All Fictions Are Biographical -
An open conversation around the history and practices of the Ueinzz Theatre Company – a radical Brazilian schizoscenic theatre company of carers, so-called psychotic patients and philosophers.Read
What we wrote at the time: When we met with Ueinzz in São Paulo, they asked us whether we were trying to recover something from deep inside ourselves by inviting them to Scotland. What did we see in them? What do they see in us? If we start to share our histories and entanglements, where might that lead us?
Overflowing the walls of the psychiatric institution where they were founded (in São Paulo, in 1996) the Ueinzz Theatre Company meet on a weekly basis, in what you could call a schizoscenic project – an ongoing theatrical rehearsal as a way of caring. We think of it as a kind of sociality: not a fixed place or a community, but a set of ever-changing relationships between users of mental health services, therapists, actors, so-called psychotic patients, carers, philosophers, and people whose life hangs by a thread. Informed by radical ideas of care they practice this sociality, trying it out, reinventing it – the flows and worldviews produced in supposed ‘illnesses’ amplified into a theatre capable of reversing power over life into the potential of life. They reveal the disturbing ‘normality’ that surrounds us every day.
Ueinzz – The name and its origins
During one of the first rehearsals, the directors proposed a classic exercise about the different ways of communication available among living beings – some communicate with gestures, others making faces, with sounds, humans use language. It was asked which language each of them spoke, and one patient who used to only let out indistinct growls immediately answered, with great clarity and assertiveness, generally uncommon in him
to general surprise, no one knew he spoke german. – and what words do you know in german?
– and what does ueinzz mean in german?
here is language that means itself, the language that rolls upon itself, esoteric language, mysterious, glossolalic…
Some weeks after that, inspired by the material collected in the labs, the directors present their script proposal to the group: a nomad troupe, lost in the chaos of desert, goes off in search of a luminous tower (Babelin), and on the way encounters obstacles, entities, storms. amidst the wandering, the troupe also runs across an oracle, who in his enigmatic language indicates the path which suits the wanderers best. the actor to play the oracle is promptly appointed: the one who speaks german. When asked where this Babelin tower is, he’s supposed to reply: ueinzz. the patient quickly incorporates the part, everything matches, the intense black hair and mustache, the small and bulky figure of a turkish Buddha, his wary and schizo manners, the vague and inquisitive look, of one who is engaged in never-ceasing conversation with the invisible. It is true that he is whimsical, when asked: great oracle of Delphi, where does Babelin tower lie?, at times he answers with silence, at other times with a growl, at others he says germany, or Baurú, until he is asked more specifically, great oracle, what is the magic word in german? and then it comes, infallible, the ueinzz all are waiting for. anyhow, the most inaudible of patients, he will be given the crucial assignment of indicating the nomad people toward the exit from Darkness and chaos. after pronounced, his magic word must proliferate through the loudspeakers and scattered around the theater, spinning in concentric circles and amplifying in vertiginous echoes, ueinzz, ueinzz, ueinzz.
the ordinary voice that was disdained in the Hospital because it was not even heard, would there find, in the space of theatre, an extraordinary reverberation, a magical-poetic effectiveness. the first show was called ueinzz – (no one knew how to write it) some time afterward the troupe was baptized, and remains till the present day:
the Ueinzz theatre company…
Members of Ueinzz joining us in Glasgow this April are: Arthur Amador, Alexandre Bernardes, Carla Bottiglieri, Leonardo Lui Cavalcanti, Onés Cervelin, Luis Guilherme Cunha, Petronio Fantasea, Adelia Faustino, Pedro França, Paula Francisquetti, Ana Goldenstein, Eduardo Lettiere, Valéria Manzalli, Laiza Menegassi, Jayme Menezes, Simone Mina, Amélia Monteiro and Peter Pál Pelbart. Also joining the company for their time in Glasgow will be Cristina Ribas.
The Ueinzz Theatre Group were interviewed in The List in advance of the Episode by Gareth K Vile.