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Spotlight On: A Series on Culture & the Arts

artzenico“Spotlight On” is XelaWho’s regular monthly series on all things cultural & artistic in Xela and Guatemala. This month’s topic is: Artzénico Theater Troupe.

Artzénico are an absurdist theater group that recently started performing around town. XelaWho caught up with members Bonifaz Díaz and Jordi Mollering to find out just exactly what the hell is going on here.

XelaWho: So who’s in the group?
Bonifaz: It’s a mixture of North Americans, Guatemalans and Europeans. We all come from different backgrounds in music and theater.

X: What exactly is absurdist theater?
Jordi: It’s a wide term, but what we do is take things from real life and put them into an absurd context, to highlight the reality.
B: We try to break the bounds of conventional theater and go against logic and reason.

X: What’s the show called that you’re performing at the moment?
B: It doesn’t have a name because it always changes. No two performances are the same.

X: But you have themes that you work on?
J: Mostly they deal with bureaucracy, politics and confrontation. They lend themselves easily to the absurd… we also just have ridiculous ideas that come from nowhere.
B: Our performances are like a mix between theater and poetry, accompanied by violin.

X: And what is the creative process like? Does everybody write?
B: Mostly. Someone comes with an idea and we work it through. We never have a text as such.

X: How have the audience reactions been?
J: Overall, pretty positive – most people seem to be open to new things and what we’re trying to do.
B: Sometimes you can see the reactions in the crowd – first, it’s confusion, then they think it’s funny, then they kind of get uncomfortable, then they tend to get it.
J: Sometimes people are disappointed. They expect a logical sequence to a performance and they get confused when they can’t find it.

X: Where have you been performing?
B: We’ve performed at El Cuartito. We’re going to keep playing cafés and maybe Spanish schools, but eventually we’d like to play more for locals, maybe go on tour…

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