You are at: home » theater » plays » vidigal  

Claimed as and having been the first Brazilian novel, "Memórias de Um Sargento de Milícias" narrates a period in Brazil's history very similar to, well, to everything that's around now, except that today it's more complex, more technological and more violent. Manuel Antônio de Almeida, writing a column in a daily newspaper, played the game of not offending the authorities and "the establishment".

In 1966 we adapted MAA's novel as a play staged in the Largo do Boticário, directed by Geraldo Queiroz. We didn't expect the show's success, the main attraction being that the cast was Black: the young Antônio Pitanga, the young Milton Gonçalves, the young Procópio Mariano, the young Jorge Coutinho and the young (very beautiful) Esmeralda Barros. You may not believe it but, forty years ago, everybody was young.

Twenty years later, more or less, with the enthusiastic production of Carlos (Carlão) Kroeber, unforgettable character in the theatre world, Gianni Rato as director and myself as author, we again took up the story, this time entitled Vidigal the name of the bigger-than-life sergeant, main character in MAA's novel.. By unanimous vote (Gianni Rato and I) we sought out to compose the music for the show, a unanimous figure in the music tribe. Carlinhos Lyra accepted. From which came 18 songs, each ONE of the highest quality. (Or "fine cookie", as Oswaldo de Andrade would have said.)

Popular songs are composed in every way possible. The musician alone, writing music and lyrics, the musician and the lyricist working together, the lyricist putting words to music already written (Carinhoso is a classic example) and, perhaps the hardest part for the musician, the musician composing for lyrics already written. That was the case in Vidigal. For me, it was easy, because Carlinhos Lyra modified things here and there always consulting me where the occasional tonics didn't fit, he'd show me. Little by little, the songs began to create the atmosphere of the play, the setting and the personalities. MAA's characters (conceived in an era of natural restrictions) grew more sensual, the characters a little more brazen, more true-to-life.

Well, there have never been ingenuous periods at any point in history. What there have been are a bunch of hypocritical periods. In fact, almost all. But in the attics and on the terraces, in the basements and in the gardens, men and women, boys and girls, young ladies and gentlemen have always found a manner and a way to go to pot. Nobody can argue with libido. Lyra captured the mood.

After not too long, the songs were ready: Como, como, como! (How, how, how!), Milícias e Malícias (Militias and Malices), Ditadura tem hora (Dictatorship has its place), Qual, Qual, Qual (Which, what, who), and Carioca de Algema (The Handcuffed Carioca), which, to my enormous
satisfaction, became the name of one of Lyra's CDs and also baptized the band of his daughter, singer Kay Lyra.

This doesn't happen to just anyone. I was touched. After writing 18 songs with Carlinhos Lyra, I started to walk around with a little of that cockiness typical of Vinícius.

Millôr Fernandes

Song Search