Last updateFri, 16 Mar 2018 10am

First annual GDL Cabaret Festival makes heroes out of society’s outcasts

For those who saw the inaugural performance of Guadalajara’s new Festival de Cabaret last Friday, it was clear that this theatrical to-do’s calling isn’t just to provide the public with a good time full of delectable transgression and hilarity —

it’s also a call to arms, an impassioned rebuke to hatred, fear, ignorance, and to the violence and discrimination towards people of different persuasions bred by those three soul-rotting elements. In that sense, the festival as a whole serves cabaret’sprimary purpose, which is, at least in the opinion of the festival’s main star, to act as a kind of pitiless Greek Chorus, telling society the unvarnished truth about itself. 


At the tip of this anti-bigotry flying V is Cesar Enriquez, who opened the festival with his solo show, “Pritty Gouman,” a jaw-dropping exercise in sustained stage presence, wit, timing, memorization, dancing, singing, ruthless piss-taking, soul-bearing honesty and sheer physical endurance.  

Enriquez, a Mexico City born-and-bred veteran of theatrical performance, is involved in the festival not only in his capacity as an entertainer, but also as a teacher; a key centerpiece of the two-week-long affair is a five-day clinic led by him, held at the headquarters of the Teatro Experimental de Jalisco in Parque Agua Azul. 

“To be precise, cabaret is a theatrical genre that involves farce, an element of the didactic, humor, political dissidence, and satire,” Enriquez explained to me while the ten participating students — most of whom have a background in theater — filed past and out the door.  

“It also,” he added, “has to contain a certain posture, a position, towards one or more social problems.” 

The social critique aspect of cabaret performance was ably and discreetly woven into his  show, the central character of which is a transexual prostitute from Veracruz. Over the course of about two hours, several musical numbers (including Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman,” Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”) and numerous costume changes, Enriquez deftly inserted pointed jabs at what he considers Mexican society’s ill treatment of the LGBTQ community. 


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