Collection Title: Jesusa Rodríguez & Liliana Felipe : El Hábito collection
Title: Cielo de abajo (cabaret prehispánico)
Alternate Title: Sky below (pre-hispanic cabaret)
Alternate Title: Cabaret prehispánico
Date: 1992 June
Location: Performed at Teatro Bar El Hábito, Mexico City, Mexico, in June 1992.
Work Type: Popul Vuh., Performance., Cabaret., Theater., Political performance., Queer performance.
Jesusa Rodríguez, writer, producer, director ; Liliana Felipe, writer, producer, original music ; Malú Huacuja, writer.
Jesusa Rodriguez, Liliana Felipe.
Run-time (hh:mm:ss): 01:02:26
Language: In Spanish and Nahuatl.
Synopsis: This two-woman, one skeleton 'prehispanic' cabaret follows the trajectory of a soul traversing the nine levels of a pre-Hispanic underworld. An indigenous woman mourns her dead lover, and decides to go to 'el cielo de abajo' ('the sky below') to look for her. The journey roughly follows the route mapped out in the Nahuas' sacred text 'Popul Voh,' as well as in Alfredo López Austin's book 'Cuerpo humano e ideología: Las concepciones de los antiguos nahuas' (The Human Body and Ideology: The Ideas of the Ancient Nahuas). The script, partly Spanish and partly Nahuatl (the language of the so-called Aztecs) is loosely based on a prehispanic conception of the afterlife of mortal souls during their arduous trip to their final resting place. Ultimately, this cabaret performance poses a poetic exploration of love, gender, seduction, sacrifice, and death.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