Simon the Monkey
and Other Stories and Other Songs

The spectacle was created at the end of 1991 with the purpose of rescuing one important fragment from children traditional culture. We adopted a theatrical format in which the play is preceded by a musical introduction, when some traditional songs for children and Brazilian folk stories are presented, accompanied by guitar, flute, soprano recorder and tambourine. We take this opportunity to talk a little about these musical instruments.

The second part of the performance - the play itself - is an adaptation of the traditional Brazilian story "O Macaco e a Velha" (The Monkey and the Old Lady ) to puppet theatre, which finds similar versions in many other countries of the world. (In English language there is "The Tar Baby and the Monkey, whose origin is probably African or Oriental.) Our adaptation was based on a version recorded in 1967, with music by João de Barro (Braguinha) and arrangements by Radamés Gnatalli, two important Brazilian musicians and arrangers.

Taking into account the importance of the text in this performance, Furunfunfum made English and Spanish versions of it. Italian and French versions are also being prepared.

The Monkey and the Old Lady has been performed since the beginning of 1992 in the most different kinds of space. During this period, we could understand that it transcends the child's universe itself, strongly appealing to the adult audience. We suppose that it happens because The Monkey and the Old Lady deals with arquetypical questions such as the conflict between nature and culture, truth and lie, old and new and, occasionally, contention and reconciliation. All this is done in a very simple and appropriate language, always allowing room for the puppeteers' improvisation and the participation of the public, so typical of the mamulengo theatre. Thus the performance reaches also audiences from all social levels.