El Cantar del Playo or... a song is a rose is a thorn

El cantar del playo or... a song is a rose is a thorn is imagined as a songbook where choreography meets poetry. A collection of songs, images, and memories drawn from Mario Barrantes Espinoza’s own experiences in the gay scene of Costa Rica at that time. Through melodrama and poetic storytelling, he brings to life stories of this region through the perspective of a Central American migrant in Europe, in his effort to generate dialogue and understanding concerning Central America.

El Cantar - Mario Barrantes 16:9

San José, Costa Rica

It is the late 1960s. The romantic music of various Spanish-speaking artists floods the radio and television stations, coinciding with a rapidly growing telenovela culture and a golden era for music and literature in Latin America.

It is now the early 1990s. The incorporation of women into the job market increases, leaving many children in the care of aunts, grandmothers and domestic workers. These children absorb the musical tastes of the older generation while associating it with household chores and strict gender roles. Meanwhile, out on the streets, this music is the raw material for the art of the transformistas (drag queens) and are dearly treasured in the jukeboxes of the various old cantinas (bars).

Later, in 2010, these children have grown. They gather to celebrate the style of music they listened to as kids, now known as plancha, literally ‘the music for ironing clothes’. In the bars and clubs, plancha is the soundtrack to a joyous celebration through melodramatic songs of love and heartbreak. These parties are a unique space where queerness and self expression are explored and shared.

Concept, artistic direction & performance: Mario Barrantes Espinoza — Texts edition: Theo Livesey, Mario Barrantes Espinoza — Sound design and music arrangement: Pablo Esbert Lilienfeld — Lighting and technical direction: Ryoya Fudetani — Costumes and set: Flavio Juan Núñez & Laurent Tijou: Video projections: Federico Vladimir Strate Pezdirc — Vocal advice and coaching: Ignacio Jarquín — Methodology: Manu — Production: Hiros —Coproduction: Kunstenwerkplaats, WpZimmer, KVS, Het TheaterFestival, Vooruit, C-takt, KAAP — With the support of: Kunstencentrum Buda, workspacebrussels, deSingel


18.10.2021 - 22.10.2021

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15.07.2021 - 23.07.2021