El rumor del incendio

7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13/05 – 20:30
ES > FR / NL
1h 30min

Lagartijas tiradas al sol – “lizards stretching in the sun” – is the name of a group of young Mexican artists who are performing in Europe for the very first time. In El rumor del incendio, they explore a shady piece of Mexican history involving guerrillas during the 1960s and 70s, focusing in particular on the personal experience of one woman, Margarita Urías. They use these movements of armed resistance as a filter to challenge our present and our future. What heritage have the elders left for today’s young adults? What does rebellion mean in the 21st century? How are we politicising our lives? What should we be resisting and what means should we be using? Based on real facts, witness statements and archive film and without ever falling into the trap of didacticism, the actors retrace events using lead soldiers and small-scale models filmed in real time. As if they were playing at war… A very visual show where collective history has a personal association, El rumor del incendio confronts the desire to take action and the difficulty of constructing political projects that carry hope. A genuine discovery!

Created by
Lagartijas tiradas al sol

Coordination & text
Luisa Pardo & Gabino Rodríguez

With
Francisco Barreiro, Luisa Pardo & Gabino Rodríguez

Actors in video
Harold Torres, Cesar Ríos & Mariana Villegas

Design & iconographic research
Juan Leduc

Video
Yulene Olaizola

Light design
Marcela Folres & Juanpablo Avendaño

Assistant
Mariana Villegas

Video assistant
Carlos Gamboa & Genaro Rodríguez.

Models
Francisco Barreiro

Technical consultant for the video
Emiliano Leyva

Presentation
Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Théâtre L’L

Production
Lagartijas tiradas al sol (Mexico City), Teatro de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

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Context
First Report to the Nation by the President Luis Echeverría, 1 September, 1971

“Mexico persists and changes within the framework of its Constitution. Accomplishment means renovating the pact on which national unity is founded. It is our way of staying on course and speeding up the progress of our history. The Constitution summarises the people’s struggles and aspirations. Political organisation, individual safeguards and the social rights that it establishes are the fruit of something particular to us which cannot be transferred. They indicate the unique path along which the life of Mexicans can move forward in a civilised and free way. When there are signs that our standards of community living are in jeopardy, we have to reassert them with greater conviction. Present and future generations must know that if we succeed in keeping our institutions fully alive, there will be no aim that we will not succeed in achieving. Ideologies may compete and interests may oppose, but while the people and the government sincerely fulfil the precepts of our Supreme Law, Mexico will continue to move forward. (22 seconds of applause) Nothing warrants the infringement of the rule of law. Supposedly progressive actions, which we do not have to tolerate, serve interests contrary to those which their instigators claim to uphold. (9 seconds of applause) The experiences of other times and other countries prove that the irrational spread of violence only leads to anarchy. Mexico has experienced great revolutions to which it owes its stability, its progress and its national character. That is why we should not confuse insignificant riots or underground politics with the genuine transformation of the country. We are a rapidly developing nation, whose institutions protect both the individual’s freedoms and the community’s wellbeing and whose domestic peace is the best defence of its sovereignty. We respect all beliefs and ideologies. No one is persecuted for exercising their political rights and enjoying their freedoms. We do not try to standardise thinking; on the contrary, our aspiration is that honest and sincere, reflective criticism contribute to social progress. For that very reason, the national conscience rejects the adventurers of disorder. We Mexicans have decided to persevere with democracy. We want the lives of our citizens and the courage of generations to develop without fear. We need to uproot rancour and unite our aspirations to face the future by relying on the entire nation’s moral stock.”

About the La Rebeldía project

Can a critical look at the past change the future? How was the world of our fathers? What do we inherit? What battles were fought before we were born? Where were we born? What does rebelliousness mean in the 21st century? What form does dissidence take today? How can we build a better country? How can we reduce inequality? How do we obtain our rights and freedom? How do we politicise our lives? Can Mexico be changed through armed struggle? No? So how can it be changed? Can it be revolutionary and institutional at the same time? How can we be players? Are there other systems for running things? Why is it so difficult to criticise the present one? Would another one have to be invented? Would it be better than this one? Could a past mistake be a key to the future? How do we restore hope?

The project is composed of three segments:

  • El Rumor del Oleaje (The Sound of Waves): is a blog where, for 7 months, we share in fortnightly instalments the theoretical and iconographical research that we did about armed movements in Mexico during the second half of the 20th century accompanied by present-day political reflections. We have stopped publishing, but the information will follow on the web. Website: elrumordeloleaje.wordpress.com
  • El Rumor del Incendio (The Sound of Fire): is a stage documentary about the life of the former guerrilla, historian and teacher Margarita Urías Hermosillo and an exhibition of the information published in the blog.
  • El Rumor del Momento(The Sound of the Moment): is a book derived from the collaboration of 24 persons of different ages and professions; from the coming together of different voices, an attempt is made to map out a way to the future, a map of hope.

We start from the need to see ourselves reflected in other persons: to see our time in relation to other generations, to create coordinates to define our place in Mexico in the year 2010; from the idea of telling a story that is not seeking to validate ‘a state of things’, we want to shape a narrative that makes it possible to situate ourselves, understand ourselves, to fix the present as a moment in a process that is neither beginning nor ending today.

During the sixties and seventies, scores of bands of guerrillas sprang up in Mexico, with notable political and ideological differences. The main division can be found between the rural armed movements and the urban ones: while the former sought the solution to certain concrete demands related to their places of origin, the latter generally sought to change the world.

The outcome of those episodes was an indefinite number of deaths, political prisoners and around a thousand or so forced disappearances. It involved young people of rural, popular and middle-class origins who saw revolutionary actions as the only way to change a State in which they did not find alternatives to their demands.

There is a time when some men and women consider that another way of being in the world would not only be preferable, but it proves intolerable for them to be part of a reality arranged in that way. As a result, they risk their own lives as long as they can subvert the existing system. This happens many times starting from the premise that “placing oneself on the fringe of the law is the only honest position when the law is not fair, when the law is there to defend the interests of a minority to the detriment of the majority”.

What amount of will and justification is needed to risk one’s life when passivity is so easy and so natural?

What drove those men and women to take up arms, forsaking comfort and everyday inertia in pursuit of change?

Walter Benjamin wrote: “Marx says that revolutions are the locomotives of world history. But the situation may be quite different. Perhaps revolutions are not the train ride, but the human race grabbing for the emergency brake.”

And so, totally aware of the differences that separate us from the Mexico of the 60s and 70s, we feel immersed in a deep state of unease. Sick. In a country in which we have become insensitive to inequality and, in our opinion, incapable of shaping political projects bearing hope.

We feel straitjacketed faced with the very widespread opinion that the world is shut for good and only one system of political, social and cultural organisation now exists. A system which proves moreover to be very difficult to criticise, even though we are brought face to face with its enormous flaws and its terrible drawbacks in our everyday lives.

Indignation, resistance, protest, divergence, revolt and insurrection appear to us as things of the past. This project is far from being a rallying cry to take up arms; this project is an attempt to restore the idea of utopia and the possibility of creating new thinking making it possible for us to imagine fairer worlds. To see the drawing in the sketch and to venture some ideas about the future. We hope that they set out; we shall know later on if they arrive at their destination.

The reasons of the heart should not be called into question; they should be obeyed and respected.

Lagartijas tiradas al sol, Mexico City, 2010
Translation: Christopher Griffin

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Lagartijas tiradas al sol is a group of Mexican artists and performers, established in 2003 by Luisa Pardo and Gabino Rodríguez. They develop their projects as mechanisms to link work and life, to erase borders. The work of these young Mexicans seeks to make sense of, articulate, dislocate, and disembowel what daily life fuses and overlooks. Lagartijas tiradas al sol has staged seven theatrical projects since 2003. The group has presented in several theatres in Mexico City, as well in national and international festivals and events. In 2003 and 2005 the company obtained the award for best play at the National Festival of University Theatre. In 2006 and 2007 the company participated in the National Drama Festival (Mexico). The company directors Luisa Pardo and Gabino Rodríguez took part in the Residence & Reflection-project at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in 2010.

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