Bonecos de Santo Aleixo


Auto da Criação do Mundo
8 May at 9.30pm | 9 May at 3pm

Puppeteers: Ana Meira, Gil Salgueiro Nave, Isabel Bilou, José Russo and Vítor Zambujo Musical accompaniment: Gil Salgueiro Nave Technique: Rod puppets For audiences over: M/6 Time: 70 min. Language: Portuguese

These traditional Alentejan puppets seem to have their origin in the village which gave them their name. They are puppets operated from above by rods, similar to the great marionettes of southern Italy and northern Europe, but tiny – between twenty and forty centimeters in height, and made of wood and cork, dressed in costumes which, as in the regular theatre, enable the characters in the story to be identified. The “dynasty” of these puppets dates from the middle of the nineteenth century, but the oldest references is dated in the eighteen century. The puppets that are seen today belonged to the Talhinhas family for about three decades until, in 1967, they were brought to the attention of a wider cultural world by Michel Giacometti and Henrique Delgado. The Bonecos de Santo Aleixo, property of the Évora Cultural Centre, are operated by a “family” comprising professional actors, which guarantees the permanent authenticity of the performers, and thus ensures the continuity of this expression of traditional Alentejan art.

An essential element in the performance is the set where it takes place, called the retable (originally a decorative screen behind an altar), which is built in wood a nd has floral hangings. It is a reproduction of a theatre stage in miniature, with a front curtain, painted scenery on cardboard, and stage lighting (an oil lamp). The music (Portuguese guitar) and the songs are performed live. The texts, based on oral tradition, presents a fusion of erudite theme and popular culture. A very magical and special show…

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