October 28, 2020

Chile: a scenario of politics, bodies and sex | Culture


After a long queue and with all the accumulated expectation to see live the group that has carried the overwhelming message of A rapist in your way all over the planet, the Lastesis show finally started, and without any joke, with the projection of an old performance of the clowns on TV. That one – remember? – in which Fofó was listing the days of the week while he lamented for that girl who, poor of her, never had time to play: on Monday she had to iron, on Tuesday she had to sew, and on Friday it was time to cook. The naive expressions of the girls and boys who chant the lyrics next to the clown are now perceived as a powerful symbol, a patent revelation of the machismo that contained that song and, in it, the feeling of an entire era.

Today the mentality moves through other paths and the drive for dissent, and social justice, explores the many turns of feminism, whose message has taken dozens of cities this group of Chilean women with that suddenly recognized song in which they exclaim while pointing the finger that “the rapist is you”. If a few months ago Daffne, Sibila, Lea and Paula were four perfect strangers who lived and made art in a corner away from the world, today their performance, turned into a hymn replicated by women from all backgrounds, has made them something like stars in their home country, where they have even inspired the creation of their first national feminist party. There in the capital, Santiago, Lastesis recently participated with their expected new scenic proposal at the festival Santiago to a thousand, held between January 3 and 26 under the appropriate motto The power to act: three weeks of theater and dance where not only his, but all the claims that broke out in a mass protest on October 18 stormed the scene.

“On the one hand it gives us satisfaction to see how our work has resonated in so many people, but on the other hand it is also worrying: it is worrying to see how the problem we are talking about is transversal to such diverse cultures and countries that are called developed,” explained of the members of the collective, Sibila, after a function in which they returned to explore, cheered by the public, the slogans that have made them unexpectedly famous: ideas such as that rape is a tool of patriarchy to impose their dominance or that that same Patriarchy and capital make up a “criminal alliance.” “At the moment in which women and dissent appropriate this performance and going out to represent it is a problem we are sharing, ”summed up Daffne, another member of Lastesis.

In an event with 200,000 spectators and more than a hundred shows scheduled in dozens of spaces scattered throughout the city, a third free, yours was neither the only nor the one with more momentum dove into the swampy waters of politics. Many of the companies that participated agreed, in fact, to jump into that pool without clothes. Show on the stage naked bodies that escape the prevailing norm such as those of trans people, fat, black or HIV-positive, became a shout over the weeks of the festival against the impositions whose echoes also echoed outside the theaters , in the streets covered with graffiti and graffiti, in the burned churches or in the destroyed statues that now decorate the city of Santiago. The will to epatar and even scandalize with sexual acts such as removing a dildo from the vagina or batting naked in a mixture of soil and a white liquid similar to semen served these days to demand justice for issues as disparate – and at the same time as related – as LGTBfobia, racism or oppression of the Mapuche people, in works such as the pasoliniana Too much sexual freedom will make them terrorists, the Brazilian Is this a black? or the maori Love to death.

Image of the function 'Is this a black?', By the Brazilian company E Quem é Gosta?


Image of the function ‘Is this a black?’, By the Brazilian company E Quem é Gosta?

With functions that advocate the use of “e” as an inclusive language, with works that invent dialects to highlight the isolation to which women have been subjected or even with others that express the rage of injustice through silence , there was also room for proposals more focused on technical quality, staging or simply telling more friendly stories, from the hypnotic mix of screens with moving actors from Teatrocinema to the debu as actress of the Mexican singer Julieta Venegas in In love. Everything, in a 27th edition of a festival that traces its genealogy in the fight against the dictatorship and that, as noted by Carmen Romero, the director of the foundation that organizes it, had never suffered so many problems to reach term: given the protests that They started more than three months ago, and they are still alive despite going through the southern vacation period, they have been forced to suspend the night sessions and some of the street shows.

“It’s a Santiago a thousand in emergency, because we are in a special situation. But Chilean theater is always political, it is always thinking about social processes, ”added the director at the gates of the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center, the main venue of the event: a converted building that once housed the Pinochet military board and is just a few meters from the epicenter of the demonstrations. There, as in the rest of the spaces where the festival takes place, the greatest applause was not for the actors, not even for their claims, but for a gesture that almost everyone agreed to make in each final ovation: to cover one eye in tribute to the hundreds of citizens who have lost one due to police repression during the protests.

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