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Ivo Canelas: recognizing fragility “is an act of courage”

Portuguese actor Ivo Canelas considers that recognizing fragility “is an act of courage”, regarding his monologue, on stage in Luanda, arguing that theater also serves to address taboo subjects such as suicide or depression.


Ivo Canelas spoke in an interview with Lusa about the first internationalization of “All the wonderful things”, which he presented in Luanda on Friday and Saturday, a show in which audience and actor, together, reflect on complex themes such as depression, suicide and mental illness, but also survival strategies, such as music “which helps us define who we are over the years”.

Music, a central theme in this monologue written by Duncan MacMillan, is defining of the human essence, and helps to convey what cannot be achieved when words are missing, he said.

Regarding the presentation of the play in Angola, the country he visited for the first time, he said that despite being written by a European author, the British Duncan, it talks about a theme that is universal and understood by all audiences.

“It’s not a European problem, it’s a human problem”, he highlighted, adding that “perhaps it is clearer and more defined in European culture”, due to the way in which a society is being built,” further away from a natural world”, but highlighting that these themes – mental illness, depression, suicide – are transversal to humanity.

The actor confessed that over the four years he has been performing the show, the topic of suicide was what surprised him the most, and is still taboo.

“I thought it was something more distant from us all and I was very surprised by the way most people conveyed to me that they are very close, if it's not family, it's a friend, if it's not a neighbor it's a colleague and that's all. it is no longer close because it is a taboo subject, it is not something that is shared easily”, he expressed.

As for the idea of asking for help, it is still very much linked to weakness, instead of being the opposite, he noted.

“It is an act of courage to recognize our fragility and ask for help”, said the actor.

Ivo Canelas said he believes that art, in general, “has the power to help deal with difficult and complex issues” that touch everyone's lives, and, therefore, can also fulfill a pedagogical function.

“Theatre doesn’t have to be something distant and cold, it should represent our lives and our questions and force us to think about them”, he told Lusa, highlighting that the play allows us to “turn off our heads” over the course of two hours. of everyday problems.

“Because we are put in check when we are in contact with art, with theater, with literature, with music, but in a slightly safer way. It’s us, but it’s not us directly”, added the artist.

As for future internationalizations of “All the Wonderful Things”, he says that the presentation is ending and it is time to do other things.

“It was an absolutely incredible trip, but we are coming to the end, we are now doing Angola, we are still going to the Azores and Madeira, but not much further than that”, said the actor, highlighting that the show has special characteristics that make it more difficult to “travel” it.

Written by Duncan Macmillan, the monologue premiered in Luanda through Camões – Centro Cultural Português after more than 250 shows and around 30,000 spectators in Portugal.

Actor Ivo Canelas was distinguished with the Solo Show Award by the 2020 Theater Guide and “Todas As Ciências Maravilhosas” was included in the list of the 30 Best Shows of 2019 by Comunidade Cultura e Arte.


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