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El Güegüense

El Güegüense

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El Güegüense is a satirical drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

 and was the first literary work of post-Columbian Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

. It is regarded as one of Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

's most distinctive colonial-era expressions and as Nicaragua's signature folkloric masterpiece combining music, dance and theater. There was also a monument built in the center of a rotonda (roundabout
Roundabout
A roundabout is the name for a road junction in which traffic moves in one direction around a central island. The word dates from the early 20th century. Roundabouts are common in many countries around the world...

)
in Managua
Managua
Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua as well as the department and municipality by the same name. It is the largest city in Nicaragua in terms of population and geographic size. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Xolotlán or Lake Managua, the city was declared the national capital in...

, in its honor. El Güegüense is performed during the feast of San Sebastián in Diriamba
Diriamba
Diriamba is a municipality in the Carazo department of Nicaragua, with a population of 31,200 . It is located to the west of Jinotepe.The city is well known in the country by a number of idiosyncratic events and landmarks, as well as its mild weather, rich agricultural lands and jovial people.The...

 (Carazo
Carazo (department)
Carazo is a department in Nicaragua. It covers an area of 1,081.40 km² and has a population of 177,100 . The capital is Jinotepe.- Municipalities :# Diriamba# Dolores# El Rosario# Jinotepe# La Conquista# La Paz de Carazo# San Marcos...

 department) from January 17 to the 27th.

Origin


The theatrical play was written by an anonymous author in the 16th century, making it one of the oldest indigenous theatrical/dance works of the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

. It was passed down orally for many centuries until it was finally written down and published into a book in 1942. According to the first written version the plot has 314 lines and was originally written in both Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 and Spanish

Etymology


The name of the play comes from its main character, El Güegüense, which is derived from the Nahuatl word "huehue", meaning "old man" or "wise man".

History


"El Güegüense" represents folklore of Nicaragua, therefore, UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 proclaimed it a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" in 2005 making Nicaragua the only country in Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

 and one of six in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

 to have 2 proclaimed masterpieces by UNESCO.

Characters


The play includes 14 characters, the three mestizos:
  • Güegüense (and his sons)
    • Don Forcico
    • Don Ambrosio

The Spanish authorities:
  • Governor Tastuanes
  • Captain Alguacil Mayor
  • the Royal Clerk
  • the Royal Assistant;

The women:
  • Doña Suche Malinche - (along with two ladies that accompany her)
  • Macho-moto, Macho-viejo, Macho-mohino, and Macho-guajaqueño (the four beasts of burden; referred to as ‘machos’)

Social controversy


Because deception for monetary gain is central to the plot of "El Güegüense", the play frequently is cited by newspaper editorials as a kind of symbolic archetype for perceived corrupt politicians or unaccountable public institutions. Unpredictable election returns also have been attributed to the heritage of the masked "El Güegüense" figure reflected in an electorate skilled at masking their true voting intent, notably so with the FSLN party's crushing, unanticipated defeat at the polls in 1990. While the role of "El Güegüense" as the highest expression of Nicaraguan folkloric art is secure, the overt theme of the play -entry into the aristocratic lifestyle through deceptive means- is frequently held at arm's length in political speeches as contrary to the current vision of national growth occurring through hard work, economic diversification, and manufacturing exports
Free port
A free port or free zone , sometimes also called a bonded area is a port, port area or other area with relaxed jurisdiction with respect to the country of location...

.

See also


External links