Mario José Barrantes Espinoza
El cantar del playo or… a song is a rose is a thorn
21.01 – 22.01.2023
In El cantar del playo or... a song is a rose is a thorn, Mario Barrantes Espinoza draws on the musical genre of Plancha, as both a soundtrack and as a red thread to recount his experiences in the gay night scene in Costa Rica of the early 2010s.
Plancha revives the nostalgic music that mothers and grandmothers once listened to while doing housework (‘música de plancha’ literally translates into ‘music for ironing clothes’). The songs are full of theatricality, often celebrating the fantasy and suffering of romantic love, closely linked to telenovela culture and to the art of transformistas (drag queens). Fifty years later, plancha became an emotional oasis for the younger playo (gay/'faggot') communities, serving as the joyous soundtrack to a celebration of playo identities.
El cantar del playo or... a song is a rose is a thorn can be imagined as a songbook in which Mario Barrantes Espinoza weaves together poetry, dance and music to reveal a landscape of memories. A place where melodrama, songs and visual poems invoke his personal explorations of queer sexuality and identity, from the perspective of a Central American migrant in Europe.
• Mario José Barrantes Espinoza (1991) is a Costa Rican-Nicaraguan artist based in Brussels. After graduating from P.A.R.T.S, he went on to collaborate with François Chaignaud, The Subs, Michiel Vandevelde and Eszter Salamon. His practice focuses on the articulation of dance, text and voice through the re-appropriation of audiovisual materials found in pop culture and mainstream media. El cantar del playo or…. a song is a rose is a thorn was awarded the Roel Verniers Prize at Het TheaterFestival 2020.
"A performance that stings like a thorn through the heart." – Etcetera
concept and performance Mario Barrantes Espinoza | artistic assistance Theo Livesey | text Theo Livesey, Martín Zícari, Mario Barrantes Espinoza | music arrangement and sound design Pablo Lilienfeld | music direction and voice coaching Ignacio Jarquín | light design Ryoya Fudetani | costume design Flávio Juán Núñez | video projections Federico Vladimir Strate Pezdirc | artistic accompaniment Manu, Martín Zícari, Stefa Govaart | trailer titles Joris Kritis | production Hiros | co-production Het TheaterFestival, VIERNULVIER, C-takt, KAAP | in collaboration with Kunstencentrum Buda (Kortrijk), workspacebrussels, DE SINGEL, KVS, Kunstenwerkplaats, wpZimmer, PARTS, Decoratelier | with the support of de Vlaamse Overheid