Collection Title: Hemispheric Institute archive
Title: Arquetipas
Alternate Title: Arquetipas
Alternate Title: Prehispanic cabaret
Alternate Title: Cabaret prehispánico
Date: 2004 Nov. 10
Location: Performed at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York University, as part of the MéxicoNOW festival, on Nov. 10, 2004.
Work Type: Performance., Cabaret., Political performance., Satire., Queer/Lesbian performance.
Arts International, producer ; Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, producer ; Jesusa Rodríguez, writer, creator, producer, director ; Liliana Felipe, creator, producer, music ; Marlène Ramírez-Cancio, songs translation.
Jesusa Rodríguez (protagonist), Liliana Felipe (protagonist).
Run-time (hh:mm:ss): 01:26:05
Language: In English and Spanish.
Synopsis: In this bilingual 'pre-Hispanic' cabaret performance, Jesusa Rodríguez and Liliana Felipe perform some of their staple characters and songs, in a satiric commentary on how US foreign policy, neoliberalism, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are affecting Latin America. 'Freaka Kahlo,' 'la Serpiente Enchilada' and the 'Coatlicue' are some of the queer 'arquetypical' characters performed by Rodríguez; through ingenious neologisms and humorous wordplay, they pose a critique to consumer society, repressive US policies against illegal migrants, the imposition of transgenic corn in Mexico (which is currently endangering the ecodiversity of native corn), and the opening of an American megastore (the controversial Walmart) nearby the pre-Columbian pyramids of Teotihuacán.Renown songs by Felipe - 'Tienes que decidir,' 'Mala,' 'El maíz,' among others - provide a powerful antiphonal commentary on these issues, bringing together the social and the personal in a engaging take on queer politics. The artists close the performance with their famous song 'Popocateptl,' a parodic version of Mexican composer José Pablo Moncayo's most well-known work, 'Huapango.' 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. They 'married' in February 2000.
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