Fabiana Mattedi is Inside the Wild Heart and Then Some

The power of an artist is not to be taken for granted. Long after political leaders have passed on, after borders have been redrawn, even after technology has changed the medium which communicates, these creative ideas live on. This is most likely so because Art, like love, is an international language; though it may have an accent. Actress Fabiana Mattedi’s work with Group BR in New York City is a shining example of this. Mattedi’s performances received great critical acclaim even as they were delivered in her native Portuguese. Though accompanied with subtitles for clarity, the emotive expression on display proved no need of this assistance. The success of the actress and Group BR has set a number of upcoming projects in motion for the very near future. Whether a play based on the works of the iconic Clarice Lispector’s books and life or Fabiana’s one-woman-show, the ideas and expression of a creative woman reverberate loudly in NYC.

“Inside the Wild Heart” gives credence to the depth of the female voice. Named for author Clarice Lispector’s 1944 novel “Perto do coração selvagem”, translated into English as “Near to the Wild Heart”, the play was first presented in 2016 in New York before its current run. One of the most important Brazilian writers (her family fled Ukraine in 1944), Lispector is known for her exceptional ability to communicate existential ideas in a common vernacular. At the same time, her books are difficult to translate from the original language and still retain their original tone. The play is immersive and exceedingly physically expressive; integrating visual arts, film, music, and performance art. In addition to her substantial acting talent, Mattedi’s history in ballet and modern dance made her essential to this production.

Portraying a wide range of characters including Sveglia from “The Report of the Things” and others; perhaps most striking is Fabiana’s appearance as Madame Carlota. It’s Madame Carlota’s reading of the destiny of Macabea (main character of the novel “The Hour of Star”) that stuns her, the other characters, and the audience. It’s a resounding “smack” for the final scene of the play. This is a deeply meaningful production for the actress who notes, “Imagine that you are a fan of an artist, one whom you have admired your entire life, and then you have the chance to be part of a play based on her work. It’s like communion for me. I don’t know if it was the challenge of it or vanity but the idea of presenting my understanding of Clarice’s work to the audience was too tempting to pass up.” Through Fabiana and her fellow cast members, the timeless wisdom and strength which Lispector embodied is communicated. A child who fled her home country, only to lose her mother within four years of relocating to this new land, she rose to become one of the most insightful authors in Brazil and the world.

Likely a result of both the acclaim Mattedi’s performances in “Inside the Wild Heart”, the inspiration of Clarice Lispector’s, or a combination of both; Fabiana is now scheduled to star in a number of upcoming plays that will give further evidence of her range as an actress. Later this year she will appear as Carol in “Apple of My Eye” written by Tathiana Piancastelli. This tale of a Down syndrome teen named Bella explores romance and the prejudices society still holds for this community. Carol’s duplicitous nature offers an opportunity for Mattedi’s comedic and dramatic sides to cohabitate. Also in the works are a one woman show written by and starring Fabiana; to be directed by Débora Balardini. This international performer who describes her own life as finding the comedic timing in the most tragic moments, exclaims that performing in NYC has been an enriching experience for her. She relates, “There is such a mixture of cultures and performers in New York City; it’s an amazing opportunity for any artist to be among that and observe it. It’s as if there are windows and doors which allows artists to explore. As the only Brazilian theater company in New York, Group BR thinks it is very important to stay true to the cultural importance of the Brazilian Portuguese language. I’m proud that I was able to be a part of contributing to that New York/American insight by presenting my culture here as an actress.”

An LA based writer with more than a decade as a staff writer for NYC based Drumhead magazine, Kelly is also a contributor to a number of outlets.