A Portuguese-Canadian playwright through theatre is addressing the dangers of Portuguese-Canadians in North America of “losing their culture,” a barrier that “has now been overcome.”
“When we immigrate to a new country, we all run the risk of losing our culture, our own language, what happened to me in the United States, because there is too much pressure to pretend we are not Portuguese,” Explained Elaine Ávila to Lusa.
The theatre teacher at Douglas College in Vancouver, the daughter of emigrants from Pico and Faial (Azores), grew up in California but has been in western Canada for 30 years, The musical ‘Fado – The Saddest Music in the World’ is on display in British Columbia until December and portrays the barriers of Portuguese descendants in either “language or culture”.
“Today we see many emerging writers of Portuguese origin, both in the United States and Canada. It took us several years to overcome barriers such as immigration, schooling, and access to education,” she said.
The Luso-Canadian says she was inspired by some stories of the Portuguese community from senior citizens, the “most beautiful and impressive stories” she has ever seen at the Portuguese Cultural Center in Burnaby (Vancouver).
“Things like a 14-year-old who left home and came to work in Canada across half an ocean, or who saw snow for the first time, which was like flowers falling from the sky. Others arrived in Vancouver, found no work, and went to the beach,” she described.
The play was recognized in 2018 by the Victoria Fringe Festival (British Columbia) with the Best Favorite Musical Award
‘Fado – The Saddest Music in the World’ portrays love and ghosts in the streets and fado houses of ancient Lisbon. The theatre and music show tells the story of a young woman confronting Portugal’s fascist past and her own identity.
From the playwright Elaine Ávila and directed by Mercedes Bátiz-Benét, the musical features fado singer Sara Marreiros, who plays the role of the ‘ghost of Amália Rodrigues’, and also the participation of musicians and actors Natasha Napoleão, Lúcia Frangione, Judd Palmer, Pedro Siqueira, Chris Perrins, and Dan Weisenberger.
The play will be on stage in Vancouver, at the Firehall Art Centre, from November 21 to December 14, 2019