Miss Margarida's Way

Education. An important tool in anyone's box that can aid the intellectual development of any student of any age. However, 5GO Theatre Company bring us a different interpretation of a classroom situation under a rather unique teacher called Miss Margarida. Over fifty years ago, Roberto Althayde wrote a powerful play called Miss Margarida's Way, in reaction to a corrupt usage of power in Brazil under dictatorship at the time. It satirises the abuse of power in any situation, whether it be family, religion, education, sex and more, using Miss Margarida's charismatic character as a symbol of how that power dynamic can change so abruptly that you do not know where you stand in it.

Drake has created something that is intense, but exciting to watch

Director, Julie Drake, explores the idea of what might happen if there were two sides to Miss Margarida. Instead of one woman playing her, she uses two dynamic actresses in the form of Hannah Luna and Leena Markoff to discover what would happen if these two sides were actually present at this very moment in time. Doing it this way runs the risk of being a distraction, but interestingly it adds another layer to the mix in the sense of the two sides to her becoming in a way almost schitzophrenic. One voice appears to charm one moment, then the other abruptly changes becoming more frustrated and angry that she is not being heard, or her needs not being met. Traditionally, one woman plays this character with all the different themes that emerge through a sense of sexual repression and that aforementioned frustration as she tries to maintain a sense of decorum teaching children Biology. With there being two women playing the same role, everything becomes doubled! Double the charm, anger and more importantly... power play.

Luna and Markoff respectively bring a fluid energy to the piece, that once you get used to the fact they are playing the same character (or twins if you want to use more of a literal interpretation), they become so entwined with the power that it becomes an experience that is beyond a normal classroom situation. It becomes a platform to explore ethics, sexuality and morals that sadly today globally are still extremely relevant. The two of them are not afraid to go to the deepest, darkest aspects of their souls when they become triggered by something someone did or didn't say. When paired with the one single male pupil (Hugo Linton), they immediately switch from being a teacher, to a bully. This adds a darker edge to this satirical observational comedy and makes us question the idea of power over children and whether we actually have choices after being 'forced' into this world as we get older.

Drake has created something in Miss Margarida's Way that is intense, but exciting to watch and discover something new.

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Reviews by Sascha Cooper

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Performances

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The Blurb

Miss Margarida's Way by Roberto Athayde Directed by Julie Drake Miss Margarida is your teacher. Wildly unpredictable and bursting with sexual frustration, she hurls her theories at her students with a mix of seduction and aggression. Her curriculum is unique; her lessons funny and insane; her methods sacrosanct. Join her Year 8 class and experience education the Miss Margarida way. This darkly hilarious satire on dictatorship uses Miss Margarida’s classroom to explore the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed, with her pupils as her subjects. Miss Margarida bullies, taunts and cajoles. She is an engaging monster - the embodiment of autocracy gone mad. Originally written as a tour de force for one actress, our production uses two. “It’s an innovative technique, and one that works superbly” (Steve Caplin – Everything Theatre) Hanna Luna and Leena Makoff (“pitch-perfect performances” - Everything Theatre) take on the role of Miss Margarida. The Audience, along with Hugo Linton, become her students for her two outrageous lessons. The play was written in 1971 as an allegory about totalitarianism and a satire on the politics of the dictatorship that Roberto Athayde found on his return to Brazil. It was initially banned in Brazil. Sadly, it seems just as relevant today in the light of recent world events... This production contains strong and abusive language. Its themes are those of oppression and dictatorship and Miss Margarida's opinions are not those of 5Go.

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