Synopsis: Revolución diamantina
About this Piece
Ballet in six acts for symphony orchestra and eight amplified voices.
Dramaturgy: Cristina Rivera Garza
Music: Gabriela Ortiz
ACT 1: The sounds cats make
An urban landscape, muffled sounds of cars, and the reflection of distant traffic lights. A narrow sidewalk.
Scene 1: A girl
A girl inadvertently enters the public sphere, trying to fetch a large red ball. Holding it in her hands, she explores her surroundings, ambling cautiously on narrow sidewalks. She is curious and exhilarated at first, walking faster, and then, pausing abruptly, just to take the city in.
Breathing in; breathing out.
Scene 2: Slowly, cat sounds surround her
Slowly, cat sounds surround her: meowing and purring at first, which soon gives way to hissing, spitting, howling, and eventually growling. Cat calling and wolf whistling take over. The shadows of mashers wrap around her, turning the street into an ominous jail-like constriction. A list of catcalls or piropos resounds in the space, limiting the girl’s mobility.
Scene 3: Red stones
Eventually, red stones emerge under her feet, halting her escape. Cornered, besieged by hissing and shrieking sounds, the girl shrinks, becoming a small plastic doll.
Scene 4: The mashers go away one by one
Laughing, full of themselves, the mashers or piroperos go away one by one, while a young woman clad in jeans retrieves the doll, hiding it with great care in her back pocket.
ACT 2: We don’t love each other
Inside a small bedroom, preceded by an imposing window.
Scene 1: A young woman
The young woman sits on her bed, inside a fairly disorganized room. She takes the doll out of her back pocket, placing her carefully, almost lovingly, by her pillow. As she checks messages on her phone, a series of phrases resound in the space: Love overcomes all obstacles and must be maintained at all costs (even when you’re being abused). Love is about losing control, being swept off your feet, having no say in who you fall for (even if they are violent). Lovers protect each other, fight for each other to the end (even against the authorities who are trying to protect you).
Scene 2: He loves me, he loves me not.
Intrigued, the young woman opens the door and cautiously sets foot into the living room, where a much older woman tears petals off a daisy blossom while murmuring, “He loves me, he loves me not.”
Scene 3: She jumps through the window.
She pauses before the old phonograph, turns around, fetches the doll, and jumps through the window.
ACT 3: Borders and bodies
An open, luminous landscape, empty of people.
Scene 1: You are here
The young woman and the incredible shrinking doll inside her right hand land in a luminous landscape of sparse beauty. You are here, announce the signposts. Arrows featuring numbers indicate the kilometers that separate them from a range of world-crossing points: Tijuana/San Diego, Tapachula, Palestine, Beirut, the Mediterranean. They look right and left, trying to orient themselves. The terrain extends evenly under their feet, but every now and then they trip over ominous mounds of earth. Open holes, apparently empty, catch their attention. Where exactly are they?
Scene 2: Marcha ciega (Blind march)
Out of nowhere, before they even begin to address their own question, a regiment of women, wearing black pants and sweatshirts, march by, performing coordinated movements and singing a tune in unison. Eerily familiar, the girl and the doll observe the scene motionless, with their mouths open. Soon, the regiment vanishes into the horizon, leaving little trace.
Are we imagining things? The girl asks the doll, smirking, when the echo of their chants finally recedes.
ACT 4: Speaking the unspeakable
An empty stage.
Scene 1: Five women
Five women each take their position facing the audience, forming a line. Expressionless and quiet, keeping a steady and dignified position, they hold red balls in their hands. One by one, they enact/react to each distinctive stage of risk included in the Danger Assessment tool created by nurse Jacquelyn Campbell. While these actions involve partners in real life, the scenes are played by the women only, conveying that the violence they are subjected to is all-pervasive. Women’s bodies contort, fall down, brake, seemingly on their own, as intimate partner violence ominously escalates.
Scene 2: Domestic scene I
Slapping, pushing, no injuries or lasting pain.
Scene 3: Domestic scene II
Punching, kicking, bruises, cuts, and continuing pain.
Scene 4: Domestic scene III
Beating up, severe contusions, burns, broken bones.
Scene 5: Domestic scene IV
Threat to use a weapon, head injury, internal injury, choking, strangulation.
Scene 6: Domestic scene V
Use of weapon, wounds from weapon.
ACT 5: Pink glitter
Scene 1: The girl and the doll
The girl and the doll, covered in pink glitter, chase a large red ball. Catcalls and wolf whistles surround them, but the girl turns around and gives them the finger this time.
Scene 2: Running fast
Running fast and out of breath, the girl and the doll find themselves in the desert, where the light shines over the discarded parachute. There, the doll unfolds herself, recovering her human shape. Arrows all contain the word “here.” You are here.
Scene 3: The two human girls join a circle of women
The two human girls join a circle of women who, clad in black and sitting on rocks, chat and laugh periodically. The echo of the names returns, now with a vibrant ting, clearly enunciated. In the distance, the sounds of a protest march are slowly approaching.
Scene 4: Protest, slogans, and samba
Women, escaping from police repression, interrupt the idyllic moment, running in front of them and quickly disappearing. The scene is hopeful, but danger lurks.
Act 6: Todas (All)
Estamos todas y todos. Somos todos. Todas. Somos todas.