Collection Title: Hemispheric Institute featured interviews
Title: Interview with Jesusa Rodríguez
Alternate Title: Jesusa Rodríguez
Alternate Title: On Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Date: 2010 Aug
Location: Recorded at the San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México, in August 2010.
Work Type: Interview.
Cast/Performers:
Jesusa Rodríguez, interviewee ; Diana Taylor, interviewer.
Run-time (hh:mm:ss): 00:35:22
Language: In Spanish.
Synopsis: Interview with Jesusa Rodríguez, conducted by Diana Taylor, founding director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. In this interview, Jesusa Rodríguez talks about Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and her poem ‘Primero Sueño’ (‘First Dream’), a baroque work of art that condenses the genius of the 17th-century Mexican nun. She is linked through memory, history, and feminist statements with her contemporary counterpart, Jesusa Rodríguez, who memorized the almost 1,000 verses of the poem as a part of a creative process that allowed her not only to develop a profound interpretation of its contents, but also a fully bodily internalization experience. This intense relationship with the poem helped her to survive in the everyday world, to strengthen her political struggle, and to fight oblivion. For Jesusa Rodríguez, Sor Juana’s poetry is both a-temporal and contemporary, and a source of inspiration and wisdom to keep working on acts of resistance. As a tribute, Jesusa Rodríguez uses theater to transmit the greatest poem of one of the greatest Mexican poets, and to make it visible and accessible to everyone. Diverse stage elements serve as tools to reveal specific parts of the poem, through a ‘striptease,’ or an autopsy that helps to understand the beauty of Sor Juana’s words.Jesusa Rodríguez is Mexico’s most influential cabaret and political performance artist, and recipient of an Obie Award. Often referred to as a chameleon, Rodríguez moves seemingly effortlessly and with vigor across the spectrum of cultural forms, styles, and tones. Her work challenges 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. She ran the famous El Hábito in Mexico City with her partner, Liliana Felipe, where they staged hundreds of shows over the course of fifteen years. Most recently, she heads up the Resistencia Creativa movement in Mexico, whose key strategy is using ‘massive cabaret’ as a tool for political action.
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