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© Joseph Banderet

Catarina and the Beauty of Killing Fascists

Tiago Rodrigues

It’s a family tradition: once a year, they all get together and kill a fascist. Gathered once again for the big day in the idyllic Portuguese countryside, the clan is eager to initiate one of its youngsters into this important ritual. For no less than 70 years, this is how they have honoured the memory of Catarina Eufémia, a farm worker brutally slain under Salazar’s dictatorship. But this year’s chosen Catarina, gnawed by doubt, is reluctant to shoot the fascist kidnapped for the occasion. What if killing is not a brave act of resistance, as proclaimed by revolutionary lore, but simply a crime?

Following the brilliant By Heart (2015) and the sublime Antony and Cleopatra (2017), Tiago Rodrigues and his eight exceptional actors offer FTA audiences a gripping experience—a political theatre where ideologies and worldviews collide.

General info

About the artist

© Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Tiago Rodrigues (Lisbon + Avignon)

After his tenure as artistic director of the Teatro Nacional D. Maria II in Lisbon from 2015 to 2021, Rodrigues took over the reins of the Festival d’Avignon in September 2022, becoming the first foreign artist to helm the prestigious French institution.

Full biography

Media Coverage

“As a rule, Rodrigues isn’t a showy director: He is a humanist at heart, preoccupied with empathy and the ways in which today’s world undermines it. His actors tend to address the audience frontally yet modestly, as if asking us to bear witness to each character’s doubts and flaws. […] Complexity is always the answer in Rodrigues’s work — and it is one of the best ways to the audience’s heart.

Laura Capelle, The New York Time (United States), 20-10-2022

“With the hijacking of utopia, what is left for youth except rage and despair? A dramaturge tackling such questions forces us to face our own doubts, addressing us without avoiding subjects we may find disturbing. Tiago Rodrigues touches us where it hurts—where politicians, for the most part, have given up.”

Marie-José Sirach, L’Humanité (France), 17-10-2022

“Brought to life by actors of the highest calibre, the play elicited strong reactions from Portuguese audiences.”

Fabienne Pascaud, Télérama (France), 26-10 2022

« Intense, véhémente, souvent drôle, la pièce déroule de multiples fils dramaturgiques : le poids de la famille, la puissance de la parole comme alternative à la violence, le choix de l’individu face au dilemme, la définition même de justice. Mais Tiago Rodrigues ne donne ni de leçons ni de réponses toutes faites. Il nous confronte à nos propres contradictions, à nos interrogations. Du grand théâtre. »

Natacha Rossel, La Tribune de Genève (Switzerland), 02-10-2020

« Dans un décor de quasi-conte de fées, dominé par une maison de bois amovible, la troupe portugaise fait merveille, alternant exaltation, désespoir, mais aussi drôlerie et tendresse. De la jeune Beatriz Maia (Catarina) à Romeu Costa (impressionnant « fasciste »), les huit comédiens épousent toutes les nuances, les silences et les malaises volontaires d’une pièce coup de poing. Un coup de poing qui nous propulse au bord du gouffre dans lequel beaucoup sont déjà tombés. »

Philippe Chevilley, Les Échos (France), 11-10-2022

« Croisant une mémoire intime et l’histoire nationale, entremêlant passé, présent et futur, Tiago Rodrigues compose, dans des tableaux de toute beauté scénographiés par Fernando Ribeiro, ce qui relève à la fois d’un huis clos familial, d’une cellule révolutionnaire et, dans son adresse frontale au public, d’une assemblée citoyenne. »

Marina Da Silva, Le Monde Diplomatique (France), 14-10-2022


“The world of fiction, in which I still believe as a theatre artist, allows certain things that aren’t possible in politics. Like this completely absurd and truly awful question, “Should the fascist be killed or not?” Only the theater can create a context in which that question exists.”

Read the interview