“Evil” Victims and “Good Villains”: Political Melodrama in Bernardo Santareno’s The Promise

by Graça P. Corrêa.

Portuguese dramatist Bernardo Santareno (1924-1980) has been practically ignored by the English-speaking critics and theatre practitioners, most likely because only two of his nineteen plays have been translated into English. One of these is the author’s first drama, The Promise (A Promessa), written during the year he spent aboard a Portuguese fishing boat along the coast of Newfoundland and Greenland, immediately after having graduated from medical school at the University of Coimbra. The play was published in 1957, in an edition sponsored by the author, and produced in November of that same year by Teatro Experimental do Porto. After ten days of performance, however, the production was closed down by the government censors, on the grounds of immorality raised by the Portuguese Roman Catholic Church. CONTINUE READING >

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