Quem Pariu Mateus Que O Embale!

Quem Pariu Mateus Que O Embale!

Performance by Ana Paula Castro
Text by Karine Jansen and Raphael Andrade

Quem Pariu Mateus Que O Embale! [1] Reverberates to those who hear exactly like that in the imperative and in upper case revealing the popular expression that determines the solicitude that carries the mother (and, mind you, where does the father enter in this context?) when faced with a family system and social that uses this term only for those who can give birth to Pedros, Marias, Mateus and Joanas.

In this expression it carries a somewhat despotic and judgmental symbolism, which the theater student and performer Ana Paula Castro conceives again, but this time based on the symbiosis of a solo-accompanied performance, as in her daily life she lives the condition as a solo mother and goes through days that can be called “labor pains”, because they bring loneliness, pressure, overwhelm and, above all, STRENGTH! A living force that which has a limit and runs out.

It seems like a paradox, but it is in exhaustion that the artist gains the driving force and reverses it in performing artistic performance by performing her own reality, in an all-human ritual and full of symbolism. Which could be seen both from the perspective of everyday performance analysis and in that of artistic observation, revealing that performances “are all made up of doubly exercised behaviors, restored behaviors, performed actions that people train to perform (SCHECHNER, 2003, p. 27).

These actions are lived by Paula together with her son Pedro, which means “rock”, “stone” – not the one said by Drummond, who is in the middle of the path, but, rather, the stone that accompanies her from the belly, and which today it weighs 22 kg and, even though it is stone, it will never be a burden. However, a child is always a precious stone for the mother in constant stoning, in need of attention and in the case of Pedro, of increased affability, as he has autism spectrum disorder – ASD. By the way, it is necessary to consider that autism is a “behavioral syndrome with multiple etiologies and developmental disorder, sometimes combined with language difficulties and behavioral changes” (LOPES, 1997).

The weight carried by Ana Paula which prevails in her solo life and for which there is no euphemism – educating and caring for her autistic child, by itself already consumes a lot of her energy. The performer herself believes that such a burden could be if there were public policies for the insertion of autistic people more specifically at school.

Based on this analysis, or rather, (PAR)INDO [2] for this vision, the WEIGHT – abstract noun that cannot be seen, touched, shined, pulsates within Ana Paula’s soul which is made to be woven and shared for Pedro every day even if absentmindedly. And because it is a soul it can be divided into artistic performance.

Paula and Pedro arrive at 19h at the building of the ETDUFPA (in English can be School of Theater and Dance of the Federal University of Pará) sweaty, they came by bike as usual. Paula is full of demands and Pedro, full of desires. Immediately the performance action begins: table, chair, ropes, computer, projector, extension and mouthpiece. In the meantime, Pedro runs, spreads between the benches, between the columns, grabs his mother’s leg, climbs on the lap of an acquaintance, rummages in his backpack and the action is happening slowly, but continuously, frequently.

 Some help them; others talk or watch until a video appears on the wall of the School’s central courtyard. These are everyday scenes, the shower water, the choice of underwear, the coffee cup from the video device attached to the breast that breastfeed Pedro. Speaking of Pedro, he plays in the room and points to the letters. Soon after, the video tracks the walk made by biking by both: the cars, external images of the school, of the theater classes. And there is Pedro in class, smiling and hugging Paula. These images are repeated throughout the performance that lasts about four hours.

In front of the video with flashes of the day-to-day life of Paula and Pedro, or rather, Pedro-Paula, we have a green network – Who gave birth to MATEUS to swing him! With the chain, the phrase gains a certain lightness, or perhaps Paula gains a great ally to pack, because the chain is high technology for this purpose. It packs sadness, tiredness, joy, disappointment, hope, time and loneliness.

Given the weight of being a solo mother to an autistic three-year-old boy, Paula has a daily strategy that is to swing him in her green hammock. Pedro is methodical, it has to be his hammock. And his hammock is green! And she was there in the performance, as a witness to this daily act. And so Paula did it several times during those four hours, just like in life.

Another important action of QUEM PARIU MATEUS QUE O EMBALE is education. And Paula takes care of both: hers and Pedro’s. Therefore, during the performance, she spent hours at a table preparing the report for the Performance discipline, while executing it. I need to study! I need to work! To have a job to raise Pedro because WHO GAVE BIRTH TO MATEUS TO SWING HIM! In this sense, Paula’s performance and personal condition become political! Ah, we must not forget, that this reverberates in all mothers of ETDUFPA!

Being a solo mother is a necessary social condition and there is no institutional support for young women in this condition. The daycare allowance provided does not cover evening courses as there are no daycare centers that operate at night. Being a mother at ETDUFPA is militancy, it is necessary to conquer spaces, rights and respect after all, WHO GAVE BIRTH TO MATEUS TO SWING HIM! Is not that what they say?

Pedro was hungry! Someone took him to the cafeteria to have a snack while Paula worked on the report, reading texts to substantiate it. Watching Pedro. He got tired, asked for the hammock, swingged himself for a long time, while Paula thought about the next paragraph of the report. And in solitude for two, without a word spoken to the audience present, the voice that the poet’s word expects resounds, but that quietly many mothers recognize it. And in the dead of night, small-big revolutions are born to aPAR(t)IR [3] of the power of their performance in the space reconfigured by the two: PEDRO-PAULA or PAULA_PEDRO? That looks like the burden of the whole planet earth, that looks like a rock, that looks like each one of us being born and carrying stones halfway.


[1] TN: Brazilian expression similar to “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it”. Literally means “Who gave birth to Matthews to swing him”.

[2] TN: pun with the word “PARINDO” (giving birth) where “INDO” means “GOING”.

[3] TN: another pun, playing with the word “Parir” (to give birth), and “a partir”, which means “starting” in the phrase.


LOPES, Eliana Rodrigues Boralli. Autismo: Trabalhando com a criança e com a família. 2. ed. São Paulo:  Edicon, 1997.

SCHECHNER, Richard. O que é performance. In: O percevejo – Revista de teatro, crítica e estética. Ano 11, nº 12, 2003, Departamento de Teoria do Teatro, Programa de Pós Graduação em Teatro, Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO). 


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