My love for Portugal started only a year ago. Recently I was there for the 3rd time and in 2 months I will be back again. This country sure knows how to entice me.
This trip started with an astonishing sunny, hot day when my lovely chauffeur picked me up from the airport. Come to think of it, it actually started with my first ever airport pick up with a ‘Laura Doorneweerd’ sign. Call it foolish: that stuff is just cool.
Chauffeur and professional prop maker João drove me to the city of Sintra: a beautiful idyllic, and thereby touristic, town near Lisbon. Just like my duopartner Sven Lanser, I arrived on the last day of the Espontâneo Improv Festival. Unfortunately we missed all the shows of the previous days, including those of our friends of Pic-Nic, Teatribu and Os Improváveis.
Nevertheless, Sven and I felt honored to be part of the closing night of this festival. Marco, Fabio and the rest of the Instantâneos were masters of flexibility (“Smile and wave!”). Flexible in the show and workshop schedule to fit our calendar. Flexible to put us lastminute in the ensemble cast. And flexible to provide musical support for our show.
The ease with which this all happened was inspirational for Northern Europeans like us. Of course I also learned quickly that the call for “1 minute until the show starts” was a flexible term. Well, at least it gave me 10 minutes extra of backstage Spiderman silliness.
In the first show Sven and I joined another 20 improvisers to play an epic story. “Think: dragons, orks and dungeons” they said. And so we did. I enjoyed that show a lot. It was a thrill to be playing with such a large group and actually make the story work.
Then Sven and I were left on the stage to play our duo show ME & MY EX: a show about love, sex, relationship and heartbreak. We shared real stories from our love life, like how I experienced my first kiss or how Sven’s current relationship had a bumpy start. These stories inspired scenes about expectations before having sex and a tense car ride after a party.
I love playing this format because Sven and I get very real. We share our most honest stories and play with both this courage and vulnerability in the scenes. It also makes me a bit anxious to hear the audience’s reaction on it. But thankfully Sven dragged me out the dressing room to hear the nice things people had to say about it.
Our show also has as an effect that during the rest of the night people will start telling me their stories: a perfect way to get connected to many of the festival players.
The next day, we enjoyed a yummy lunch with Speechless players Felipe, Daniel and Sarah provided by the festival. Oh, the amazing hospitality of the Portuguese!
My short stay in Portugal ended with a magical visit to Quinta da Regaleira and a lovely late dinner & impro talk (my favorite side dish).
See you soon, pretty Portugal. Smile & wave. A big smile. And a big wave.
Obrigada to Marco, Fabio, João, Nuno, all the people of the Instantâneos for everything you did, all the festival players for the fun and improv, Ana and Paula for visiting, Dona for initiating and Sven for always being real with me.