When the grandmother of Tiago Rodrigues was going blind, she asked her grandson to choose a book for her to learn by heart. By Heart invites the audience to reflect together upon what it means to “learn by heart” and the necessity of spaces for sharing. Every evening, Tiago Rodrigues invites ten spectators to join him on stage and engage in the peculiar experience of learning a text and sharing it with others. As they learn the text, theater, fiction and reality become intertwined and unlikely connections come to light between the Nobel Prize winner Boris Pasternak, a cook from northern Portugal and Wim Kayzer’s TV program Van de schoonheid en de troost.
By Heart is a piece about the importance of handing things down, of that invisible passing on of words and ideas that is only possible by memorizing a text. About the theatre as a place where anything that is not expressed in metres, euros or bytes can be handed down. About forbidden writings that have always found asylum in our heads and hearts, even in the most barbarous times. By Heart opens a space for artistic and political resistance, a space in which to fight against aging, disappearance and oblivion. As George Steiner says in Van de schoonheid en de troost, “When ten people learn a poem by heart, there is no KGB, CIA or Gestapo that can do anything about it. The poem will survive.”