The Normal Girl and The Pea

Stage Direction + Set Design + Text

Set Design Sketches & Props Construction

Musical Theatre | The Normal Girl and The Pea – Children’s theater for brave adults

Music > Paulo Freitas | Lyrics > Patricia Franco, Pedro Ribeiro | Book > Patricia Franco, Pedro Ribeiro | Stage Director & Set Designer > Pedro Ribeiro | Music Director > Paulo Freitas | Costumes Designer > Leticia dos Santos |Cast > Andreia França (violin), Marta Costa (actress), Patrícia Franco (actress), Paulo Freitas (piano), Pedro Silva (voice-over) | Lighting & Sound > Francisco Rebelo, Bruno Bernardo | Puppets > Samantha de Jesus | Co-producers >  Os Quatro Ventos Theater Company, Narciso Ferreira Theater | Fabrica de Santo Thyrso, Teatro Narciso Ferreira, Sto Tirso, PTG | © Images by Andre Leite PS Photography | 2023


“…A journey through the fantastic stories of children’s tales that invites us to a deep and current reflection on desires/frustrations, fantasy/reality. This show is an absolute necessity (…) touches the hearts and minds of young and old alike…” >  Catarina Costa e Silva (Choreographer and Researcher in Dance)

“Os Quatro Ventos Theatre Company (CT4V) continues its program to destabilize aesthetics, disciplines, languages, and genres. This time, with The Normal Girl and The Pea, after the eccentric experiences of “Fear & Misery in the Fall of Democracy” and “Antonio Marinheiro” (Alfama’s Oedipus), to name two of the most recent productions. In a certain sense, each new project is a tour de force, an invitation to be amazed, and all shuffle conventions with new challenges: what does the tragic realism of “António Marinheiro” have to do with the Brechtian delirium of “Fear & Misery in the Fall of Democracy”, and these with the “children’s theatre” of The Normal Girl and The Pea? Everything. From the outset, it is a question of facing each new project as a game of appearances, illusions, and lies, following a theatrical strategy par excellence: deceiving with the truth. In Pedro Ribeiro’s stagings, appearances (the comfort zone where we settle, innocent spectators) serve to deceive and, at the same time, to tell the truth. In this production, we enter the territory of childhood, to which not only the title and subtitle contribute, even if they put us on our guard, but above all the scenic device using puppetry. And the mirror game between truth and lies begins, in particular around the leitmotiv which is the interrogation of the idea of “normality”: a “children’s theatre” for “brave adults”; a “puppet theatre” with “human actors”; an en-chanted forest” in a child’s room… What is to be” normal”? > Professor Eusébio Machado | Portucalense University, Department of Psychology and Education; Scientific Coordinator of the Innovative Plan to Combat School Failure 

Director’s note

My 5-year-old niece received a book of fairy tales. She obviously insisted that I read her a story. It ended with the famous “and they lived happily ever after”. Those reticences placed a big question mark on my niece’s eyes. Immediately she said – “What next? Tell the rest”. At that moment my brain went back to 2009 when I had seen Dina Goldstein’s “Fallen Princesses” – sarcastic, ironic, realistic illustrations, and narratives of the future of princesses.

We, adults, encounter obstacles during our lives that we have to overcome. Each one of us analyzes them through our perspective which is based on what? In what we assimilate on a daily basis. If we listen to stories that perpetuate ideals about a multitude of human characteristics and unrealistic life goals, it is natural that our life is an obstacle course. With my niece, I came to the conclusion that it’s not just the text that influences her personality (yes because I’m one of those people who say “the princess was smart” instead of “beautiful”), but also the story’s illustrations. These seem to have privileged access to her imagination, with the power to refocus the text and even to replace it. But what can we do when we are bombarded with images of princesses with big eyes and thin waists? Or princes with broad shoulders and chiseled jaws? How to explain that when we’re taking a selfie you don’t need to redefine your features or smooth your skin? The steeplechase begins: I’m not pretty/thin/charming enough; I’m not strong/healthy/brave enough; I will never find the love of my life; I will never marry; I will never be rich and live in a castle, or live happily ever after. The incessant pursuit of these goals is exhausting and only when we realize that the game of life has no rules, can we really be okay.

“Normal” can be a confusing word. The definition is different for everyone. In this project, what is “normal” is the opposite of “princess”. We could simply say “The Girl” but we want to underline that being banal is perfectly acceptable.

Pedro Ribeiro