Kammer 1




Author and director Alberto Villareal, a native of Mexico City, is one of the most radical and eloquent representatives of a young theatre, whose aim is to work through and overcome the legacies of colonialism – especially with regard to the relationship between aesthetic, historical and political issues.

The production “Cactácea” was commissioned by London’s Royal Court theatre to honour and continue the exchange that began ten years ago with Mexico’s vibrant contemporary theatre scene. Alberto Villareal had been asked to write and stage a text on collective identity and the imaginary parts in ideas of a nation. The result is a blend of theatrical installation and performative essay, supported by strong, hypnotic images that are located on different time axes and saturated with both mythical and pop-cultural references.

The text consists of four parts. It deals with Mexico’s origins within its indigenous cultures and attendant notions and projections. What is regarded here as social and political reality always carries a nuance of hallucination. The etymologies of the word “Mexico” are explored; they show how diverse and paradoxical the traces of its origin are.

From conqueror and colonialist Hernán Corté’s plan to found a divine city in a new region, the stream of thought moves towards the Internet as a virtual territory that has created its own founding myths, its own citizens and its own ideas of loyalty in times of war and peace. The version of the play presented here begins with a prologue, which is based on the bizarre ideas of the Mexican video artist, web activist and conspiracy theorist Randy Prozac.

The production is also the result of an invitation from the Guadalajaran puppet theatre company, Luna Morena, who celebrated their 15th anniversary in the summer of 2016 with this production. In a joint work process together with the ensemble, Alberto Villarreal has created a complex system of performative situations, which skilfully interlink drama and puppet theatre, fairground attraction and video images taken from a drone. The puppets used were especially made for the occasion.

The premiere of “Cactácea” took place in an old cinema built during the 1930s in Guadalajara. All the performances were sold out. The production provoked controversial and passionate discussions. For the performance at the Münchner Kammerspiele, Alberto Villarreal and Luna Morena will stage a version specially developed for this theatre and the German public.

The Mexican historian and philosopher Edmundo O’Gorman writes that the American continent was not “discovered”, but “invented”. “Cactácea” is the theatre of this invention, a view of the sacred, the festivities and the crimes that are connected in Mexico’s hallucinatory origin. It moves towards a historic point where, one day, we will experience the end of every form of nation. Perhaps in the future, we will inhabit virtual homelands that are as fascinating as the virtuality embodied by the word “Mexico”.

Part of Endstation Sehnsucht – Theater in Mexico: A festival about flight, identity and the representability of violence

Curated by Christoph Gurk and Ilona Goyeneche.

In cooperation with Goethe-Institut Mexiko. Funded by Kulturstiftung des Bundes. Supported by Secretaría de Cultura de México, Goethe-Institut München and Instituto Cervantes.

Next to the individual ticket a FESTIVAL PASS is available at the box office.

FESTIVAL PASS (for 6 days): 60 Euro / discounted 40 Euro

In order to see the full program click here.