Stefa Govaart

El cantar del playo or… a song is a rose is a thorn

_El cantar del playo… a song is a rose is a thorn is a performance work for the theater by Mario Barrantes Espinoza_


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With his debut project El cantar del playo… (‘the singing of the faggot’), Mario Barrantes Espinoza transforms the stage into 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.

The romantic music of various Spanish-speaking artists as far back as the 1960s is popular again… now these songs fuel the nightlife of Costa Rica in the early 2010’s. Plancha, as the genre was later called, revived the nostalgic music that our mothers and grandmothers 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 community of the capital, serving as the joyous soundtrack to a celebration of playo identities. 

You appeared in my mind on the dance floor last night. You were smiling back at me. Mom sings in the living room. The radio is on. “How can I not admire you… if all the time I carry you in my mind, in my dreams and in my heart”. Love, my head is spinning.