Review Fix Exclusive: Andressa Furletti Talks ‘Inside the Wild Heart’ And More
By Patrick Hickey Jr.
Review Fix chats with “Inside the Wild Heart” Artistic Director Andressa Furletti, who discusses the production and what it means to her.
About Inside the Wild Heart:
INSIDE THE WILD HEART is an immersive theatrical experience based on the works of Clarice Lispector, Brazil’s most acclaimed female writer, presented in New York in 2016 and 2018. The show transported the audience directly inside Lispector’s heart creating an experience that encouraged them to engage with literature on a sensory level. Now the 2018’s filmed performance is available for viewers around the world through the gather.town platform, allowing the audience to navigate through the three virtual floors of Aich Studio, a preserved 19th-century space in the heart of Gramercy Park. Similar to the live show, the audience will be able to access 11 different journeys and choose whom to follow, where to go, and how much time to spend in each room. In doubt of what to do just ask “If you were you, how would you be and what would you do?”
Through December 20th
Thursday and Friday
7pm (NY) 21hrs (Brazil) 1am (Europe)
Saturday and Sunday
1pm (NY) 15h (Brasil) 7pm (Europe)
7pm (NY) 21h (Brasil) 1am (Europe)
*December 10th with talkback with the cast
Tickets are $20-$50 and are now available online at www.Group.BR.com.
Running Time: 2 hours
Review Fix: What inspired this production?
Andressa Furletti: Doing a show on Clarice Lispector was one of the possible ideas we had back in 2015. We knew a bit about her work but when we started to dig into her life and more about her work we got a big spark. She was a woman totally ahead of her time with a very unique voice, an immigrant who ended up in Brazil as an infant as her family was scaping the Pogrom, her stream of consciousness is often compared with Virginia Wolf and James Joyce, and she is considered by some people as the most important Jewish writer after Kafka.
In Clarice Lispector’s writing, the narrative is not what is more important, but the feelings and sensations that she provokes in her writing. It also feels very intimate and conversational, as if someone was just whispering in your ear about your most deep thoughts. It is also very common to have different passages of one book to speak to you every time you re-read it. Clarice also spent a lot of time writing from home and didn’t have a very busy social life, except during the years she was married to a diplomat, but she hated that. All that served as the base for the concept of the show: an immersive show that happens in a house, where different scenes happen at the same time and the narrative is not the most important thing, the sensations are. In Inside the Wild Heart, the audience makes their own journey by choosing who to follow, where to go, how long to stay in each room, and if they want to interact or not.
Because 2020 marks the centennial of Clarice Lispector we wanted to bring this show back to life, but when the pandemic hit it made it impossible. Right in the beginning, we thought about streaming it as many companies did with their shows, but how to do that and still be loyal to some elements of the show was a problem. Then we were invited to speak in an online event for immersive theater creators called This Immersive Globe and they hosted the event in a new platform called Gather Town. I was ecstatic because right away I thought “This is it! This is how we can stream the show!”. It works on a computer browser and looks like a videogame, when you enter you get an avatar to move in a multilevel virtual space. On each floor, there is a video streaming of the performance and they are synched so people can again choose what to watch and for how long. They can also see videos from the installations, see photos of the set, write notes, draw and even interact with other audience members. Of course, many elements such as tat, smell, and touch are missing, but we are super excited to be able to share this show on this platform and make it available globally!
Review Fix: How is this better than a traditional theater production?
Furletti: I’m not sure if you are asking about being immersive or being online so I’ll answer both and you can choose what suits you.
About being immersive:
I don’t believe one format, in general, is better than the other, I believe certain formats can suit better a production or not. In this case, we just couldn’t see it in a conventional theater, with this gap between actors and audience. We needed the proximity, the complicity, and the intimacy. Clarice’s works also call for some disorientation and in the show, we remind the audience that “Getting lost is also a way”.
About being online:
I personally don’t believe and online play can excel an in-person play. But one thing is true, it opens an opportunity to share the work beyond your local community. I watched many shows during the pandemic from other cities, even other countries. Shows I couldn’t see if it wasn’t for the online experience. And some I liked the experience quite a lot! I’m sure I would enjoy the live performance much better, but to have a chance to see it is fantastic! And for the online version of Inside the Wild Heart, I feel just the same. We are having people from all over the world come to see it who wouldn’t be able to see it otherwise.
Review Fix: Would you consider working like this after the pandemic is over?
Furletti: I would, although I think that for a long time people, including me, will be craving in-person live events so much that it might take some time until we venture into the online world again. But who knows? 2020 taught us a big lesson about changing plans and adapting to a new reality fast, it’s hard to predict what the world will be in a year.
Review Fix: What is the cast like?
Furletti: It was a dream cast! They brought so much to the play. We always work collaboratively, there is always room for the actor to be the creator and in this show, this was very central. In Inside the Wild Heart, each actor takes on an important theme in Clarice Lispector’s writing such as faith, solitude, madness, music, freedom. We cast the show before selecting all the texts so the final selection was made with the cast in mind, and some of them even suggested texts and specific cuts during a creative residency. They definitely have an artistic voice in the show, not just with their acting. It is a joy for us to work like that because the work becomes much richer when many people bring their creativity to the table.
Review Fix: How do you want this production to be remembered?
Furletti: As an entry door to Clarice Lispector’s literary work and to Brazilian culture in general. And also as a play that moved them in some way. In what way? That is totally individual.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Furletti: We’re working on a tour of Inside the Wild Heart in Brazil and hopefully, we will start research for our new show soon.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Furletti: Also because of the pandemic we launched an initiative to support Brazilian artists in NY, the Group .BR NY Brazilian Artists Fund. This fund will allow us to offer a one-time, first-come-first-served $250 donation to Brazilian artists in New York impacted by COVID-19. Also, it will support Group .BR’s operations and online programming during restricted times of face-to-face events allowing us to pay the artists involved.
In these challenging times artists have stepped up to uplift our spirits with online programming and live streaming events, and we are all talking about books, films, series, music, and all art forms that are supporting us. The importance of art is right on our faces. I invite everyone to show appreciation and give back support to artists in need.
On December 10th we’re having a 16h long event celebrating Clarice Lispector’s 100º birthday. Only one event is in English but people can check out the line up and more information here: https://www.group.br.com/diadeclarice