Interview with Jesusa Rodríguez [videorecording] : On a Mesoamerican Acting Technique - Malinche
Summary: Interview with Jesusa Rodríguez, conducted by Diana Taylor, founding director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. In this interview, Jesusa Rodríguez discusses the possibility of developing a non-Western, Mesoamerican acting technique, based in a pre-Hispanic conception of the human being, which understands the body in a conjunction of mind and spirit. Jesusa Rodríguez follows Alfredo Federico López Austin’s research on the Aztec worldview and on Mesoamerican religion, and explains how she concentrates her strength in bodily channeling the persons she characterizes in her shows. In the second part of this interview, she channels La Malinche, the interpreter and lover of Hernán Cortés in Mexico’s Conquest, to tell her true story. Through this example, and in a dialogue with contemporary indigenous communities’ struggles, Jesusa Rodríguez proposes alternative ways of knowledge, and alternative art and performance techniques, based on indigenous worldviews.
Summary: 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.
Credits: Jesusa Rodríguez, interviewee ; Diana Taylor, interviewer.