Branca de Neve (Snow White)
nytheatre.com review by Terri Galvin
August 15, 2004
Does anyone else weaned on Disney have issues with Snow White? Virtuous little raven-haired girl gets locked in a tower and narrowly escapes peril in the forest, only to wind up cooking, cleaning, and keeping house for seven height-challenged, oddly named, whistling work-aholics. And when a poisoned apple finally puts the poor gal out of her misery, she gets revived only to cook, clean, and keep house for yet some other guy. Come on, kids! Even pathetic little Cinderella got to glam it up at a swell society event.
For a less depressing version, be sure to catch Branca de Neve, David Pratt’s and Rogerio M. Pinto’s outrageous retelling of this classic from a distinctly Brazilian, and undeniably… um, … “modern” perspective.
As introduction, Pratt explains how he was intrigued that many of the same fairy tales he grew up with in America were also part of Pinto’s Brazilian childhood traditions. Wouldn’t it be fun to share some of these Brazilian versions with American audiences? Branca de Neve is the third of these projects (following “The Three Little Pigs” and “Little Red Riding Hood”) and is preceded by a brief vocabulary lesson conducted by Pratt and our evening’s fabulous hostess, the dazzling (if a tad husky) Senhora Mary Anne de Anne MacLane-Paris.
And so Pratt begins his tale, as promised, in Portuguese, with hilarious, larger-than-life gestures, facial expressions, and different character voices enabling us not only to keep up with the plot, but also to enjoy a good laugh along the way. Until, that is, the scandalous Senhora introduces some emphatically “alternative” new props. Pratt and the diva bicker furiously (and, to us, incomprehensibly) over this change, but the incorrigible Senhora is evidently used to getting her own way. Thus, when the dust settles, we’re treated to the revisionist and risqua Snow White and the Seven Battery-Operated Devices more commonly associated with Samantha on Sex and the City.
No cooking and cleaning for this Branca de Neve. (Sna-ap!)
Will Prince Charming be able to compete with Snowie’s newly discovered “distractions?” Will Senhora Mary Anne’s histrionics allow the beleaguered Pratt to finish his story? Will the dyspeptic officer from NENE (National Endowment for Nice Entertainment) follow through on her threat to shut down the performance for decency violations? Fear of the hot-blooded Senhora prevents me from revealing any further surprises, but, providing you don’t blush easily, you might want to find out for yourself at this exceedingly naughty, over-the-top romp.
Somewhere in the verdant hills of California, poor old Walt must be spinning in his grave. But since his 360’s are no doubt keeping time with a quivering samba beat straight out of Carnevale, it’s all excelente, nao?