Makuyeika Colectivo


October 23 - 27, 2019

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare

a WorldStage production from México
directed by Héctor Flores Komatsu 

A Note from the Director

Makuyeika is the name I was given by the Wixaritari people of Cohamiata. When I arrived at their village, high up in the mountains, the locals inquired about my profession in broken Spanish, to which I responded with a word and idea completely unknown to them—theater. Now, how does one go about explaining theater to someone who has never even heard of it? And thus, I resorted to simplifying: “I am traveling, searching...” A man then exclaimed in his native tongue: “Ah! Makuyeika.” Meaning? According to him, Makuyeika can mean either: “wayfarer,” someone who walks through many lands, or more brassily “a mule without a harness.”

Both names, I must confess, were fitting at the time; I had returned like a foreigner to my birthland on a yearlong expedition across hundreds of indigenous communities in México, a project undertaken as an inaugural recipient of the Julie Taymor World Theatre Fellowship. I was searching for some wondrous source of inspiration, some ancestral art form or story. There was no plan, only a sense of search… And, indeed, I’d traveled cross-country—passed through stunning landscapes, witnessed unearthly rituals, and listened to breathtaking myths and stories. And yet, astonishing as they were, I found myself most drawn by not the ancient and the fantastical, but rather, the beautiful and harsh realities of a humbler present.

And so, urged by my instincts, I called out to the extraordinary young people I’d met along the way to join me to live, work, share, and create as a group. Out of our electrifying encounter, Andares was born. Today, we get to share with you just a glimpse of five journeys: my own and four remarkable humans who embody and breathe soul into not only their own stories but those of a land as diverse and profound as the millions of people who have called it home. Andares, most closely translated as “pathways,” remains an ongoing development of the sense of search that led me back to México.

At Makuyeika Colectivo Teatral, we are in a constant search to find that “something” which connects us—let’s call it origin. For us in México, much of that origin has long been obscured throughout our painful history, made invisible by either forceful erasure or through colorful fictions that have distorted our understanding of “folklore” and “ancestral” to some wishy-washy understanding… But we’ve found that there is much more behind all of this. How can I explain it? When the actors say they listen to the wind or that they talk to the land, it is neither an ordinary nor a mystical act. To them, it simply is... so we should listen (to them), openly and in recognition of both the humble and extraordinary nature of the world. We can’t help but recognize ourselves in each other’s paths—be it in a small Maya village or halfway across the world.

Many of us are torn by the many paths presented to us. Where to go, where to be? For me, in dealing with both the darkness and beauty of those questions, I can’t help but feel connected. To explain, it is impossible. Just know that I’ve never done anything as distant and yet as close to me as this search has been, that I see myself in them. And I hope you may see them in you as well.

–Héctor Flores Komatsu

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