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Alda Garrido: The Big Personality

Alda Garrido

The Big Personality

1896–1970, Brazil

Meet Alda Garrido, the hilarious Brazilian stage performer!

I wish I knew more about her, but most of the information about her life and comedy is written in Portuguese. And Google Translate can only get me so far.

Here’s what I know:

Alda Palm was born in São Paulo to João Serapião Palm and Amancia Moreira Palm. You did not receive an birth announcement because it happened in 1896, and you weren’t alive yet. It’s too late to send a gift, so don’t even bother.

At 19, Alda married the actor Américo Garrido. (You probably weren’t invited to the wedding, but don’t take it personally.) Alda and Américo formed a comedic stage duo called “Dupla de Garrido.” They moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1920 and continued to perform in a variety of shows, with their own company as well as with other vaudeville impresarios.

Alda’s signature character was a rustic hillbilly type. She was also a parodist. The only song she ever recorded, “Rude Franqueza,” was a take on a popular song, “Franqueza Rude.” In the original, a male singer laments the ways of women. In Alda’s parody, she laments the ways of men.

Alda’s biggest success was in the play "Dona Xepa" in 1953. The playwright, Pedro Bloch, noted Alda’s improvisational dexterity. Journalist Jota Efegê described Alda's improv brilliance, too: she “gives rise to a spontaneous performance where her intuition prevails… Going beyond the script.”

But it was Alda’s over-the-top, unique personality that really made her a star. I love this quote from theater critic Decio de Almeida Prado, thanks to Wikipedia:

“Properly, not even an actress she is. An actress is a professional specialized in not being the same person twice. Alda Garrido is none of this. Her theatrical technique in psychological characterization is the most precarious.

 

On the other hand, she has something much rarer: a genuinely comical personality.

When she performs, the comic part is never on the character, but on the artist, on what she possesses as unmistakably inimitable. What we most admire is not the play, but the very Alda Garrido, with her irreverence and madness, which allows her to always behave in a less conventional way and common sense, which makes her find the most disconcertingly prosaic answer in every situation.

Alda Garrido is much more than an actress, she is a great eccentric person, like one of those comic cinema and theater American artists such as Groucho Marx, and Danny Kaye."

Alda died in 1970 at the age of 74. Were you invited to the funeral? Probably not, but again, don’t feel bad, you didn't know. Alda’s hit play, "Dona Xepa," went on to become a Brazilian TV show in 1977.

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