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Humor, an excuse to talk about the domestic role of men in the pandemic

Quito, Jun 11 (.) .- Humor, that escape valve that lightens even the most dense situations, is the transversal axis of the Ecuadorian work “Las Marujas, entre taitas, mamas y tereques”, which between laughter and laughter raises reflections on this new domestic role in which man and woman share responsibilities. And it is that the pandemic forced a confinement that revealed with greater force the inequalities in the home, with greater weight on female shoulders and, in some cases, forced a redistribution of tasks in a society that cannot shake off machismo. “In these new times it is also up to the taita (father, in Quichua) to support in the entire parenting part from early childhood,” as well as in housework, Juana Guarderas, the actress who plays Abrilia, told . one of the Marujas (elderly women) protagonists of the work. A reality that he lived in his own flesh because, in the middle of the pandemic, his family was also forced to redistribute tasks and in the coming and going, his son not only learned to cook but is now in charge of the laundry. Interwoven through everyday life and humor, reflections on machismo cross the work, which also hovers over the need to stop sexist violence at home and disrupts the idealization of motherhood. “Mothers are goddesses with holy diadems,” Guarderas sings in one of the scenes before being interrupted by Maruja Cleta -interpreted by Elena Torres- who believes that raising females to those heights causes “exhaustion” and “extra work” for them. Playful and informal show with several classic scenes of the comic cabaret genre, the play begins when Cleta and Abrilia are invited to attend a party to celebrate mothers and fathers on their day, a pretext to talk about roles and inequalities. HUMOR, AN ESCAPE VALVE A wooden bench, a screen, a small stool and a mannequin are some of the elements that make up the simple stage from which Guarderas and Torres emit the signal, which will reach the public on Sunday through the internet , as they keep the virtual presentations live due to the covid-19. For Guarderas, the pandemic demonstrated that mental health required art, that people “be accompanied by a good book, a good piece of music, a theater” to sustain emotions. “Humor is an escape valve,” he assured ., noting that it allows us to humanize citizens, “putting them face to face with each other” because “it breaks hierarchical exercises in which there are classisms, divisions.” For this reason, he argues that “humor equalizes” in an “important exercise of intelligence of who emits and who receives”. And also from the humor they criticize the prejudices in societies that still see homosexuality out of the corner of their eye, that accept sexist violence as normal or that repeat stereotypes. “Do you know what my niece is going to give her husband for Father’s Day? … a cleaning set, so that he can clean the oven that he gave her for Mother’s Day,” Abrilia tells Cleta in a critical dialogue about stereotypes and the business around celebrations of fathers and mothers. NEW LOOKS Like the stage, the Marujas’ clothing is simple: coats, pajamas, ties and hats are enough for an hour to combine scenes, introduce dialogues and bring to the tables the contrast between the fatigue that many mothers find it supposes the raising of the children, against the nostalgia of those who have not had children. Poems, songs, laughter, criticism and improvisation characterize the work that was born in the Patio de Comedias, in Quito, and that returns to take the stage to the “Marujas”, characters who were born in 1990, and who have participated in different works , wrapped in humor. Neither drama, nor psychodrama nor sociodrama, “Las Marujas entre taitas, mamas y tereques” is a work of black and critical humor that has taken as a pretext the confinement by the covid to invite to see the male and female roles in a different way and from other looks. “For the boys it must have been, surely a surprise, to know that the father can and should also play other roles,” Guarderas said, hoping that the current situation will help men to build their new masculinities and women, namely that tasks must be shared. Susana Madera (c) . Agency

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