A group of five multidisciplinary artists undertake a journey to Tepito Te Henúa to contemplate, to have an encounter with the island as observers, as students in order to try to understand, from an invisible place, human nature. That is the great stake of La Huella Teatro, which on May 6 started a journey through Rapa Nui to give body to the project “Mana, distant possession”, National Fondart of Scenic Research 2018 of the Ministry of Cultures, the Arts and the Heritage.
Exploring the possible intersections between the Rapanui performative tradition and the language of physical theater is the compass that mobilizes them today, an idea that arises in the heart of La Huella Teatro, a company that was born in the Atacama Desert 14 years ago, and that since its beginnings, leads the way in the search for languages, placing a value on the performing arts with a territorial identity.
It is about a scenic-anthropological research that invites artistic disciplines to converge, bringing together renowned artists and cultists from Easter Island, Antofagasta, Valparaíso and Santiago, led by Alejandra Rojas, director of the company, -and which puts into dialogue in a same space- Elías Cohen, choreographer and researcher of Physical Theater; Fabiola Ruiz, playwright and in charge of transcribing the research; Sofía Abarca, museologist and Rapanui researcher; and Julio Hotus, cultural advisor to the island and constant collaborator of La Huella Teatro.
The team of “Mana, distant possession” began in March its first stage of meetings, developing a table of research and discussion of sources, to articulate fields of study for creation. And in May they began a trip to the island to give life to the first practical stage in the territory, with a view to preparing a Scenic Laboratory with the community and the subsequent systematization of research on the language of physical theater from the theatricality of the Rapa Nui tradition.
“The research started with a contemplative observation, from an invisible place, considering that there are a native people alive. It was a poetic encounter to understand a territory where the universe itself combines. Understand what Tepito – Te – Henúa is, that cord that joins life with the earth, with the mother. Listen to her breathing, know her gaze, and demostrate that she is as alive as her people, ”said Alejandra Rojas, about this first period of residence.
The review of the material, the field visits and interviews with the community set the tone for this exploratory visit, a trajectory that is being recorded audiovisually and that will constitute a reference material on national stage practice for new generations.
“Mana, distant possession”, through a theoretical-practical methodology, seeks to collect and incorporate the historical-social memory and the Rapa Nui cultural tradition as a platform for the development of stage language innovation, through the enhancement of the historical memory and cultural tradition of these people, as an expressive capital for the scene and valuable for the enrichment of contemporary national theatricality.
“Mana basically refers to that primordial energy, the vital energy that makes things live,” explains Elías Cohen, a member of the work team. “The Polynesian mana is the power of the ancestors, it is strength, it is ambition, it is the desire to achieve and to be powerful. This is very clear on the Island, in the desire of families. And also, it is visible when the mana is not very aligned in people and brings great disasters. ”
With this project, the group of artists involved aims to contribute to the strengthening of a scenic language developed over the years by the Huella Teatro, whose characteristic is the high symbolic content, which crosses anthropological-theatrical research, the scenic image and performance, through of a research process that is enriched through collaborative work.
“Mana, distant possession”, is also a challenge for the decentralization of scenic research projects in the country, regarding the exchange between the continental and insular territory