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Based on the short story “O Horla”, by Guy de Maupassant, we create a show where theater meets dance, we revisit the concept of Desire to cross it with the idea of truth, debated over the centuries by different thinkers, and mix it with the search for bodies.

How does the interpreter become contaminated by the search for the character? How can he resist the spiral that transports him to a vortex of subjectivity in which the signifiers are lost from the signified, in which the self multiplies in many others?


How does this relate to the story of the ill-fated protagonist of Horla, a fantastical account, also written by an author cursed by mental illness at a time when science was taking its first steps towards discovering the unconscious?


Studies on Desire  | a triptych

“Studies on Desire” is a set of shows that address a concept that is central to artistic creation – that of desire as the driving force of any conscious or unconscious act of creation.

After visiting the eccentric Barão de Branquinho da Fonseca, in 2022 Miguel Maia brings to the scene the second volume of this triptych based on the short story “O Horla”, by Guy de Maupassant, originally published in 1886, with a second version edited the following year. .

The Horla is a tale that, due to its historical and artistic setting (late 19th century positivism, emergence of the sciences of the psyche, Freud's first studies, Professor Charcot's public hypnotism sessions), and due to its content - a story in the romantic and Gothic about a man haunted by a specter that makes him go crazy – is predisposed to a reading that seeks to explore the symbolic meaning and the dramatic rewriting that serves the purpose of studying the concept of desire, underlying the triptych.

about the show

We will use as a basis the short story “The Horla”, by Guy de Maupassant, published in a first version in 1886, it tells the story of a wealthy man, who lived on the banks of the Seine, in Rouen, northwest of Paris and who, from the On the day a Brazilian-flagged boat passed in front of his house, he began to have strange symptoms that threw him into a whirlwind of disturbing events.


What at first are sleepless nights quickly turn into weakness, anguish and a strange feeling of being watched.


During the night someone or something visits him, sits on his chest, drinks his water, and consults his books.


His mood quickly declines and, to confirm his suspicion that a presence haunts him, he carries out a series of experiments, noting that this strange being drinks milk in addition to water, but not touching anything solid.

What at first starts as a feeling of strangeness, quickly takes over your mind, calling into question your certainties about yourself, your body, your senses and the world around you.

In this show we take this place, this non-place of absolute doubt to question our way of looking for the character, his (our) body, his (our) setting. Desire materializes in this increasingly frantic search drive for a phantom that is perhaps our reflection. In these thrusts, increasingly deeper, the body ceases to respond to our orders and looks for the exits itself.


Through a scenic composition that changes and expands, and an audiovisual proposal that continually challenges us, we are Horla in an industrial space dating from the beginning of the 20th century. XX in Marville.


All paths remain open, when, on a stage, we mix actors and desire.

Artistic/Technical File

Text, Dramaturgy and Staging | Miguel Maia ,

from the short story The Horla by Guy de Maupassant.


Interpretation and Creation Support | Alice Medeiros, João Gaspar, Marta Rijo, Vitor Alves da Silva  


Creation Support | Inês Tarouca


Scenic Space and Costumes | Sara Franqueira and Joana Saboeiro


Light Drawing | Manuel Abrantes


Sound Design and Original Music | Pedro Freixo

Light Operation |  Janaina Gonçalves

Design | Cinara Pisco


Video | Mario Jerónimo Negrao


Photography | Sónia Godinho


Press Office | Levina Valentine


Scene Direction | Antonio Milherão


Production Direction | Paula Fernandes


Production Assistant | Beatriz Sousa

Production | Cepa Torta Company


Age Rating | M12



ADÃO, EIRA, Marvila Parish Council, OUT.RA, First Symptoms, Teatro Meridional, Terra Líquida Filmes, Maria Folha, João Diogo Lopes, Lúcia Faria, Manuela Albuquerque, Patrícia d'Almeida, Paula Freitas, Rita Folha, Teresa Folha .


06/28 to 07/10 of 2022
Tuesdays to Sundays
9:30 pm

at Warehouse 16 - Marvila
Rua Pereira Henriques 1, Lisbon


Bus: 728, 718, 781 (Rua do Açúcar) | 755 (Av. Infante D. Henrique) 

Train: Braço de Prata Station

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