In 2012 I was invited to direct my play Love´s End in Russian at the Moscow Art Theatre. For several weeks I met with more than sixty of the company’s actors. I saw them one by one. In that simple way of meeting someone: by talking. By asking questions. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes for ten minutes, I would talk to them. And a life would appear. Their life. Russia. For the older ones: communist Russia. Some of them had performed before Stalin. But also their life as actors. Every role. Every line. Every character. It was all there. It was all there, in the room where I would meet them: the same room we see in the photo of the first reading of The Seagull, with Chekhov, surrounded by the actors of the original production. Everything was being reconstructed in front of me. Through words. But also through the bodies. When I asked an actress who was almost eighty years old what she had kept in her memory as a leading role, she mentioned Nina in The Seagull. I asked her what she did. She told me that at the end of act two she had to pick up Trigorin’s fishing rod, turn to the audience, pretend to throw the fishing line and say "a dream”. Afterwards the curtain would drop.
So I told her: "Could you re-enact that moment here, in this room?” She stood up and pushed the chairs and the tables. Then she waited for a second with her eyes closed and remade the scene, sixty years after she had performed it. Everything was there. She is twenty years old. Her twenty-year-old body. The whole history of theatre was there. And it was in that precise moment that TEATRO was born. It was the month of February, in Moscow. To do this: to talk to actors. With people who are actors. Actresses. Young. Older ones. With memories. In their body. In their voice. In their eyes: that is, in their visual memories. This actor seen. This actress seen in that role. Everything. All the love of theatre. In one body. In throats. Within chests – that is where emotion lives. In every memorized word. In beloved shows. In shows that turned our lives inside out. That is what TEATRO is: when those who make it turn our lives inside out. Transform our existence.
When Tiago Rodrigues proposed that I would come and do something at the D. Maria II, I asked him: "Will there be an ensemble, a company we could mix with actors outside the National Theatre?” He answered: "Yes.”
So I replied: "Let’s make TEATRO/Portugal.”