The performance of memory in Rapanui theatre
This article discusses how memory has been crucial in the production of theatre in Rapa Nui. Histories of colonial powers in Rapanui have foster the use of memory as a real source of information, not only to gather information about a specific oral narrative, but also about costumes and old customs that otherwise may have been lost from the Rapa Nui culture. The Peruvian slave raids that decimated the indigenous population, the establishment of the Williamson Balfour Company and the implementation of the Chilean education system prohibiting the use of the indigenous language, greatly affected the creation and production of Rapanui performing arts and theatre. This is exemplified by the work of the first Rapanui theater troupe Mata Tu'u Hotu Iti, established in the 1970s. Although the word theatre does not exist in the Rapanui language, this group used the concept of representation to revitalize the language, and re-value past practices and customs of its culture. Through its educational approach and targeting the local audience, Mata Tu'u Hotu Iti laid the foundations for the production of theatre in Rapanui. His influence is such that it continues to inspire the creation and production of theater within the school system and during the local cultural festival Tapati Rapanui.
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