveliest part of the city.

Murraças is an entertaining talker. He tells that he was born in a suburb of Lisbon, that he spent a year in Utrecht, and that while he likes to travel, he belongs to th
is city. He admits to suffering from unrestrained voyeurism and is fascinated by the triviality of celebrities like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, porn stars and second-rate actors. It is pop, in the truest sense of the word. "It's very real-time stuff that feeds my work, but also very artificial, plastic material." Murraças adds: "Unfortunately Portuguese cities are way too bland. They don't have that pulsating density, and there aren't enough scandals, either."

Even só, he has resolved to write about someone in the Portuguese jet set. He won't reveal the person's identity; he's only prepared to say that "It might become critical, ironic at times. But in a humorous way, never aggressive." B.H.

na revista Mini International nº23, Março 07