Torres, Fernanda. “Glory and its Litany of Horrors”, Restless Books, 2019
From Lear to Sodom
Fernanda Torres, Brazilian actress and bestselling author, gives us a very funny look at the art and artifice of acting. Mario Cardoso is an actor who has everything going for him: fame, acclaim, a great lifestyle and artistic achievement. His crowning glory is to be his staging a production of Shakespeare’s “King Lear”. Everything is going wonderfully until he sees his co-star dressed as chicken with a diaper and he begins to laugh hysterically. In fact, this happens during each performance.
Then his troubles begin. He gets a call telling him that his mother has been found unconscious on a beach in Rio. He abandons Lear (and his career) and goes to her and becomes involved in the kind of family drama he had been determined to leave behind. His first chance at recovering his career comes in a biblical role in an evangelical TV station’s production of a soap opera, “Sodoma”. He has a torrid affair, finds love, and signs a deal with the country’s biggest TV network for steady work in soap operas. His new life brings him fame and money that theater could never match but … the compromises he’s made in the past come back to bite him and his next stage set will be one he never could have thought of.
Torres has something to say about the commercialization of the arts as seen through the life of Mario Cardoso, a middle-aged actor who experiences success and the downfall of the profession. He was really unable to get a grasp on the tragedy of Lear, a role for many that is the apex of a career. Set in Brazil in the 60s, we are aware of the horrors of the times. Mario’s personal history runs parallel to what was happening in Rio at the time and it seems that the horrors of the city manifested themselves in him. The political configurations of the government directly influenced the state of the arts. Brazil from 1964-1985 was under a repressive governmental regime, a military dictatorship that infiltrated the New Cinema and
The background of The Glory and its procession of horrors is the Brazil of the 60s. The history that goes largely in the city of Rio de Janeiro, narrates in conjunction with the history of the actor and the theater, the political configurations of the time. The cultural political pieces facing the repressive regime of the Military Dictatorship (1964-85), social context, the incursion into the New Cinema and the savage capitalist system of the time. We feel this throughout the read. Without letting on too much about the plot, I believe that it is fair to say that the book is fun, both comedy and tragedy as we go on a tour through the history of Brazilian dramaturgy and dramatization which are related to us by a wretched actor, but it is not much more than that. Quite basically, this is the story of a politically committed young actor who ends up being disillusioned with the idea that art can change the world. It follows worldly success, novels, commercials, as life collapses.
some situations (and people) as told humorously and in an ironic, sometimes ridiculous tone. It is a good-humored view of things that is far more interesting than a depressing and nostalgic view and it keeps the story light.