Cochinchina is a free adaptation of the work by Afonso Cruz, Princípio de Karenina. It wraps up a trilogy of love letters and death which Sandra Barata Belo started with Morreste-me, of José Luis Peixoto, followed by Carta de uma Desconhecida, of Stefan Zweig. Besides the fact that these are letters that tell us of love and death, these creations have the common element of being literary pieces that the actor adapted for stage.
This trilogy confronts us with some restlessness while talking about life, these apparently stable places where we pack ourselves up, where we store the past, where the present is fragile and can barely be sensed. Duality is a constant, so is the thinking and the future arrives too early. And when we have no more time, we unexpectedly receive a letter, unexpectedly death comes. Too soon, too late.
A man lives in the duality between what’s inside his door and what’s beyond it. The foreigner inhibits and fascinates him. Up to the day when a domestic worker from Cochinchina comes to work at his place and breaks all the created borders, primarily by his father and afterwards by himself. From this moment on, there’s a constant struggle between love and disappointment, bravery and cowardice, going and staying, and oddly it is all correct.
In the end of his life when there’s no further postponing, being left only with death, departs to the Orient seeking a daughter he’ll never meet and writes her a letter, revealing his story, which is also the basis of our Portugal in contraries and antonyms.