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Under the Radar 2020: Andares

Makuyeika Colectivo Teatral presents an intimate look at modern indigenous life in Mexico.

Josué Maychi, Lupe de la Cruz, and Domingo Mijangos star in Andares, conceived and directed by Héctor Flores Komatsu, for Makuyeika Colectivo Teatral at Under the Radar.
(© Raúl Kigra)

A strum of the jarana jarocha calls us to attention at the beginning of Andares, the enchanting synthesis of traditional myth and personal narrative from Mexico's Makuyeika Colectivo Teatral. Josué Maychi, Domingo Mijangos, and Lupe de la Cruz take the stage to tell a story of a time before ours, when a boy sacrificed his life to become the sun that rises over the land every day. While Andares is never quite as mythic as it is in these opening moments, the theme of sacrifice echoes throughout this dreamlike fugue of stories from Mexico's indigenous people.

Lovingly conceived and directed by Héctor Flores Komatsu, Andares was written collectively by the company, sharing what are ostensibly their own stories: Mijangos talks about life as a "muxe", a third gender person of the Zapotec culture who is simultaneously celebrated and targeted for abuse. De la Cruz underlines the machismo of his native Chiapas, bluntly asking men in the audience how many women they have slept with in the past year (wrong crowd, dear). Maychi conjures the memory of his father, a proud Mayan farmer, and the indignity of the day his land was stolen by rich men with connections to the Mexican government.

Even in its most exuberant moments, a simmering rage bubbles under Andares: rage about corrupt politicians, unrestrained violence, and thoughtless land development meant to enrich the few at the expense of the many. Mijangos emerges as the performer with the sharpest tongue, casting magnificent shade on male politicians whose only qualification is handsomeness — he specifically calls out Mexico's Ken doll of a former president, Enrique Peña Nieto, a scathing passage that would surely leave the incumbent, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, wondering, ¿Y yo qué?

Raymundo Pavón Lozano underscores the 75-minute piece with stirring and sentimental live son jarocho music, a style native to Veracruz. It helps to fill out Komatsu's spare and efficient staging, creating an entire world of sound around the three central players. As the Mexican government makes grand plans to move holidaymakers up and down the Yucatán with the "Mayan Train," Andares defiantly explores aspects of Mexican life not featured on the official tour.