Performing Arts

O Mal de Ortov

— A tragicomedy for the uncertain times we live

Galeria Zé dos Bois

A text by Jaime Rocha with staging by Paulo Campos dos Reis.

Jaime Rocha rehearses a characterisation of Ortov: “a character, a scarecrow, a body that walks and gesticulates, an idea, a text, a man, a woman, a wandering being, a puppet, an actor, an armchair, a mirror, a poet, an animal, a tape recorder, a plastic bag, or is it all of that at the same time? Or is it our own life, that of us all, the unsettling present, the uncertain future, good and evil?”

“The actor who will perform under the name of Ortov goes on to relate to the spectators what he heard in the neighbours’ house, the dialogues they had in their daily domestic life, while justifying himself for the fact that he murdered the wife of this couple, showing with this act the social malaise in which one lives. At the same time that he confesses this violent act in public, he promotes his own trial with the help of the spectators in front of the television cameras invited for that purpose. He maintains an expectant attitude throughout the play. He anxiously awaits the arrival of the journalists.”

The first paragraph of the text of “O Mal de Ortov” gives precise indications and the motto for what to expect from this play by Jaime Rocha, published in 2009. Ortov (a character/figure that appears, for more than a decade, in several of the author’s texts) comes to assume the crime he claims to have committed before an audience of spectators (the real audience of each presentation of the show) and a team of journalists (characters that will be intermittently evoked by Ortov throughout the monologue). By means of this simple device that places actor and audience in a permanent dialogical relationship, the playwright rescues the spectator’s participation, asking him to assume the role of privileged confessor/voyeur and, at times, directly interpellating him to take part in the public judgement of the character. The theatre is thus summoned to (re)assume the political place of the Greek agora, a space where the issues of the polis are debated and agonizing decisions are taken – in this case, through a play that, written with the black humour and mordacity that characterizes Jaime Rocha’s theatre, confronts us with some of the burning issues that persist in characterizing our time, like, among others, the spectacularization of the media.


MUSGO is a theatrical creation structure founded in Sintra in 2012. It is annually supported by the Sintra Town Council and the Cultursintra Foundation. It currently has five axis of programming: 1) own production: presentation of theatre shows of mainly Portuguese dramaturgical repertoire, most notably by Jaime Rocha, resident dramaturgist and playwright; 2) co-productions with other creation structures: in October, it premiered the show “Agamémnon”, by Jaime Rocha, in co-production with five Sintra creation structures; 3) internationalization: co-organizes the Salencena Festival, Cape Verde, and presents shows in an international context (Angola, Cape Verde, Macau) with the support of the Camões Institute or other institutions or creation structures; 4) School training: has a collaboration protocol with the Santa Maria Secondary School that aims the training in a work context (professional internship) of its students of the Professional Course of Performing Arts – Interpretation (Web Project). 5) Annual edition of “MUSGO LIVRO”, magazine/book that gathers dramaturgical material about its repertoire (unpublished images or informative, literary and essayistic texts).

Musgo e Jaime Rocha

“O Construtor”. Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra.
“Ortov Sai do Escuro” de Jaime Rocha. Quinta da Ribafria, Sintra.
“do outro lado, o Muro” a partir de “O Terceiro Andar”. Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval, Sintra (Projecto Teias).
“Contaminação” a partir de “15 Minutos de Glória”. Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval, Sin-tra (Projecto Teias).

“Ortov Sai do Escuro” de Ricardo Reis. Teatro Nacional D. Maria II (Lisboa). (Vídeo)

“O Construtor” de Jaime Rocha. Escolas do concelho de Sintra.
“Mulher Inclinada Com Cântaro”. Biblioteca Municipal da Nazaré, Sociedade de In-strução Guilherme Cossoul, Lisboa.
“O Estendal e Outros Contos”. Feira do Livro da Nazaré.
“Poemas da Mulher e do Náufrago”. Biblioteca da Nazaré, Livraria Snob, Lisboa.
“Poesia de Jaime Rocha”. Poetas do Povo, Lisboa.

“Fragmento Ilíada”. Escola Secundária de Santa, Sintra (Projecto Teias).

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