Holland Festival: Stabat Mater

Janaina Leite (BR)
Sat 22 Jun ’24 and Sun 23 Jun ’24
Together with her own mother and a masked pornographic actor, Leite dissects the cultural-historical relationship between men and women as shaped by the role of executioner and victim.
Sat 22 Jun ’24
Sun 23 Jun ’24

This ground-breaking lecture-performance sees Brazilian theatre maker Janaina Leite, together with her own mother and a masked pornographic actor, dissect the cultural-historical relationship between men and women as shaped by the roles of torturer and victim.

Inspired by a philosophical essay by Julia Kristeva, Stabat Mater refers to the medieval poem about the Virgin Mary, literally the ‘Standing Mother”, the mother who is always there, at the feet of her crucified son. This woman who was born ‘without pleasure, without sin”, who was impregnated while she slept, becomes the prototype on which the Western world bases its idea of femininity, in the spectrum between whore and saint, between self-denial and masochism.

The piece takes the form of a lecture-performance, but it inventively plays with theatricality and alternative spaces. The music stand becomes a church altar, and the stage turns into a night club with pole dancing and an enormous phallus. With the biblical motif as a basis, Leite evokes models of femininity, like her own mother. Within this space, which can be either womb or tomb, Leite peels back the historical order between male and female to the bone.

‘All I can say about Stabat Mater is that no one will be left unaffected. It is the most daring piece in Sao Paolo’s current season (..) A powerful exercise on trauma and taboos for women that persist in the 21st century.' - Ivana Moura, theatre critic

  • Language: Portuguese / subtitles: English, Dutch
  • Duration: 110 min.

About the maker

Janaina Leite (São Paulo, 1981) is an actress, director and playwright. She is one of the founders of the award-winning Grupo XIX de Teatro in Sao Palo, with whom she creates a range of pieces that tour at home and abroad with great success. Her research into documentaries and the use of autobiographical material on stage resulted in a book, Autoescrituras performativas: do diario à cena, and various theatre pieces: Festa de Separação: um documentário cênico, Conversas com meu Pai and Stabat Mater. The taboos surrounding female sexuality have been an integral part of her theatre work and artistic research.

Leite is a founder and coordinator of the study groups Feminino Abjeto 1, Memórias, Arquivos e (Auto) Biografias and Feminino Abjeto 2. She lectures at various European universities, including the Sorbonne in Paris, on her research and methodology.

Building on her research into theatre and pornography that started with Stabat Mater, Leite made the virtual show Camming 101 noites en História do Olho - um conto de fadas pornô-noir. Currently, Leite is part of a programme for Latin-American playwrights in Buenos Aires. Her latest project Deeper, which explores virtual reality, psychosis and altered states of consciousness, was featured at the last Edinburgh Festival.

creation Janaina Leite director Janaina Leite dramaturgy Janaina Leite, Lara Duarte, Ramilla Souza dramaturgy collaboration Lillah Hallah performance Janaina Leite, Amália Fontes Leite, Priapus special participation amateur Priapus (Lucas Asseituno) professional Priapus (Loupan) assistent direction Lara Duarte subtitles Lara Duarte art director Melina Schleder set designer Melina Schleder costume design Melina Schleder light design Paula Hemsi video installation Laíza Dantas editing Laíza Dantas sound design, sound and video engineering Lana Scott lighting technician Maíra do Nascimento vocal coach Flavia Maria Campos video participation Alex Ferraz, Hisak, Jota, Kaka Boy, Mike, Samuray Farias scenic input Kênia Dias, Maria Amélia Farah audio-visual conception and script Janaina Leite, Lillah Hallah cinematography Wilssa Esser photos and videos André Cherri project manager Metropolitana Gestão Cultural communication Carla Estefan project management Gestão Cultural diffusion Gestão Cultural