18 August 2012

Amélia Rey Colaço



Amélia Schmidt Lafourcade Rey Colaço Robles Monteiro (1898—1990) was a portuguese actress and theatre director. Considered the most prominent figure in the portuguese theatre of the 20th century, she received very early an education in the Arts - her father, Alexandre Rey Colaço, was a pianist, composer and a tutor of the princes, and her grandmother, Madame Reinhardt, had a literary and musical salon in Berlin.



She decided to go on the stage at the age of 15, after watching, in Germany, the plays from the austrian director Max Reinhardt. Colaço had her debut in 1917, in the play "Marinela" by Benito Pérez Galdós. In order to play her character, a rude vagrant, she learned, how to walk barefooted wearing only rags, in the garden of her stately house.



In 1920, Colaço married the actor Robles Monteiro and in the next year,the couple founded their own theatre company - it would be the most longlasting of Europe with a timespan of 53 years. The company strove for the social dignification of actors and organized a very ambitious repertoire, defying the censorship. Distinguished painters such as Raul Lino, Almada Negreiros and Eduardo Malta collaborated in the cenography. Alternating between classical and modern, the Rey Colaço-Robles Monteiro Company encouraged the portuguese dramaturgy performing plays by António Ferreira, José Régio, Alfredo Cortez, Virgínia Vitorino, Carlos Selvagem, Romeu Correia, Bernardo Santareno, Luís de Sttau Monteiro, among others. It also daringly revealed (considering the dictatorship of the time) authors like Jean Cocteau, Jean Anouilh, Lorca, Brecht, Valle Ínclan, Alejandro Casona, Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Pirandello, Eduardo De Filippo, Max Frisch, Ionesco, Dürrenmatt and Edward Albee.




Throughout her life and career, Amélia Rey Colaço was cherished by the public and the ruling class, receiving several special mentions. She was friend of the Queen D. Amélia de Orleães. In 1974, with the democratic revolution, and realizing she will be considered a symbol of the old regime, Colaço suspends the company (it would only be oficially extinguished in 1988). However she continued to act, even in television productions. Her last role was, at the age of 87, D. Catarina, in the play "El-Rei D. Sebastião" by José Régio. She died in Lisbon, in 1990.

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