Post is a piece of innovative, interactive theatre, set around a Portuguese dinner table and hosted by Xavier de Sousa. His parents are among "the returned": migrants who had made their home in other countries for a generation or two, but are then returned to Portugal, a land unknown to them. He poses a variety of questions about national identity and invites his guests to answer them. From the moment we set foot in the theatre, de Sousa effortlessly puts us at ease, with a kind word for each guest or a question by means of introduction.
Unfortunately most of the audience simply observe the meal, which takes place on the stage at a table not large enough to accommodate the disciples in the Last Supper (or more). I was on the stage and immersed in the guided conversation, which I enjoyed very much. Most members of the audience were not so privileged, and it’s their reaction that I find difficult to gauge.
De Sousa asks a series of penetrating questions, and does not pretend to have any answers; he is hosting a dinner party after all, not a political debate. But this means the show relies on spontaneous responses from the guests at the table, which on the day I attended, I felt could have been more incisive. He also makes frequent reference to "representation", but it wasn't clear to me at first what he meant by that; he assumes a shared language and understanding that I’m not sure is well-founded.
Although there is a history lesson at the beginning, De Sousa does not fully explain who he is, what prompts the questions, or how he would answer them. He clearly wants to get the audience thinking – which is to be commended – but it would have helped if he'd summed up at the end.
That said, the audience was buzzing when the show ended, many mounting the stage to congratulate de Sousa and share their thoughts. I have never seen theatre quite like this, and it is simple but effective and well-received. Leave the car at home and you may well enjoy a fine evening out.