Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Re-enacting the nation : Unsettling Narratives in the "El Güegüense" Theatre of Nicaragua

Alberto Guevara


Nicaragua’s oldest known theatre play, El Güegüense, is one of the most recognizable and symbolic cultural references in this country. Through its social and cultural narratives, located inside and outside the theatre/drama, the play has become an important site for Nicaraguan identity negotiations. Some Nicaraguans take the play’s performance as the means for evoking and communicating memories, knowledge, personhood, and religiosity through embodied performed public acts. This article traces local contemporary practices of the play, in the form of its annual performance in the town of Diriamba, and compares these with elite Nicaraguan literary and intellectual understandings of the El Güegüense script. It is argued that the embodied experiences of the play’s performers disrupt the homogenized, nationalist narrative of a Nicaraguan “Mestizo” identity.

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