The Theatre of Politics: The Streets as the Stage



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“The truly orphic moment, the scene history is most apt to recall, took place just beyond the designated space of performance, on the sweeping staircase leading up from the lobby to the auditorium doors.” (Townsend 138) At the moment in which the poet, Mário de Andrade, stands at the staircase of the Municipal Theatre in 1922 and reads parts of his works, the audience in the theatre stops to listen as though he is the performer of the night. While the architecture of a theatre intends for the impactful moment to happen at the stage, Andrade challenges that intention by assigning a new performance space in the staircase. There is a disconnect between design and use. In the same way, the disconnect is seen in the Catedral da Sé, the designated seat of ecclesiastical authority. A space originally created for religious control becomes, over the years, a space where the people take control and becomes a spatial expression of political power, first by the church, then by the people. Similarly, the Avenida Paulista, designed as a site for mansions of politically powerful coffee barons, has become the host of numerous movements by the people that ultimately shape the country’s history. This thesis proposes to connect traditional architectural performance in theatre with architecture as an interactive artifact capable of inspiring the social power of the vulnerable masses.



Interactive Theatre, Performative Space