FOLIA, centred on plays and performances with marionettes, arose in 2017 out of the convergent interests of a theatre artist, José Henrique Neto, and a drawing and ceramics artist, Diogo Vaz Cavaleiro. Our aim is to explore the aesthetic and performative potentials of the diverse kinds of marionettes and manipulation of objects, either alone or in combination with actors, dancers, musicians and circus artists.
We started off with Auto da Índia by Gil Vicente. This 1509 Carnival farce satyrises the overturning of traditional costum brought about by the mirage of quick enrichment in the Orient; it portrays a country bled dry of valid men and ruled by lonely women. Our version resulted from that reading of the play – two bearded men in women’s dresses, on stilts, literally manipulate all the male characters, portrayed by puppets. The show has been presented at Museu do Oriente, Palácio Nacional de Sintra, Teatro da Comuna, Museu do Circo in Lousã, in AvanTeatro (Festa do Avante), Palácio da Independência in Lisbon, and various festivals, including the prestigious BIME-the Évora Marionette Biennale in 2021. The show has since been enriched with live music, with original compositions by João Lima and José Henrique Neto. In 2021, João Lima was replaced by Ricardo Quinteira.
In May 2018 we incorporated under the name Folia Etcetera, Lda, and RTP África broadcast a 30 min documentary on our work, Os Bonecreiros da Folia.
In August-September 2018 we presented at Lisbon’s St. George’s Castle Cena de Saltimbancos – tragicomédia com Marionetas (Mountebanks – a tragicomedy with puppets), a performance on the move through different areas within the castle. We invited the actor Eduardo Molina and the circus artist Daniel Seabra to jon us. From this site-specific creation, two components emerged that we have gone on developing: a mountebank wagon that folds out as a theatre, and the Witches show, which mixes mask, marionette and juggling techniques.
LUÍS RATINHO. Luís started working with FOLIA in 2019 as our trusted Sound Technician and assistant in all matters technical. But from the start his professional and personal commitment went well beyond a mere collaboration, and especially throughout the COVID crisis – over one year of uncertainties and without live shows – he was our mainstay. In short, he was already a full partner before he took half the shares on May 25th, 2021.
“IRACEMA” – Just as “Auto da Índia” is a Portuguese classic, “Iracema” is a Brazilian classic. In December 2021 we added to our repertory this adaptation of the story for children.
In parallel with a new shadow puppet show in preparation, “The Mantis and the Moon“ – adapted from a short story by Marguerite Poland inspired by Bushman (San) lore -, we also offer various types of small or bigger-than-life creatures found in the events entertainment page.