FADO – The Saddest Music in the World

Nov. 21 - Dec. 14


The Saddest Music in the World


FADO runs 80 minutes with no intermission, is presented in English with the songs of fado in Portuguese. An English translation of the songs is provided in the program.

“…resonates and pulls at heartstrings in inexpressible ways.  Fado is another triumph for Mercedes Bátiz-Benét and Puente Theatre.”

~ Janice Lacouvée

Fado is a triumph.  Its raw emotion echoes long after the final notes are sung.”

~ Showbill Canada


Acclaimed Portuguese-Canadian playwright Elaine Ávila’s new play, FADO, is a tale of love and ghosts set in the back alleys and brothels of old Lisbon.  Part concert, part theatre, the story of a young woman confronting her country’s Fascist past and her own identity is interwoven with the heartbreaking national music of Portugal known as Fado, which means “fate.”

The hit of the Victoria Fringe in 2018, Fado won the Award for Favourite Musical, with BC’s own beloved Sara Marreiros playing the ghost of Amália Rodrigues, the queen of Fado.


Written by: Elaine Ávila
Directed by: Mercedes Bátiz-Benét
Performances by: Sara Marreiros, Natasha Napoleao, Lucia Frangione, Judd Palmer, Pedro Siqueira, Chris Perrins , and Dan Weisenburger
Stage Management by: Emma Dickerson
Costume & Set Design by: Patricia Reilly
Lighting Design by: Emma Dickerson
Sound Design by: Aidan Dunsmuir




Founded in 1988, Victoria-based Puente Theatre is dedicated to celebrating our country’s cultural diversity through theatrical experience.  For over 30 years, Puente has created, produced, translated, toured, and presented professional theatre from the perspective of people outside of the mainstream, bringing people together across boundaries, and exploring what it means to forge a future for our planet made out of billions of different and utterly unique identities.

Best known for shows like El Jinete: a Mariachi Opera, which won the Director’s Award at SummerWorks in Toronto, or Gruff, a classic fable recast as a parable about Trump-era politics created in collaboration with the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, or Elaine Avila’s Lieutenant Nun, the true story of a transgender conquistador, set in the ruined fortifications of McCaulay Point Park in Victoria – which won Favourite Drama, Favourite Ensemble, and Audience Favourite – Pick of the Fringe that year.



Director – Mercedes Bátiz-Benét is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, and award-winning director. She was born and raised in Mexico and in 1997 she moved to Canada. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing in both poetry and drama, and a BA Honours in Philosophy from the University of Victoria (where she was honoured as the 2015 Faculty of Fine Arts Distinguished Alumna), as well as a Diploma in Film Production from the Pacific Film & New Media Academy. Productions of her work include Faust: Ignis Fatuus, at the international festival “Faustfest”, Shining Through, Lágrimas Crueles, With Open Arms, El Jinete, A Mariachi Opera, Cruel Tears/Lágrimas Crueles, a Puente and Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre co-production, The Umbrella, The Secret Sorrow of Hatchet Jack Macphee for The Caravan Farm Theatre, The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan with the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, and Puente Theatre’s Gruff. In 2014, Mercedes won the Canadian Stage Award for Direction at the SummerWorks Festival with her play El Jinete, A Mariachi Opera. Mercedes is the artistic director of Puente Theatre.


Playwright – Elaine Avila’s writing is described as “bold, intelligent, forthright, spirited, compassionate, inviting, wide ranging” (Caridad Svich); “open, generous,” (Erik Ehn); “tremendously gifted, innovative,” (Suzan-Lori Parks) and “stunningly effective, poetic and insightful.” (Kathleen Weiss).

Her plays are produced in Central America (Teatro Lagartija, National Theatre of Panamá); Canada, (Canadian Centre for Theatre Creation, Theatre SKAM, Puente Theatre, SNAFU Dance Theatre); New York City (Saudade Theatre, Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, Hybrid Theatre Works, Occupy the Empty Space); the U.S. (Tricklock, Theatre Simple); Portugal (Café A Brasileira, Kitimat), and London, England (Tracey Neuls).

Recent plays: Jane Austen, Action Figure; Quality: the Shoe Play, La Frontera/The Border, Lieutenant Nun, Change, Memorial, Burn Gloom.

Selected awards: Victoria Critic’s Circle for Best New Play, DISQUIET International Short Play Award (Lisbon), New Works for Young Women Award (Tulsa), Best Production/ Audience Favorite—Festival de los Cocos (Panamá City). She has taught in universities from British Columbia to Tasmania, China to Panamá.

Publications: NoPassport Press (Jane Austen Action Figure and other Plays, 2012 in 24 Gun Control Plays, 2013), Canadian Theatre Review, Portuguese American Review, Café Onda, American Theater, Contemporary Theatre Review. She is an Associate at the Playwrights Theatre Centre, former Endowed Chair/Head of the MFA Program in Dramatic Writing at the University of New Mexico, and founder of the LEAP Playwriting Program at the Arts Club Theater in Vancouver.

On Elaine Avila’s plays:

“Touching, exciting … People will be talking about it for years to come.” —Monday Magazine

“Subversive, full of surprises.” —Edmonton Journal

“Passionate, hyper-Canadian.” —National Post


Music Director/performer – Sara Marreiros is the embodiment of a musical nomad.  Her latest EP, Something Sweet on The Wind, was released to a worldly following of listeners who appreciate her presence as a songstress who maps together melodic stories of the old and new.

Growing up between Sagres, Portugal, and Victoria, Canada, Sara was brought up in many traditions traveling her way through Europe and North America.  Musically speaking, Sara from a young age was immersed in experiences of Fado bars falling asleep in her parents arms, to the sounds of busy  city Morocco and Paris squares, as well as formal Jazz and Classical studies in Victoria.  Rich settings for song to grow.

Adulthood came with her first big move to N Y. at age 18, living for a year within an emersion in the Jazz scene.  Her adventures continued to Portugal, US, and throughout Canada where Sara performed collaborated, and recorded alongside musicians with influences of hip-hop, jazz, world beat, electronic and folk. Working and rubbing shoulders with many notable names, Sara collected insights informing and establishing her colourful perspective at many venues such as the Vancouver Folk Festival and recording live CBC studio sessions across Canada.

As time polished her identity, the heritage sounds of Fado became a stronger calling with its haunting and soulful yearning of Saudade.  Debuting with the album “Alma De Terra “in 2002, followed by”Minha Luz” in 2005 and now highlighted in her newest gem “Something sweet on the Wind” released August, 2012.