Sensuality and blindness, on stage

MEXICO CITY. Can a person with a disability also be considered sexy or beautiful? What does it mean to be a man or a woman when a person lacks sight? How have the canons of the hegemonic beautyto? Based on these three questions, the American director Stephanie Sherman created the play Building Meat, with the assistance of Atanasio Cadena and Juan Carlos Saavedra, who directs the company. Blind Theater.

The piece, which will be presented from July 1 to 29 in hybrid mode, will have face-to-face functions in the black box of the El Hormiguero Cultural Center and in virtual mode through her YouTube channel, to address how the normative behaviors of femininity and masculinity become surreal and macabre, while the actors inhabit unexpected identities that question gender.

In the montage, four animal-like characters appear (a doctor, a nurse, a father and a mother), who discover, name and manipulate two “pieces of meat” (previously genderless babies), as if they were puppets.

The animals instruct the two babies to move as “girl” and “boy” with violent touches and words, in a process where masculinity and femininity become painful and unnatural, which questions non-binary gender.

Constructing the Flesh is a theater-dance or mixed-ability staging, directed by Stephanie Sherman, an American choreographer who contacted us three years ago because she had found out that there was a company with blind actors and wanted to explore and investigate a deconstruction of gender, especially with disabilities, ”said Saavedra.

At that time, she had a Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship and came to work with us for about seven months, in collaboration with the Centro Universitario de Teatro (CUT) of the UNAM, where the montage became a collaboration between Sherman, Teatro Ciego and el CUT, to achieve a comical, dark and moving theater-dance piece, which attacks the cultural roots of gender violence ”, he added.

How difficult was it to adapt the stage work to blind and normal-visual actors? “We had to adapt from the concepts. Also, Stephanie Sherman had never worked with blind actors or people with a disability. She brought a super prepared and designed work plan, but since the choreography has to do with the body, one of the premises of acting and dancing is eye contact.

However, with blind actors everything is different and you have to use tact. So the things that a normal visual can learn in three minutes, with blind actors you have to spend three hours so that they can adapt the movement.

For Saavedra, blindness is not only about not seeing, “because there are also people with low vision or with acquired blindness, that is, they saw a little, so it is also interesting how gender is being built and how they understand the masculine and the feminine ”, he assured.

To achieve this job, the actors had to carve the piece for about three months. “He had to adapt to the teaching question and pass information to execute the same instructions.

That has always been a question in the blind theater, how they receive the information and then execute it ”.

This piece wants to break the taboo that blind people they don’t know what it means, “From their reflections or their perception of the world, femininity or masculinity, which are sexually active, although there are people with disabilities who need support to have an active sexual life”.

In addition, “we want to show that gender not only revolves around pink and blue, but that we arrived at this binary question to leave a great reflection, and to know that now we must have much more openness to explore our own body and our own sexuality It is a bit of questioning the limits of the construction of gender, especially in Mexican society ”, he concluded.

Both face-to-face functions as virtual they have a cost and their tickets can be purchased in Boletópolis.

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