Ana, what is your career path ?
I was trained in visual arts. I started acting more or less at the same time. In 1992 in Lisbon I joined a collective of artists where I met Joao Galante, with which I am collaborating today. In this collective we were all actors, stage directors and costume and set designers. We built everything together. It lasted six years and then the group dissolved. In 2011 we created a multidisciplinary festival which has been happening every year since then in South Portugal.
Aare you a dancer too ?
For me it was different. I trained myself as a dancer in workshops. We had the amazing opportunity to attend high-level workshops hosted by well-known choreographers such as Alain Platel.
What about yours Joao Galante ?
Before I became an actor, I used to be fond of graphic novels. Step by step my drawings became more abstract and I started painting. Ana and I went to the same school. She learnt sculpture and I learnt painting. Not far from our school was a drama school, that’s how we started training in the entertainment business. As far as I was concerned, I chose to train as lighting designer. This is when I discovered acting and felt the urge to try it. Suddenly I knew I wanted to become an actor. Maybe because I am a shy person… I saw a way to open myself to the world. We created a small company called Cosmic Cannibalism whose members were mainly trained in plastic arts. One of us got the opportunity to put up a show in a professional framework and he invited us to join him. This is when we created the Olho collective (meaning eye in Portuguese). We specialized ourselves in a performative theatre and drew inspiration from companies like Fura Dels Baus. Throughout artistic encounters, I felt the need to train as a dancer. To me, it was a way to freely express myself in a very experimental way.
Today even though the collective is dissolved, you still work together. How would you define your work ?
It’s different from what we did at the time. Plastic arts is very important and obvious in the way we produce our shows. Our work is very conceptual. We think, we organize ideas, concepts. Then we put ideas into practice. We work a lot on the relationship with the audience. We question art. What can we do with art ? Can art change things ?
This is the third time we work with the phénix. In 2015, we presented Atlas, a show starring hundreds of non professional actors from the region who told their vision of the territory. In 2017, we presented Gâchette du bonheur in which we worked with people between 18 and 25 years old who were invited to answer questions about their loves stories, their worries and vision of the future.
interview by Natacha Borel