The Doors of Perception

2007 co-produção com o Teatro Académico de Gil Vicente

«If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thru’ narrow chinks of his cavern.»

William Blake (1757-1827), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell [1790]

The very particular characteristics of the project “The Doors of Perception” make it run across the several vectors of MARIONET’s activity. As well as in science, where we find no definite frontiers between areas of knowledge, and in the in the arts we find the words interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary or transdisciplinary being commonly used, also in our activity there’s a natural permeability in the frontier regions where content, form and methods mingle. The Doors of Perception appears in this context and exists as an artistic product belonging to this border region of our activity where we intend to open paths to the future.

The idea to this Project departing from Blake came from the then director of TAGV, Manuel Portela, professor of the Grupo de Estudos Anglo-Americanos of the Faculdade de Letras of Universidade de Coimbra, translator of several works of Blake and, in particular, of his illuminated poems, whose singularity concerning their poetic content and the multiplicity of their creation process make them desirable fruits to a transdisciplinary performance.


Just like in the illuminated poems of William Blake, where text and image work together in the production of meaning, the selection of texts chosen by Manuel Portela created for us a particular world within the visionary cosmogony of Blake. Here we found ideas of freedom for the bodies and the emotions in the form of a new Genesis. A world without absolute scale and time, where the birth of a man is simultaneously the original explosion which generated the finite world. Mind and body are one and closed in the five finite senses. Before it was the infinite and only will determined form. After the fall from Eternity we were condemned to the limits of the material world we can perceive. Secular institutions like the Church, the State, and part of the scientific community, try to organize this perception in order to legitimate their laws with measures and calculations.

To clean the doors of perception will allow to contemplate this conspiracy but also to find the individual incapable of obeying – the unlimited man, who will suffer complexity without hiding behind the horizon.

About William Blake

The work of William Blake constitutes a true cosmogony which rewrites and recombines different creation myths. Writing, drawing, engraving, printing, painting and publishing, William Blake called upon his hands all the symbolic potential of the book as a creation machine along with the control of the typographic methods, in a time when the division of work and the industrialization of the press were starting to appear. Besides his manuscript prophetic poems Tiriel (c. 1789), The French Revolution (1791) and The Four Zoas (c. 1795-1804), His work includes the following illuminated books: All Religions are One (c. 1788), There is No Natural Religion (c. 1788), Songs of Innocence (1789), The Book of Thel (1789), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790), Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793), For Children: The Gates of Paradise (1793), America a Prophecy (1793), Europe a Prophecy (1794), Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1794), The First Book of Urizen (1794), The Book of Los (1795), The Song of Los (1795), The Book of Ahania (1795), Milton A Poem (1811) and Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion (1820). To the illuminated books add hundreds of paintings, drawings and engravings. In the last ten years, the digitalization of his work has been building a reading space which allows to look in a renewed way to the iconic materiality of his visionary trace, recovering the visual and literary integrity of the originals. MANUEL PORTELA [trans. MARIONET]


Idea, translation and text and images selection: Manuel Portela | Artistic direction: Mário Montenegro | Direction assistant and executive producer: Alexandre | Discussion and ideas: Alexandre, Anabela Fernandes, Laetítia Morais, Manuel Portela, Mário Montenegro, Nuno Fareleira, Pedro Andrade, Rui Capitão, Rui Simão e Tanya Ruivo| Performed by: Anabela Fernandes, Mário Montenegro, Nuno Fareleira e Tanya Ruivo | Stage design, costume and image: Pedro Andrade | Original soundtrack: Rui Capitão | Video: Laetítia Morais | Lighting and Technical direction: Rui Simão | Sensors programming: Rui Monteiro | Hairstyling: Carlos Gago | Carpentry: Laurindo Fonseca | Photography: Francisca Moreira | Video: Alexandre e Francisco Queimadela | Production assistant: Joana Figueiredo

Co-producers: Marionet e Teatro Académico de Gil Vicente


DG Artes (Direcção Geral as Artes) / MC (Ministério da Cultura) | British Council | MAFIA – federação cultural de Coimbra| F. Letras da U. C. | Ilídio Design | Diário de Coimbra |  RUC | República Rosa Luxemburgo