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.
This is La Malinche, the woman I was telling you about, from the Conquest...
“Good evening, dear urinal-goers. Today I have come to inform you, or to tell you, or to narrate to you, what really happened when what happened came to pass. I mean, that time when it happened, whose annals are so faithfully recorded by Bernal Díaz del Castillo and Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. It so happens that we were all looking into the black mirror of Tezcatlvisa, when suddenly the Tlatoani, our Leader, says, “Look,” he says, he tells me, “look Malinche,” he says, he says, “look,” he says, “go check it out, go, go to Veracruz,” he tells me, “because I think what I’m seeing here is turning ugly,” he tells me. And I tell him, I tell him, “Oh really? Why?”, I tell him. “Well cause I say so,” he tells me. “Well,” I say, “if you say so,” I tell him, “what can I say?” And then he tells me, he says, “Well, then go,” he says, “and see what you can tell me.”
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