Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Mac Margolis

Brazil's Theater of the Absurd

The hottest ticket in town? An entire nation's political disillusionment.
It's quite a show.

It's quite a show.

Photographer: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Acclaimed Brazilian actor and director Claudio Botelho is used to enthusiastic audiences. But bringing the house down mid-performance was not in the script earlier this week, when Botelho -- who is currently on stage playing a theater troupe impresario -- turned to the audience and ad-libbed a few quips about a "crooked former president" and a "thieving president" facing impeachment.

In moments, scores of audience members were on their feet and shouting "There will be no coup!" while an opposing faction volleyed with "Go away! Go away!" The stunned cast looked on as some in the crowd tried to rush the stage and Botelho scolded the mutiny as "worse than the military." Chico Buarque, the popular singer who inspired the musical, withdrew permission for Botelho to use his score, effectively canceling the show.