The director of the play ‘Um slave called Esperança’, Valdisom Braga, confirmed that he will keep ex-BBB and actress Gyselle Soares in the role of slave Esperança Garcia, even after criticism. The choice of the show’s protagonist was a reason for protest at the first performance, in Teresina.
Black movement activists protested last Tuesday (12), in front of Teatro 4 de Setembro, at the time the play was being presented. The controversy raised by activists was that there was a “whitening” of Esperança Garcia, who is the first black lawyer in Piauí.
- Who is Esperança Garcia, the enslaved woman considered the first lawyer in Piauí
- ‘I consider myself of all colors,’ says ex-BBB Gyselle Soares
At g1, Valdisom Braga said that the piece still does not have a set date for a new presentation, as it does not have public incentives or sponsorship.
“We are circulating without any incentive and there is no sponsorship. We go wherever we have the opportunity to create a discussion. We intend to make other presentations in the South of the country and wherever we are invited. We are adjusting the dates, because Gyselle has other commitments, such as the launch of her book”, highlighted Valdisom Braga.
The show was written by screenwriter Roberto Rowtree, who participated in the first presentation virtually directly from Rio de Janeiro, as he was in social isolation due to flu-like symptoms.
“We understand that this discussion is valuable, when all peoples manage to understand that everyone can raise the banner of inclusion and Brazil is a democratic country. We have a phrase in the script that exemplifies what happens: ‘injured people, they hurt and they can’t hear’”, justified the director about the attacks they have received for choosing the actress.
Valdsom is the director and screenwriter of the play that also stars with actress Gyselle Soares — Photo: Reproduction Instagram
Valdisom Braga also highlighted that despite Gyselle having said “be of all colors”, she considers herself brown.
“Gyselle’s grandmother is black and she declares herself brown. She is not in this role by chance. I realized that in the reality show it was precisely because of the prejudice she suffered in the house until the final. Being from the Northeast, the way she spoke, there were seven walls, but Gyselle stayed because the public felt represented. In Europe too. So it has everything to do with the role and the discussion that we want to raise with the play”, explained the director.
Who is Esperança Garcia?
Esperança Garcia was a black woman enslaved on the Algodões farm, near the municipality of Oeiras. She became known after writing a letter (check it out in full at the end of the article) to the governor of the captaincy of Piauí, denouncing the sufferings he was going through in the house of his masters. In the text written on September 6, 1770, she asked the government to take action.
Illustration by Esperança Garcia produced by the institute that bears his name, in Teresina — Photo: Reproduction/Instituto Esperança Garcia
The letter was found in 1979 in the public archive of Piauí, by researcher and historian Luiz Mott. In September 2017, 247 years after the letter was written, at the request of the Truth Commission on Black Slavery in Piauí, Esperança Garcia was recognized by the OAB/PI as the first lawyer from Piauí.
In a handwritten letter, Garcia denounces mistreatment — Photo: Reproduction/TV Clube
Check out Esperança Garcia’s letter:
“I’m a slave in the administration of Captain Antônio Vieira de Couto. He took me away from Fazenda dos Algodões, where I lived with my husband to work as a maid. I don’t do well here. The first of the great sufferings is that my son suffered many beatings and he’s just a child. They even drew blood from his mouth. I can’t even explain it to me, but to them I look like a punching bag, so much so that I once fell off the top of the house. I only escaped by the mercy of God. is that I have my sins to confess for three years and three more children to baptize. I pray for the love of God that you look after me and ask the procurator to send me back to the house where they took me from my husband’s side and of my daughter”.
Yours his slave, Esperanca Garcia.
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