Contraelviento [videorecording] = Against the wind
Summary: The performance ‘Contraelviento’ (Against the Wind) was created by Peru’s leading theatre collective Yuyachkani in 1989, at the height of the country’s most recent civil conflict. It recounts the testimony of an indigenous survivor of the 1986 massacre at Soccos, in Ayacucho. Coya and her sister, Huaco, along with their father, are in the midst of colliding forces that destroy everything in the peasant village in the middle of the Andes where they live. The scenes of devastation correspond to the crossfire between terrorist group ‘Sendero Luminoso’ and the Peruvian Army that left civilians with no options for survival. The symbolic seeds of life would represent an option to preserve life, at the expense of the death of the peasants. Masked dancers and archangels fight for ownership of the peasants’ souls in the ‘danza de la diablada’ or Devil dance from the Fiesta de la Candelaria in Puno. After their death, the seeds of life are left by the peasants in the ground, and into the hands of the Ekeko, a constant figure on stage, who performs as witness of the story, and who will transmit both the seeds of life and the narration: ‘these seeds were given to me by a woman, who told me a story.’ The music, images, and voices bring Peruvian traditions to the stage, and at the same time reveal the miscommunications between those who hold power to exert either violence or justice, and the peasants who demand to be taking into account. The difficulties that they have to confront also encompass their constant efforts for survival – as Ekeko affirms: ‘the condor learnt to fly against the wind; now you have to follow him.’
Summary: Peru’s most important theater collective, Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani has been working since 1971 at the forefront of theatrical experimentation, political performance, and collective creation. Yuyachkani is a Quechua word that means ‘I am thinking, I am remembering;’ under this name, the theater group has devoted itself to the collective exploration of embodied social memory, particularly in relation to questions of ethnicity, violence, and memory in Peru. Their work has been among the most important in Latin Americas so called New Popular Theatre, with a strong commitment to grass-roots community issues, mobilization, and advocacy. Yuyachkani won Peru’s National Human Rights Award in 2000. Known for its creative embrace of both indigenous performance forms as well as cosmopolitan theatrical forms, Yuyachkani offers insight into Peruvian and Latin American theater, and to broader issues of postcolonial social aesthetics.
Credits: Ana Correa, Augusto Casafranca, Teresa Ralli, Debora Correa, Julián Vargas, Amiel Cayo, Rebeca Ralli, performers.