The solo performed by Francisco Camacho himself is the darkest of his works. The exiled king is D. Manuel II, but it is also obviously the author/performer/character who appears clad in a royal cloak (one of Carlota Lagido’s best costume designs to date), walkman over his ears, a briefcase handcuffed to his arm, his head almost shaven. And he sings Yesterday with the brainless voice common to anyone singing whilst listening to a walkman with the volume on full. Then we also hear the voices of Natália de Andrade, Nick Cave and Laibach. And we understand that there is nothing but irony and decadence. Hence the adulterated voices, the bad habits (coffee, whisky, too many cigarettes), the mordant comments on the imperfections of existence, as in the author’s self-portrait, on the “throne” (very sober and effective sets by Philip Cabau), playing in counterpoint to the flattering portrait of the King. The King in Exile is probably Francisco Camacho’s best work so far. It is a piece about the make-up of centralized power in the body, in the body of the King, who gets high on self-adoration, and is an obsession for his subjects (as shown by texts from the time spoken during the piece). The body of the King is the Christ, and his death the resurrection of life: the King is dead. Long live the King!"
In THE KING IN EXILE drew his inspiration from the figure of Dom Manuel II, the last king of Portugal. In a exploration of political power, this solo summarize Camacho's ongoing explorations of a body whose identity is captured within the traps of history and representation.
In THE KING IN EXILE we have Camacho's voice, the voice of Dom Manuel II and the voice of António Cabral, who chronicled the life of the exiled king. All three characters collapse into one single body whose status is ambiguous: neither self-performing nor performing an Other, neither totally autobiographical nor historical, this body lingers in representation, suggesting that "being" is but representation proper. History and autobiography merge in this solo as a device for cultural illumination.
By withdrawing himself from the field of the Other, by constituting himself as exiled, lost, lonely, beyond scopic reach, Camacho underlines the pathologies of the (Portuguese) representational field as inhabited by a constitutional blindness - a constitutional blindness that states that Portugal is both "unthinkable" and "invisible".
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