Collection Title: Jesusa Rodríguez & Liliana Felipe : El Hábito collection
Title: Big mother
Alternate Title: Gran desmadre
Date: 2002 June
Location: Performance at Teatro Bar El Hábito, Mexico City, Mexico, in June 2002.
Work Type: Performance., Cabaret., Theater., Satire., Political performance., Queer performance.
Jesusa Rodríguez, writer, producer, director ; Liliana Felipe, producer, music director.
Jesusa Rodríguez, Ana Francis Mor, Nora Huerta, Marisol Gasé, Cecilia Sotres, Liliana Felipe.
Run-time (hh:mm:ss): 02:05:23
Language: In Spanish.
Synopsis: In this farcical cabaret performance, the 'Four Horsewomen of Apocalypse' perform humanity's war against nature, in a 'metaphysical' reflection on terrorism, surveillance, and the society of spectacle. After the terrorist attacks to New York on September 11, 2001, 'a hope for war is reborn,' along with the imminent and 'longed annihilation of nature.' A group of women volunteer to be locked up at Mega Corporation headquarters ('a product of the global fusion of the market of perfect autocompetition'), in a sorts of 'reality TV' show where metaphysical debates juxtapose with beauty contests, bureaucratic limbos, and theatrical last suppers.'Reach Your Metaphysics 2002' is a beauty pageant where the Four Horsewomen -representing Hunger, Epidemy, War, and Death- are confronted with philosophical questions: what is knowledge? Will? Conscience? The fate of the human species? The contestants then turn into secretaries of a government office where, between gossip and slaking off, they intend to finish their evaluation reports to Mega on how their Ministries (of Abundance, Peace, Truth, and Love) have contributed to the corporation's goal and achievement of 'joyfully destroying' nature and humanity. The women then turn into a satiric version of Federico García Lorca's 'House of Bernarda Alba' dramatic characters, in a supper where the daughters insist in getting Bernarda to tell them The Truth. Bernarda confesses that she is Mother Nature, the Big Mother, who created her offspring in order to mirror and contemplate herself.The kaleidoscopic play of gazes is thus multiplied, in a vortex of surveillance where Big Mother echoes Big Brother, both as Orson Well's '1984' dystopia and as Mexico's homonymous reality TV show. Metaphysically aggravated, the Horsewomen murder Mother Nature and, left with a barren planet, embark in 'a crusade against alien -extraterrestrial- terrorism.' Mexican director, actress, playwright, performance artist, scenographer, entrepreneur, and social activist Jesusa Rodríguez has been called the most important woman of Mexico. Often referred to as a 'chameleon,' Rodríguez moves seemingly effortlessly and with vigor across the spectrum of cultural forms, styles, and tones. Her 'espectáculos' (as both spectacles and shows) challenge traditional classification, crossing with ease generic boundaries: from elite to popular to mass, from Greek tragedy to cabaret, from pre-Columbian indigenous to opera, from revue, sketch and 'carpa,' to performative acts within political projects.Humor, satire, linguistic play, and the body are constants in her productions. She seeks to render corporal and, thus, visible, the tensions between the discourses in operation on and through the individual and collective body. Rodriguez's energy is intense and her commitment non-negotiable, always interrogating the nature, site, and consequences of power and its representation. Liliana Felipe, one of Latin America's foremost singers and composers, was born in Argentina in the 1950s. She left for Mexico just before the outbreak of the 'Dirty War' (1976), but her sister and brother-in-law were both 'disappeared'--victims of the military dictatorship's criminal politics. Liliana's music has a wide following in Latin America. She continues to be a powerful presence in Argentina, working with human rights organizations--especially H.I.J.O.S. (the organization of the children of the disappeared). In Mexico, Liliana went to one of Jesusa Rodríguez's performances.Jesusa, catching a glimpse of Felipe in the audience, remembers saying to herself: 'I am going to die with that woman.' Since then, Liliana and Jesusa have created two performance spaces, El Cuervo and later El Hábito in Coyoacán, Mexico City, that they still run. They 'married' in February 2000. El Hábito ( is a hotbed for intellectuals, feminists, gay rights activists and open-minded, progressive people who want to be engaged by a smart and critical humor. In this off-off space, and with the collaboration of their theater cooperative Las Divas, Jesusa y Liliana have produced hundreds of shows since the 1980s.
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Copyright Holder: El Hábito
Contact: Jesusa Rodríguez, Liliana Felipe
Jesusa Rodríguez
Liliana Felipe
Madrid 13
Coyoacán, México D.F., 04100