March  2005  | This Issue

Andréa Carvalho

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Scene4 Lingua

Denise Stoklos-Louise Bourgeois does, undoes and redoes. She expresses a single concept: "life-art". Louise says: "I am what I do" while Denise responds: "I do theatre to love" .

Denise Stoklos is performing her one-woman play Louise Bourgeois: Faço, refaço, desfaço (Louise Bourgeois: I do, I undo, I redo) at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, in Rio de Janeiro. It was conceived, choreographed and directed by her. The play  premiered in New York, at  La Mama, four years ago, and now Stoklos performs it for the first time in Brazil.

Denise Stoklos is one of the most  interesting, expressive artists of contemporary theatre. Internationally recognized, over the past  twenty years, she has developed, in theory and practice,  the Essential Theatre, which deals with energy of body, voice and intuition within historical research and references.  Stoklos explains: "To the essential  performer, the instrument is space and how he /she  moves there.  In the Essential Theatre  there are no characters. There is a "persona", an  "embodiment"  of the performer's options,  in the audience's view, during the time of the performance. The performer's gestures correspond to what  emphasis he/she  wants to place,  to be distant from the  primordial desire of the body  to rest in inertia, fall to the ground, join the dust, to stop ".

On the other hand, Louise Bourgeois is one of the most important living artists today. The French-born 92 year old artist  entered Denise's life when the actress  was gifted with a book about Louise's  life and  work. That was an awakening for Denise: "It was a revelation for me to find Louise Bourgeois in 1998. She expresses what I had not thought of expressing. In Louise Bourgeois there is no separation between art and life. She says: 'I am what I do.' This (the play) is not a portrayal of her. This is choreography of her thoughts and an actual embodiment of the ideas and emotions that she gives to us. It is my way of bringing her energy through me back to you."

The energy stream, the revelation, is what we find on stage.  I was extremely touched by those women, a singular,
Denise Stoklos-Louise Bourgeois: a performance in the present where we examine the psychological and internal forces that moved Louise to her "life-art" through time, where we can find it in her work, and in Denise's as well.  Denise Stoklos with great  purpose brings Louise to us. It is impossible not to fall in love with both.

And it was Louise Bourgeois who created the scenery and sings a song which is part of the soundtrack of the play.  The scenery is exhibited  as a work of art, and so it is.  We enter the theatre and see Louise's scenery on stage in all its mystery and we wonder ─ how will Denise move  through it.

The day I met Denise Stoklos-Louise Bourgeois was also the day I encountered a most remarkable experience. It was an experience  of  "Oh, it is touching here, the darkness, she got the details, everything, somebody help me."   That is all a powerful poem can do. 

(All of the Denise Stoklos declarations in this text were taken from her web site -

Louise Bourgeois: Faço, refaço, desfaço

At Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB)/ Rio de Janeiro (
Through  March 27, 2005.
Text, music and set: Louise Bourgeois
Solo play conceived, directed, choreographed and performed by: Denise Stoklos
Photography and light design: Thais Stoklos Kignel
Assistants: Wilson Loria (New York) and  Tereza Freire (São Paulo)
Curators: Jerry Gorovoy and Paulo Herkenhoff
Acknowledgements to: Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Moffatt, Judith Lukoff, Danilo Rocha de Miranda, Laura Biaggi, Leda Martins.


Denise Stoklos Productions/ Brazil: (11) 3868-1580 / 3868-1653
Denise Stoklos:

Home Page:

©2005 Andréa Carvalho

Andréa Carvalho  is a producer, playwright, and writer in Rio de Janeiro. Besides being multi-lingual, she is the "mammy" of two lovely children.

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