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Parabéns Pra Você, 1980


Olinda, PE, 1974-1983

Born in a Catholic parish during the military dictatorship, the group Vivencial Diversiones was a landmark of transgression in Pernambuco's culture. Their first show, “Vivencial I”, caused great repercussions and the rupture with the archdiocese. Almost without financial resources, they started to turn garbage into costumes and sets and produce many independent shows. Years later, they founded a Café-Theater that attracted hundreds of people daily, with presentations of several artists. The group transformed Brazilian theater and cabaret, daring to talk about gender, sexuality and politics in a time of great repression.

 published on 13/05/2021


Tropical Nights, 1980

Tropical Nights play program, 1980

Olinda, 1974. In the midst of the military dictatorship, the Vivencial Diversiones group was born within the Catholic Church. A mixture that would bring an uncontrolled vibration to the culture of Pernambuco. Celebrating the 10 years of the Association of Young Men and Women of Amparo, the Benedictine youth ministry decided to create a spectacle. The theater meetings were so that young people could reflect on their realities and seek transformations. Guilherme Coelho, who was from Paraiba and dreamed of becoming a monk in Tibet, takes over the direction of Vivencial I, with the proposal “be yourself, look for your axis, leave home, build, change the world”. The play, result of improvisations based on texts by Brecht, Genet and Plato, already addressed issues such as massification, drugs, abuse of power, sex and technology. Even with the libertarian aspects within the Church at that time, due to the great repercussion, positive and negative, they ended up losing support. After being evicted from the Archdiocese and disconnecting from religious purposes, they started to perform other shows, always using theater as a way to include and generate social and political reflection. To escape federal censorship, they did not charge tickets. They also did not receive a salary. All profit was saved, usually coming from donations from the audience or sale of the play program, which carried the following message:

“Dears: I am not abnormal. Are. Therefore, we are not. Is different. An abnormal is abnormal. Two abnormals are normal. All the more so if united.

Very few do much. From minority to minority, the majority stuff the guitar in the bag, and violation in the ass. ”

Vivencial Trio - Henrique Celibi, Fabio Costa and Guilherme Coelho


Vivencial, Images of Affection in Times of Boldness by Ana Farache

In 1979, one of the group's most important productions: “Repúblicas Independentes, Darling” is presented at Teatro Cacilda Becker in Rio de Janeiro, drawing attention and earning good reviews from newspapers. This year, they also traveled to São Paulo, participating in the Mambembão Project, of the National Theater Service (SNT). Despite increasing visibility, they still lacked their own headquarters. They had already spent five years at Teatro Guadalupe looking for sponsorships and making savings, until they managed to buy land and create a playhouse. Located in the Salgadinho Complex, a mangrove region on the outskirts of Olinda, Vivencial Diversiones was a café-concert that attracted curiosity and fascination, but which also suffered a lot of repression due to its aesthetics. PernaLonga, Américo, Celibi, Guilherme Coelho and company were a breath in the midst of chaos, turning trash into beauty. Known as the ‘fags theater’, the focus there was not to study theater, there was no method. However, even so, the house was always full with intense public and programming on the weekends: 9:00 pm, play; 11 pm, musical show; 00h, special show with lipsyncs and skits; and 1:30 am, variety show. At that time, there were also several women and travesti members, who sought to become professional and pursue careers as artists, which prevented them from being arrested for vagrancy. In Brazil, the first theater genre to welcome artists with a non-normative gender identity was magazine theater around the 1940s. In addition to magazine theater, Vivencial's audience numbers were influenced by Dzi Croquettes, who had appeared in 1972 in Rio de Janeiro. Not everything was entirely new, but they were never a copy. “Today we are sanctified, but we have always been demons. In the past, not everyone wanted to get close. Since the cast was not professional actors, we were not always respected. ” tells Celibi.

Clip of the film, Vivencial I by Jomard Muniz de Britto


Henrique Celibi, 1978

After four intense years and more than thirty shows, Vivencial was closed in early 1983. Military censorship and repression, lack of investment and internal conflicts ended up being overwhelming. For some time there was also a dispersion of the public and interest, due to the foundation of similar houses in Natal and Fortaleza. Despite the ups and downs, the troupe remains a reference for theater, cinema and cabaret in the country to this day, inspiring diverse artistic works and academic research. One of the best known examples, the film Tattoo by Hilton Lacerda, is a fictionalization of the trajectory and universe of Diversiones that entered the list of the Critics Association as one of the 100 best Brazilian films of all time. Despite the difficulties of social abandonment, the group was a school and a refuge for many artists with non-conforming expressions. Full of contradictions and paradoxes and openly discussing topics considered taboo for the time, Vivencial entered history. João Silvério Trevisan, Brazilian writer and researcher who had his tales adapted by Diversiones, reflects: “One day Vivencial ended. Its ambiguity had run out, its originality too. I do not know to what extent success was responsible for its end. I venture to say that he couldn't survive because he got too close to the centers of power and, with that, he abandoned the difficult art of tightrope. By absorbing its proposal, society co-opted the group and transformed it into a fad that was quickly exhausted. And so confiscated their passport to poetry ”.


Beatas in the play Os Filhos de Maria Sociedade, 1980

Feature in Lampião da Esquina, 1979

Chronology of Shows:

1974- Vivencial I / Genesíaco - Livro do Gênesis / Madalena em Linha Reta / João Andrade em Conversa de Botequim / Auto de Natal

1975- O Pássaro Encantando da Gruta do Ubajara / Nos Abismos da Pernambucália

1976- Vivencial II / 7 Fôlegos

1977- Sobrados e Mocambos / Viúva, Porém Honesta

1978- Repúblicas Independentes / Darling

1979- Bonecas Falando para o Mundo / Ensaios Espontâneos / A Loja da Democracia / Perna, pra que te Quero?

1980- Parabéns pra Você / Notícias Tropicais / All Star Tapuias

1981- Rolla Skate / Nós Mulheres / Em Cartaz, o Povo / The Brazilian Tropical Super Star / Utilidade Pública

1982- Guerra das Estrelas / Os Filhos de Maria Sociedade / Ôba Nana... Fruta do Meio / O Pastoral Culturil das Meninas do Brasil / Assim é Peia / Mar e Cais

Research References:

ARAÚJO, Matheus. Uma casa para o Vivencial Diversiones, 2015. 

BARROS, Isabelle. Imagens afetivas do Vivencial são publicadas em livro nesta quinta, 2016.

GRUPO de Teatro Vivencial. In: ENCICLOPÉDIA Itaú Cultural de Arte e Cultura Brasileiras. São Paulo: Itaú Cultural, 2021.

TREVISAN, João Silvério. Devassos no Paraíso: a homossexualidade no Brasil, da Colônia à atualidade.

TREVISAN, João Silvério. Vivencial Diversiones apresenta: frangos falando para o mundo. Lampião da Esquina

SANTOS, Rogério. Vivencial Diversiones: teatro como resistência e performance de gênero, 2018.

Programas Vivenciais, 1981

Celibi and Pernalonga in the play Nós Mulheres, 1981

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