THE BIRTH OF PALENQUE ROJO

 

Palenque Rojo was born out of the concern for how little knowledge we have of the great Mayan culture, a culture with such a wealth of knowledge about the earth and the cosmos. This is how the project to create a cultural show which would narrate a passage in our prehispanic history arose. The show would be accessible, entertaining and would successfully transport the spectator back to the times of the greatest Mayan splendor.


It was in the Regional Museum of Chiapas, located in Tuxtla Gutierrez where I found the perfect story: “Monument 122 of Tonina” which shows the ruler “Kan Joy Chitam” of Palenque captured by Tonina in the year 711 A.D.

And so the adventure began. To start, I invited Hernan Galindo to direct my play. Native of Monterrey, N.L. and a man whom I consider to be one of the best theatre directors in Mexico, Mr. Galindo accepted the challenge of creating a set inspired by the history of the Maya with pleasure. It was as such that we undertook a journey which would take us to Tonina and to Palenque in search of further historical clues for our story.

After spending several days with brilliant archeologists and exploring the sites of Palenque and Tonina over and over again, we had all of the necessary information in our hands. Hernan Galindo then created the script for the play that would later take on the name Palenque Rojo. (The color red is a symbol of immortality for the Maya).

The second step was the casting which proved to be the most difficult challenge for the Director because I had requested that the performers for the most part be Indigenous from Chiapas even if they were not trained actors. This is where Mr. Galindo would put to use the support of dance and movement Instructors, Ricardo Franco and Fernanda del Monte to prepare the actors.

The actors underwent training for approximately 6 months before the staging of the play began.

The costumes were inspired by images found on stelas, lintels and tablets from Palenque and Tonina so that the spectator could feel how these stone images take on life and color in our show.

After a year of research, production and training for the actors the day of our premiere had finally arrived; on December 13th of 2007 Palenque Rojo was opened.  Today we have completed over 500 performances in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas as well as having completed many performances in other important Mexican cities such as Mexico City, Monterrey, Acapulco, Monclova, Xalapa, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Tapachula and in the neighboring country of Guatemala. Today the company is ready to conquer other theatres around the world.

The members of our cast and crew take joy each night in traveling back in time to proudly recover our prehispanic history by transforming ourselves into rulers, warriors, priests and mayan maidens.  We continue to enjoy performing our Palenque Rojo which we love so dearly and which we hope will become as immortal as the color red was for the Maya.

HIRAM  MARINA GARCIA
PRODUCER