Amaral, Maria Adelaide 1942–

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Amaral, Maria Adelaide 1942–

(Maria Adelaide Almeida Santos de Amaral)

PERSONAL: Born July 1, 1942, in Porto, Portugal; brought to Brazil, c. 1954. Education: Faculdade de Comunicação Social Caásper Líbero, journalism degree, 1970.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Av. Jaguaré, 1485—Gerência de Apoio Editorial, São Paulo, Brazil 05346-902.

CAREER: Playwright, novelist, and television screenwriter. During early career, worked as a journalist; Editora Abril, São Paulo, Brazil, wrote for encyclopedias, 1970–86.

AWARDS, HONORS: Molière Prize, 1976, for Bodas de Papel, 1983, for Chiquinha Gonzaga, 1984, for De Braços Abertos, 1994, for Querida Mamãe; Ziembinsky Prize, 1976, for Bodas de Papel; Governador do Estado e da Associação dos Críticos de Arte for best national author, 1976, for Bodas de Papel; Serviço Nacional de Teatro Prize, 1977, for A Resistência; São Paulo Association of Theater Critics award, 1984, for De Braços Abertos; Mamembe Prize, 1984, for De Braços Abertos, 1994, for Querida Mamãe.


Luísa: Quase uma História de Amor (novel), Editora Nova Fronteira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1986.

Aos Meus Amigos: Romance, Editora Siciliano (São Paulo, Brazil), 1992.

Dercy: de Cabo a Rabo (biography), 2nd edition, Editora Globo (São Paulo, Brazil), 1994.

(Author of interview) Maria Adelaide Amaral: depoimento em 18/03/96, Fundação Memorial da América Latina (São Paulo, Brazil), 1996.

Coração Solitário (novel), 1997.

O Bruxo (novel), Editora Globo (São Paulo, Brazil), 2000.


Cemitério Sem Cruzes, 1978.

Bodas de Papel, first produced in São Paulo, Brazil, 1978, first produced in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1980.

A Resistência, first produced in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1979; produced in São Paulo, Brazil, 1980), Serviço Nacional de Teatro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1978.

Chiquinha Gonzaga, first produced in São Paulo, Brazil, 1983.

De Braços Abertos (based on her novel Luísa: Quase uma História de Amor); first produced in São Paulo, Brazil, 1984), Memórias Futuras Edições (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 1985.

(Adapter) Sophocles, Electra, first produced in São Paulo, Brazil, 1987.

Seja o que Deus Quiser, first produced in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1987.

Uma Relação Tão Delicada, first produced in São Paulo, Brazil, 1989.

Viúva, first produced in production of Solteira, Casada, Viúva, Desquitada, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1993.

Para Tão Longo Amor, first produced in Porto, Portugal, 1993, produced in São Paul, Brazil, 1994.

Querida Mamãe, first produced in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1994; produced in São Paulo, Brazil, 1995), Editora Brasiliense (São Paulo, Brazil), 1995.

Intensa Magia, first produced in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1995; produced in São Paulo, Brazil, 1996), Caliban Editorial (São Paulo, Brazil), 1996.

Para Sempre, first produced in Curitiba, Brazil, 1997; produced in São Paulo, Brazil, 1997.

Inseparáveis, first produced in São Paulo, Brazil, 1997.

O Abre Alas, Editora Civilização Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 2000.

Also author of play Mademoiselle.


(With Cassiano Gabus Mendes) Meu Bem, Meu Mal, Rede Globo de Televisão, 1990.

(With Silvio de Abreu) Deus Nos Acuda, Rede Globo de Televisão, 1992.

(With Cassiano Gabus Mendes) O Mapa da Mina, Rede Globo de Televisão, 1993.

(With Marcíllo Moraes) Sonho Meu, Rede Globo de Televisão, 1994.

(With Silvio de Abreu) A Próxima Vítima, Rede Globo de Televisão, 1995.

(Adapter) Cassiano Gabus Mendes, Anjo Mau, Rede Globo de Televisão, 1997–1998.

(Adapter) Dinah Silveira de Queiroz, A Muralha, Rede Globo de Televisão, 2000.

(Adapter) Eça de Queiroz, Os Maias, Rede Globo de Televisão, 2001.

SIDELIGHTS: Brazilian writer Maria Adelaide Amaral is primarily known as a playwright, but she has also published several novels and collaborated on many television screenplays, and she has translated a number of English works into Portuguese. Darlene Dalto noted in JT online that Amaral is one of the most important Brazilian authors writing today. While working for São Paulo publishers during the 1970s, Amaral wrote her first play, A Resistência. Finished in 1975, it would not be produced for the stage until 1979. Several of Amaral's plays from this period, such as Bodas de Papel ("Two-Year Wedding Anniversary"), depict the socioeconomic conditions resulting from a period of dictatorship in Brazil. David S. George commented in his Flash and Crash Days: Brazilian Theater in the Postdictatorship Period that "beginning in 1983 … the author propels her play-writing on the quest for female identity."

Amaral moved with her family from her native Portugal to Brazil when she was twelve years old. She was interested in writing at an early age, trying her hand at poetry and dreaming of becoming a theater critic. After working as a journalist for fifteen years, she found work writing encyclopedia entries for a publisher in São Paulo. According to Dalto, her fiction writing began during "a tense period at the publisher due to possible layoffs…. One night she went home and began writing without stopping,… about the situation she was living. She showed the result to Sábato Magaldi, with whom she worked at the time. He read it and said, 'This is theater, and it's good.' That was all she needed to hear and hasn't stopped writing since." The result of this initial effort was the play A Resistência. First produced in 1979, it proved to be a box office hit. George remarked that "for the first time [since the dictatorship] the issues brought up by the play were being discussed openly; the characters were very familiar to the audience."

Another early play, Bodas de Papel, depicts a gathering at a wedding anniversary. The attendees belong to a new social class created by a short period of economic prosperity during the dictatorship that, according to George, led to "corruption on a mammoth scale and to the enrichment of a small group of people, government bureaucrats … and executives who often collaborated with the generals." He described how the play exposes an environment "filled with accusations, insults, painful truths, and humiliation. All the … rules of social courtesy are suspended. The women are secondary and decorative for the men, although the men accuse the women of being the cause of their problems."

In a play in which a woman is allowed considerable success, Amaral's musical Chiquinha Gonzaga is about "the life of one of the few women in the pantheon of Brazilian popular music and a seminal figure in the history of Brazilian feminism," explained George. In an interview with George, Amaral related that "the play was commissioned [by the Brazilian state labor agency] an extremely expensive production. I wanted to create a broad portrait of the period because when I did the research for the play I rediscovered Brazil, the nineteenth century, the history of Brazilian popular culture, especially Rio culture of the time. And the business about a totally forgotten career. No one knows who that woman was."

Based on her novel Luísa: Quase uma História de Amor, the 1984 play De Braços Abertos "performed stunningly at the box office, received universal acclaim from the critics, and won the São Paulo Association of Theater Critics award (for the play) and the Mambembe Prize (for the playwright)," reported George. He described De Braços Abertos as "a play about two characters, Luísa and Sérgio, who meet five years after their love affair has ended. Their relationship and subsequent search for individual identity are portrayed both in their conversation … and in flashbacks." He added that "there is no question that it has been the most influential and successful play written by a woman in Brazil" in the twentieth century. Amaral told Dalto in JT that the former lovers in the play are her favorites because she identifies with them the most. Furthermore, she told George that the work "moved people, which is what I'm looking for. To affect people's lives, to help them think and make better decisions for themselves, to make their lives happier."

Amaral's more recent work Querida Mamãe is about a mother-daughter relationship that provides a way for the playwright to examine the theme of "the dynamics of relationships and families," according to George. The play explores "where those dynamics lead, where they break down, and how the stresses and fracture points are homologous to the larger society." A great theatrical success, Querida Mamãe offers more evidence of Amaral's staying power as a talented writer, winning her a fourth Molière Prize and her second Mamembe Prize.



George, David S., Flash and Crash Days: Brazilian Theater in the Postdictatorship Period, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 2000.


Estado, (August 22, 2001), Haroldo Ceravolo Sereza, "Maria Adelaide Amaral Encontra Teatro de Saramago"; (August 23, 2001), Haroldo Ceravolo Sereza," Nacionalismo atraphalha América Latina, diz Skármeta"; (August 31, 2001), Larissa Squeff, "Maria Adelaide Amaral Cria Roteiro para Walter Salles."

JT, (February 28, 1999), Darlene Dalto, interview with Maria Adelaide Amaral.