As the world directs its attention to Mexico with the current outbreak of the swine flu, a small theatrical production arrives to put a face to the crisis, highlighting along the way the everyday hardships ordinary Mexicans are facing.
The play, currently showing at Rawabet Theater, is “Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico) by Mexican director Miguel Angel Vaylon.
The idea of the play came about in Paris to address the situation in Mexico from an artistic point of view. It is making a stop in Egypt where local performers have worked with Vaylon over one month to present this performance.
The performance starts with a projected unmoving shot of a concrete ground. The only interfering movements are the shadows and footsteps of passersby. Next, a salesperson in the background is heard calling for people to buy a remote-control television for 50 pesos.
One of the performers then appears, dancing and lip-synching to a song. He is then accompanied by five other performers, dancing and singing along.
A man dressed in black then treads out, blowing a whistle, forcing the other performers to scurry around, boxing themselves into little squares outlined with duct tape. In each square lies what appears to be each performer’s personal belongings – a hair brush, newspapers, a picture of the Virgin Mary. There’s one common item in each square; a blank clock.
Each performer then proceeds to tell their story, with one common theme binding them all together; time.
A lonely wife whose husband left in pursuit of a better job is battling time, reiterating that “tomorrow will not come, as long as her husband is away.
Time is money for the businessman whose chocolate factory was hit hard by the global economic crisis and battered further by the swine flu.
Between the storytelling, the man dressed in black, who represents society, blows his whistle again, pushing the performers to scramble around and making sure they stay in their confined spaces.
Time is also the central theme in the story of the student who was rejected by his love for being poor, and the journalist who says that in his profession, every second counts because something new will happen.
Perhaps the most memorable performance is that of Naglaa Moanes, who plays an aspiring actress, waiting for her big break. “My time will come, she utters.
Before she told her story, the performers scattered around, picking audience members to participate in their act. They each took someone into their confined space and proceeded to mimic everything the actress is saying, offering the only humorous scene in the play.
The swine flu, poverty, immigration and press freedom were some of the hardships highlighted in the performance, with time being the common constraining factor.
“Made in Mexico is set to make stops and work with artists from Manchester, Gran Canaria, Tunisia and Paris, until it reaches Mexico City in 2010.
The play is performed tonight, 8 pm, at Rawabet Theater. Tel: 010 551 9208