A New Work Presented by Saudade Theatre

in co-production with
University of Florida School of Theatre and Dance

In 1998, on the Island of Mozambique, Izidine Naíta investigates a homicide inside the old Portuguese fort of São Sebastião, now a decaying old people’s refuge. Inside, Naíta faces the dead, clashes with life, and finds the truth nearly impossible to unravel from a series of convoluted confessions from the elderly, mysterious residents.

PLAYWRIGHTS  Stephen Ruffin, Filipe Valle Costa

DIRECTORS  Filipe Valle Costa, Stephen Ruffin

PRODUCER  Vanessa Varela

DRAMATURG Vanessa Varela

MATERIAL Adapted for the stage from Mia Couto’s novel Under the Frangipani.


July 21-24

Black Box Theatre | University of Florida School of Theatre and Dance

Tickets will be available this summer.

Behind the Work

Early stages of I AM THE DEAD MAN were written by Stephen Ruffin and performed as part of Saudade Theatre’s July 2020 festival, RE•DESCOBRIMENTOS, a virtual series of original plays on the legacy of colonialism and racial oppression, held in response to the tragic death of George Floyd and urgent demands for social justice.

What’s transpired since is a deeply personal mission to present this story, and others like it, through the combined experiences of our identities and artistic ethos. We commit to reevaluating and reframing the exhausted Western narratives of our shared history. This story is about Mozambique and its people. About a memory of a time before the colonizer, but also what has become of a nation in a spiral of violence over generations.

The Collaboration

A co-production between Saudade Theatre and the University of Florida School of Theatre and Dance, I AM THE DEAD MAN will be workshopped this summer on campus in Gainesville, FL, where Saudade Theatre will collaborate with student theatremakers to mount 4 performances at the Black Box Theatre, from July 21-24, 2022.


I AM THE DEAD MAN is created by Saudade Theatre’s Founder and Co-Artistic Director Filipe Valle Costa and Guest Artist Stephen Ruffin. With Saudade Theatre Executive Producer and project dramaturg Vanessa Varela, all members of the creative team are UF alumni.

The Creative Team

FILIPE VALLE COSTA, Co-Author & Co-Director

Filipe is a Portuguese Theatre Maker living in Brooklyn, NY. He is the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Saudade Theatre and holds an M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Florida. Filipe is currently known for his series regular role in John Singleton's FX drama series Snowfall.

VANESSA VARELA, Producer & Dramaturg

Vanessa produces Theatre, Sports & Entertainment Events and Digital Media in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. She also serves as the dramaturg for Saudade Theatre's original works, including for EL COMANCHERO or [The Path to the Kingdom of Heaven], which premieres April 15 at Kraine Theatre in New York, as part of Saudade Theatre's residency with FRIGID New York.