Since I completed my Master’s degree in 2008 in devised theatre, I have been teaching and working with graduate and undergraduate students to share experiences mostly focused on acting and directing. However, I can say my ability to reflect, observe, share and teach performing arts started in 2001 when I founded an experimental theatre group called Grupo Desvio in Brasília, Brazil. The knowledge and skills I gained from directing this group have established the main foundation of my teaching experience which is based on collaboration, hands-on experience, autonomy, imagination, active learning, and education through a combination of theory and practice. The starting point of all my creations with Desvio was based in research, laboratories, and collaborative processes. It was the time when I started to deepen my knowledge in several ways to think and lead theatre projects, from works based in Biomechanics, Theatre of the Oppressed or Physical Theatre, to works structured through the idea of Biodrama, Hyperrealism or Performative Theatre.
My academic trajectory was never separate from my artistic outlook and vice versa. On the one hand, my Master’s thesis and my Ph.D. dissertation were sketched from Desvio’s processes; and on the other, all of my artistic projects came from my academic investigations and reflections. Likewise, I always try to emphasize the possibility to blend theory and practice during the classes I teach. The goal is always attached to the idea of enhancing the hands-on theatre experience where students can learn by doing. While ultimately we must focus on a specific area of interest in theatre, I believe that before then, it is crucial to understand every single step in a theatrical creative process to foster teamwork and problem-solving. This conception has always been fundamental to the classes I’ve taught. My knowledge in lighting, sounding, stage managing, producing and new technology have also been crucial for my work as a director and as an actor, and this is why I tend to reinforce this conception in my classes. The idea of autonomy onstage is more than urgent. It is a chance to make us able to put out a project from the draft and not be a hostage of a production system.
In 2013, during my Ph.D. research at the University of Brasilia and The Graduate Center, CUNY, I created a multimedia theatre project called Misanthrofreak in which I had the chance to improve the idea of autonomy in a creative process. I was able to understand not only how I could alone create one project from scratch till its production, but also through the adoption of new technologies, I was able to manipulate lights, sounds, projections and live cameras onstage while I was performing. Besides establishing the idea of autonomy and hands-on experience, the idea of working with new technologies onstage has also improved my work as a professor. I teach not only how to manipulate images, sounds, lights, sensors, mapping and other technology to realize the narrative through different software such as Isadora, Qlab and Resolume, but I also try to incorporate technology during the classes and during the creative process, so as to bring autonomy to the student-artist.
During my doctorate, mostly based on the adoption of new technologies onstage and John Cassavetes’s works, I discussed concepts, procedures, and cinematic aesthetic works blended with theatrical methods. I am still working with these ideas, and they have unfolded in three different studies: 1) Acting between theater and film: the performativity of the instant; 2) Methodologies to directing based on cinematic aesthetic; 3) The autonomy and the collaboration in the creative process through the adoption of new technologies.
Currently, since my post-doc in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University concluded in 2018, I’ve been interested in amplifying the idea of theatre and developing multidisciplinary projects crossing time-based media, site-specific performance and installations. I believe there is an urgency to think about the notion of theater as a device to bring a multisensory and interactive experience to the audience, hence we don’t need to be exclusively linked to the idea of traditional theater. That’s why, as a teaching artist, I aim to push the theater’s boundaries and develop projects and ideas in which the student-artist can be able to think and create new forms of expression. This is based in my belief that there is an urgency to reimagine and reinvent a new world. That is, I believe that we change the world when we change the way we experience it. I feel my engagement as a teaching artist is to think, discuss, share and conceive of pieces where the audience can experience different perspectives to see the world.
Broadly speaking, my current interests unfold into two different projects and perspectives which are aesthetically interrelated. The first is more connected to concepts such as scarcity, decolonization, and social engagement. Coming from a developing and formerly colonized country, my work aims to understand possibilities of decolonizing my own body and how this reflects in my work as a teaching artist. Also, considering my reality in Brazil, where I was used to working without many resources, I prefer to work from an outlook of scarcity. This idea is not only coherent with my reality, but it brings to light the concepts of reinvention and reimagination, which are the foundations of my work. I am constantly trying to discuss these ideas in my classes and to bring a non-Western perspective from authors such as Augusto Boal, Ligia Clark, Achille Mbembe, and several post-colonial writers.
The second project is more about the agency among images, sounds, objects, bodies, texts, and space to develop multidisciplinary projects. During my post-doc research, the final project was titled Agency and real-time composition, in which I was interested to understand how the agency of these elements can generate a narrative and a discourse that does not emphasize their possible representations, symbolisms or historicity but highlights their materiality and performativity. It is a research viewpoint that can be discussed and worked through different practical and theoretical courses related to performative theater, practicum production or any technical theatre courses such as lighting, sound, scenic design, and new technologies onstage.