Alice down the rabbit hole — Guna style!
Written by Monique Mojica
Directed by José Á. Colman
Performed by Monique Mojica and Gloria Miguel
Original Score by Marden Paniza
I live with a clear awareness of the rupture that exists between Indigenous knowledges and myself, however, much remains intact. By connecting to that intact knowledge, missing fragments of the self can be recovered to create a conscious wholeness of being Dule (Indigenous): an integration that propels the art of Indigenous theatre beyond the victim story.
Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way tells a story of reclamation and transformation. It is the story of a Guna woman who begins the play lost, falling with Sky Woman to Turtle’s back in the Haudenosaunee/Algonquin creation stories and with Alice down the rabbit hole. On this journey through parallel stories from her own life, retellings of cultural stories and encounters with powerful female beings from Guna cosmology, she finds her way home — to the land of her ancestors, to the Milky Way — Negaduu.
Molas are the layered, embroidered, appliquéd, and reverse-appliquéd blouses that are worn by Guna women. I’ve never sewn a mola, but I grew up living with them, touching them, tracing their texture and designs, smelling them, sleeping on them and wearing them. It is this thickness, this multi-dimensional knowing applied from the principles of Guna women’s art that I believe is the centre pole
of my dramatic writing and the heart of my theatrical form. The theatre I create from them is my offering, my prayer, my healing chant, my history, my identity— my mola.
Intuitively, unconsciously, I have made molas out of theatre. I have spent years building on this intuitive process. Now, I conceive my artistic practice as a conscious dislodging of colonialism from the body through performance as intervention that gives agency to our identities through artistic practices. The collaborators of Chocolate Woman Collective are deconstructing the “house of colonization,” the House of Balu Wala through practice-based research that deliberately privileges Indigenous aesthetic and performance principles, creating art that returns to the site of cultural origin much as our healers deconstruct illness through ceremony.
Dedicated to Antonio Miguel Mojica and all the other Dules who never made it home.