LUKAS AVENDAÑO | Requiem for an Alcaraván
Where:Polski Theatre - Świebodzki Stage, Orląt Lwowskich Square 20c
35*, 40 PLN
Reaching for autobiographical motifs, the Mexican performer recalls in his performances the muxe category of feminine men from the Oaxaca region. He combines Indigenous tradition with elements of queer culture and questions the nature of gender identity.
Kathoey in Thailand, virgjineshe in Albania, hidźra in India, and muxe (pronounced: mushe) among the Zapotec people – means third sex. In the Mexican state of Oaxaca, especially in the town of Juchitán de Zaragoza, such boys play the roles of additional daughters of their mothers, supporting them with housework and accepting the social, emotional and sexual roles customarily ascribed to women. The muxe notion comprises homosexuality, transsexuality and same-sex marriage. Muxes cook, embroider, wear dresses, put on make-up and braid their hair. It is probably not without significance that in this nearly matriarchal community full of archaic rituals, women take on a more important position than men, which clearly differentiates this community from the rest of Catholic Mexico, imbued with the cult of machismo.
It is the Oaxaca region where Lukas Avendaño comes from. He has devoted his art to making the voice of his exceptional brothers (sisters?) heard and accepted by mainstream culture. By doing so, in a way, he becomes a spokesperson for all the people whose sexuality and gender roles are marginalized, looking for a well-deserved place among traditionally understood behaviours. In his work, the artist combines choreography, word and audiovisual materials to tell about the nature of the muxes, complex and full of contradictions, whose lives are torn between suffering and loneliness and a sense of pride and exceptionality. On the one hand, they function in an environment which, according to modern terminology, we could call "gay-friendly", enjoying their mothers and sisters` support, but on the other hand, they often struggle with rejection by their fathers and the inability to raise their own families and to find a suitable job, which often results in prostitution and drug abuse.
In "Requiem for an Alcaraván", which Avendaño will perform in Wrocław dressed in traditional Zapotec women’s outfits, ritual Indigenous dances and rites interweave with autobiographical motifs and actions inviting the audience to interact. The transgender dancer leads the audience through the stages of a woman’s life and its related traditional ceremonies and activities, such as marriage and mourning, the rites of care and healing as well as of the Transfiguration, saturating them with sensuality and, at the same time, eternal unfulfillment. The dancer’s soul symbolically personifies a local legendary bird called alcaraván in Spanish.