Brazilian theatre company of actors, puppets and objects. XPTO was founded in 1984 in São Paolo by plastic artist Osvaldo Gabrieli (born and trained in Buenos Aires, Argentina, before he settled in Brazil in 1980) in cooperation with musician, composer Roberto (Beto) Firmino. Co-founders Natália Barros and André Gordon were joined by actors Anie Welter, Wanderley Piras and Sidnei Caria. These artists mixed different theatrical techniques and languages in their eccentric shows, where puppetry and object animation played side by side with comedy, dance and music. Puppets and actors intermingled, as in the show Buster Keaton contra a Infecção Sentimental (Buster Keaton Against the Sentimental Infection, 1984), and certain abstract compositions evoked those of the avant-garde of the 1920s, as in Kronos (1987).
The troupe especially used costume puppets (manipulated by an actor within) and abstract costumes, as in Babel Bum (Babel Boom, 1994) and Coquetel Clown (Cocktail Clown, 2004). Sometimes giant puppets were used as in street shows and in the collages of allegorical scenes, surreal or fantastic. The performers were accompanied by the sound of the saxophone or violin, drums, the keyboard, flute or even an entire orchestra or choir, as in Aquelarre 2000 – la Luna (Gathering of Witches 2000 – The Moon, 1995). Federico García Lorca inspired some more recent productions including LORCA – Aleluia erótica em 38 quadros e 1 assassinato (LORCA – Erotic Alleluia in 38 Frames and 1 Assassination, 2007) and O Público de Federico García Lorca (The Public by Federico García Lorca, 2008).
Proposing both a “theatre of figures” and visually and musically vigorous shows, the company has received numerous awards and has participated in many festivals in Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, the former Yugoslavia) as well as in Latin America and Asia.