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Nº 144 – Salazar in fancy dress?

Saturday the 4th of March 2023.

The other day I received a strange phone call relating to the theatre review we published last week. „This is not what we agreed!“ – the caller shouted into the phone and into my ear. First off I increased the distance of the phone to my ear and replied that nothing had been agreed as to the review, as I don’t enter into any agreements when I write something. Freedom of thought reigns supreme, both for the theatre as for the press. Or am I wrong? 25 April forever!

If you ask me, I think it’s a mistake on the part of the director of a play to tell viewers a fairytale using fiction based on reality. If, that is, the latter is manipulated, using a pretty lie featuring recycling as the solution. That was all I had to say really.

And I explained my point of view, which is that as a matter of principle I don’t write any review if I haven’t seen the dress rehearsal. And not even the most fabulicious press release will change that …

So I invite myself to the dress rehearsal of a piece I’m interested in and try to take pictures of the protagonists acting out the scenes of the play. I’m not allowed even that, with the rider that I may choose some pictures from the theatre’s collection. So how far does the freedom of the press reach in Lagos on the beautiful Algarve in the Year of the Lord 2023?

Before writing the review, i.e. on the very day of the dress rehearsal, I was cordially invited to watch the play’s first night at the theatre. It’ll be a pleasure, I replied. Over the phone then I was subsequently asked to remove the story from our publication as it takes a critical look at the issue of plastic recycling. For not all plastics are created equal, and it is a material that is difficult to recycle. So why not avoid plastics altogether, why not boycott plastics? Why postulate something that has been demanded for over 30 years now, something that Nestlé and companies of that ilk are creating massive problems for our nature with … In this way, the lobby of the plastics industry (oil and chemicals) reaches the small theatre in Lagos, surreptitiously slipping an untruth into the plot…

A theatre play looking at the issue of waste is offering up recycling as the solution? I have to inform the director that plastics aren’t recycled but rather thrown away or exported to the Far East. This, unfortunately,l is the reality. For plastics cannot be recycled – at the most we are talking about „downcycling” which is why ever more plastic items are produced by the industry, flooding the oceans, beaches, nature and the rubbish tips on this Earth. Our world is bursting at the seams with plastic waste.

End of story: ECO123 is disinvited from watching the first night performance. The tickets held back for us at the box office are cancelled, the phone call finished. Ta very much, Alice in Wonderland… There is a huge difference between bought advertising and living journalism, but the news hasn’t quite reached Lagos yet. This is something journalists have to live with these days. After all, it’s not so long ago that Salazar put on some fancy dress to join the carnival throng. And lo and behold, he wasn’t recognised …

Uwe Heitkamp (62)

trained TV journalist, book author and hobby botanist, father of two grown-up children, knows Portugal for 30 years, founder of ECO123. Translations: Dina Adão, John Elliot, Ruth Correia, Patrícia Lara, Kathleen Becker
Photos:Maria Clara Villa-Lobos; Faksimile Screenshots vom Video https://vimeo.com/244265258


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