Que Ainda Alguém Nos Invente [That Someone Might Yet Invent Us]
Que Ainda Alguém Nos Invente [That Someone Might Yet Invent Us] is an unpublished play written by Ricardo P. Silva for Teatro GRIOT and inspired by the life of Queen Njinga Mbandi of Angola (1582-1663).
The play unfolds as a ritual that fluctuates between a sense of pride and sense of remorse. Roles of queen and woman merge in conflict and in trust. It becomes no longer possible to distinguish who is who in the glory and arrogance of conquest because boldness itself is needed to conquer others. Njinga Mbandi invokes her dead as she talks to herself of what has been and what could never have been. The stories she tells in a trance won’t be bound to her own time, something she constantly and cunningly resists. She sometimes torments or then pursues men and desires whether her own or those of ones entrusted to her, warriors, slaves and traitors. Daughter, sister and lover, Njinga gives her own account of history and rejects a false, deified and immaculate past.
Text Ricardo P. Silva
Director Paula Diogo
Cast Daniel Martinho, Gio Lourenço,
Matamba Joaquim, Zia Soares
Movement Vânia Gala
Prop designer Francisco Vidal
Set and costume designer Mariana Monteiro
Light designer Pedro Correia
Original music DJ Marfox and DJ N.K.
Sound designer soundslikenuno
Director’s assistant Carlos Alves
Translation into Kimbundo Galiano Neto
Photography Sofia Berberan
Executive producer Urshi Cardoso
A Teatro GRIOT/Teatro Municipal do Porto
Duration approx. 1h30
Ricardo P. Silva, playwright
Que Ainda Alguém Nos Invente [That Someone Might Yet Invent Us] is a text inspired by the life of Queen Njinga Mbandi, queen of the Kingdom of Ndongo and Matamba. It results from an intense process of filtering narratives left behind by people conditioned by their own political agenda, religious ends or mere commercial affairs over three centuries ago. The play puts forward a few clues, presentiments and signs of what could have happened. It is well known today - as it also was at the time – that by deliberately distorting narratives to influence how different ways of life are understood, it becomes impossible to separate with any certainty what is fact, myth or manipulation of facts. Academic discussion has so far been based on documents produced by the Capuchin priest, Cavazzi de Montecúccolo, and by the Portuguese historian and soldier, António de Oliveira de Cadornega, who were contemporaries of Njinga Mbandi, as well as more recent studies by historians such as John Thornton and Joseph C. Miller, together with a great many research articles by contemporary authors. It has become clear that there is no consensus about many of the renowned events that were recorded and have solidified with time as facts. However, something still reaches out and remains independent beyond all fantasy, apology and censorship. In this case, it’s Njinga Mbandi’s extraordinarily strong, skilful and impulsive nature. And because of this, the play evolves in a constant game of insinuation and speculation, conflict and trust, between four characters all of whom are both alive and dead: Njinga and Ngola Kiluanji, her father, and Ngola Mbandi, her brother, who are both of Mbundu origin, and Kaza, her husband and ally, of Imbangala origin. Njinga is a warrior herself and clairvoyant, a despot and heroine, defender of her own people and a slave trader, learned and vain, cruel, proud and unpredictable. Njinga was terrifying – pursued as well as the pursuer of others, she resisted and never surrendered.