“A city always contains more than any inhabitant can know, and a great city always makes the unknown and the possible spurs to the imagination.” – Wanderlust: A History of Walking
In St Ana–only poetically ‘a city’– a humble home doubles over as a workshop and stage for two theatre makers. Teatro Charado, the creation of Rodolfo and Lia, is a puppet performance troupe. Mixing local folklore with Guatemalan political commentary and Punch & Judy style marionettes with Mayan symbolism, the two artists have created a distinctly contemporary, Guatemalan style of storytelling and pupeteering. Teatro Charado frequently travels abroad, performing across Central, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Lack of support and funding at home results in few productions in Guatemala; this is a shame given the charm and talent of these two.
Their workshop is like any puppet lair, bookshelves of Bunraku & Lecoq theory, broken doll’s head, some piano wire, and a valise full of scarves, fabrics and props. But the Guatemalan spirit is present amidst the traditional chaos: Mayan masks from ritual dance, paintings of geometric shapes in repetition, Christian images of the devil, and the ever present sound of the volcano, Fuego, rumbling. Nestled in the shadows of a steep hill with dense trees, the atelier has an Edward Burton charm and spook.
Walking through the atelier, I recalled the words of my former university professor: “Theatre is part of human culture. Human culture is not a given. It is a process. It can be changed by action. It is a constant process and must be tended to by culture makers– by theatre makers.” In this humble home and atelier, theatre makers Rudolfo and Lia are actively taking part in the creation of their culture.
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