In 1977, Austrian author Thomas Bernhard wrote Minetti. In this play, an old actor waits in vain for a theatre director who had promised him a new chance to play the role of his life, Shakespeare’s King Lear.
In Calvário [Calvary], written and staged by Rodrigo Francisco, a public theatre is preparing a staging of Bernhard’s play, but the shadow of a major collective disaster hangs over the proceedings. The actor hired to play the main role was a last-minute replacement, and his mythomania and insolence make him a sort of mirror reflection of the character. The rest of the cast is unhappy, the assistant director is angry at certain passages in the text, the director is losing interest in his work.
A play within a play, this Minetti becomes a “calvary”, a term that, in old Portuguese theatrical jargon, described those lines that actors tended to forget during rehearsals and such other setbacks. A show about the theatre, Calvário ponders the workings and meanings of this “treacherous art”, as Bernhard’s Minetti called it.