Tônia Carrero, Emiliano Queiroz and Nelson Xavier, in the scene of the first production of 'Navalha na Carne' (1968), by Plínio Marcos. Photo: reproduction


Emboldened in the fight against the escalation of horror established with the civil-military coup of 1964, the stupendous Tônia Carrero, who left us on Saturday night (3) at the age of 95, when, in the midst of surgery, she was victimized by a paralysis heart, was also decisive in defending the free expression of Brazilian theater.

In the photo above, in the first montage of Razor in the Flesh, by Plinio Marcos, playing the prostitute Neusa Sueli, Tônia opposite Nelson Xavier (the pimp Vado) and Emiliano Queiroz (Veludo, considered the first gay character with dramatic depth in Brazilian theater, also employed by the brothel where Neusa works).

Revealed with the montage of two texts no less ravishing, barrels (1958) and Two Lost in a Dirty Night (1966), Plínio, with the originality of his violent and marginal dramaturgy, aroused the fascination of actors, directors and playwrights. Egress from the circus and sponsored by Patrícia Galvão, a Pagu, who then lived in Santos (SP), hometown of the clown, actor and playwright, Plínio was on the radar of theater critics in the same way that he was monitored by the military and censors.

The revelation that Razor in the Flesh, directed by Fauzi Arap at the request of Plínio, would be produced by Tônia, who would play the protagonist, became a reason for mockery and suspicion. Beautiful and sophisticated, according to some fools, the actress would have an unlikely performance as a prostitute segregated in the sordid universe of a brothel.

Original poster of the first montage of 'Razor in the Flesh'. PHOTO: Reproduction

After the premiere in São Paulo, which was censored in the first few days, a ban faced with a season of intimate productions organized by Cacilda Becker and Walmor Chagas in the couple's apartment, Razor In The Flesh, which in São Paulo was directed by Jairo Arco e Flecha, with Ruthnéa de Moraes (Neusa Sueli), Paulo Villaça (Vado) and Edgard Gurgel Aranha (Veludo), debuted in Rio de Janeiro, in September 1967, at Teatro Maison de France. The insolent production, later transferred to the Gláucio Gil Theater, where it ran until February 1968, stunned the audience and silenced the skepticism of those who doubted the actress' dramatic power.

With the success of the carioca season, Razor in the Flesh would tour the country, as Tônia planned, but, thanks to the ostensible gag surrounding Plínio's work, severely amplified after December 13, 1968 with the advent of the AI-5, the show's itinerancy was cut short by the iron fist of censorship. and it was only staged again in 1980, directed by Odilon Wagner.

Plínio, as was to be expected, was arrested that year, in the premises of the 2nd Army, in São Paulo, the same place where, in 1975, journalist Vladimir Herzog was cowardly murdered and exposed as a suicide. With the support of friends such as Tônia and Cassiano Gabus Mendes, then director of TV Tupi, who led a campaign in defense of the playwright, Plínio was released on the condition that he comply with the national ban on all his plays.

An unfulfilled promise, he returned to xilindró when, on May 26, 1969, at Teatro Coliseu, he intended to stage Two Lost in a Dirty Night. From the Santos prison, he was later transferred to the DOPS, the Department of Political and Social Order, in São Paulo. With the support of friends, Maria Della Costa and Tônia on the front lines, he was soon released and again instructed not to assemble his pieces.

An imposition that led him, on the recommendation of his colleagues, amazed by the misdirections of Brazil in those days, to continue his role as an actor on TV, where, in the role of Vittorio, he was a national success in the telenovela. Beto Rockefeller.

On the official website dedicated to the playwright, there is an account by Plínio that measures the courage of Tônia Carrero. 

“The performance of the play, behind closed doors, would be at Teatro Opinião. The army surrounded the theater. Forbidden the presentation. Tônia Carrero bought the fight. She took the performance to an empty house she had on Santa Teresa hill. To throw off the trail, I gave interviews to journalists, while the people, who received passwords with the address of the house, left without fanfare. The house was packed and there was an audience for another show. It took a lot of courage. Tonia had to throw all her prestige on the table. She had to face an ugly fight with her relatives in general. But she won and debuted.”

Tônia leaves, in addition to her historic performances in 54 plays, 19 films and 15 telenovelas, a legacy of resistance that contrasts with the political illiteracy and ideological alienation of many of her peers today, when democracy again fades away. Mission Accomplished. May it go in peace!


In 1969, directed by Braz Chediak, Razor in the Flesh was cast for the cinema. Of the original cast of the play, only Emiliano Queiroz. Nelson Xavier was replaced by Jece Valadão. Tônia Carrero by Glauce Rocha. See the film in full below.

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