Andrade, Jorge (1922–1988)

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Andrade, Jorge (1922–1988)

Jorge Andrade (b. 1922; d. 1988), Brazilian playwright. In his theater Jorge Andrade was the sensitive historian and understanding judge of a fast-disappearing society. He became in every sense the first completely successful modern Brazilian playwright, doing for São Paulo what the novelists and dramatists of the Northeast and Érico Veríssimo in the South have been accomplishing for their regions, for Brazil, and for the world since the 1930s.

A moratória (1954), a play in three acts with two sets, demonstrates the dramatist's great maturity. The subject is essentially a continuation of that of O telescópio (1951), both chronologically and thematically, but reflects the considerable development of the author as a person and artist. Here, the slow, painful, and somehow inconclusive passage from one era to another is emphasized more sharply. Simultaneous use of two sets, one the fazenda in 1919, the other a city apartment in 1932, requires superior technical skills as well as literary sophistication for full realization and appreciation.

Employing carefully selected situations, emotions, and language, which appear simple and natural without naturalistic triviality, the author solves the age-old problems of classical tragedy with Flaubertian precision. The entire, balanced action turns on the past and its influence on the present through the use of graphic reminiscences that join the two times and places for the author and spectator, whereas the characters must rely on memory alone. With a view of both the past (1919) and the fictional present (1932), we in the actual present are afforded unique historic and dramatic perspective. Transitions from hope to despair on one level, underscored ironically or fatalistically on the other, grip the audience emotionally.

Having vindicated through its ancestors a society whose demise he had begun to record, Jorge Andrade now turned to another class of that society, the tenant farmers. A vereda da salvação (published 1957; produced 1964) has as its point of departure a tragic example of religious fanaticism in Minas Gerais, the details and analyses of which the playwright studied most carefully. During a long period of revision, Andrade reconsidered the events, the criticism of his work, and his own meditations on the human condition. More than ever, the new Vereda da salvação is neither mineiro nor paulista, but Brazilian and universal. In fact, it has enjoyed long successful runs in Poland.

The collection Marta, a árvore e o relógio (1970) is a very interesting anthology from several points of view. Not only does it contain two new plays, but it also presents Jorge Andrade's major works in a historico-fictional chronology, rather than in the chronology of their writing, to create his full cycle of São Paulo. Thus, the newest play, As confrarias, is the first in the collection, and O sumidouro, long in progress and the second newest, is the last. The other eight are inserted between these two in more or less fictional order and not in the order in which they were written. The title is comprised of symbols that recur throughout the series of plays.

Having in every way explored everything possible in the world of coffee barons and São Paulo and having realized that censorship made it virtually impossible to stage anything serious on current matters in Brazil, Jorge Andrade turned to television after 1970. When he did create another play, Milagre na cela (1977), which dealt with political oppression and torture, his public could receive it only in published form.

See alsoLiterature: Brazil .


Leon F. Lyday and George Woodyard, Dramatists in Revolt: The New Latin American Theater (1976), pp. 206-220.

Additional Bibliography

Guidarini, Mário. Jorge Andrade na contramão da história. Florianópolis: Editora da UFSC, 1992.

                                   Richard A. Mazzara

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Andrade, Jorge (1922–1988)

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