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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

Creativity and Politics at Teatro Trono

I can safely say Bolivia has welcomed us with open arms. Since arriving here I have felt a deep connection to my own thoughts and feelings, having had alone time in my homestay in El Alto for what feels like the first time since arriving at the Miami Airport. I also have had the time and space to start back up a (hopefully) daily yoga practice that I have been neglecting. Yoga is my favorite way to get out of my head and into my body, which is exactly what Ivan, the director of the incredibly unique El Alto based theater company, Teatro Trono, wanted us to feel through his many fun and silly activities. These activities aim to decolonize the body, a new take on the term that many of us associate with the systematic repression and eradication of native cultures. In this case, decolonization of the body meant taking back what is rightfully ours, the power and capability we all naturally posses. For an hour, we were able to forget about the internalized social norms which tells us how to feel about and use our bodies.

Ivan started Teatro Trono as a means of contributing to social and political movements nonviolently, inspired by his father who died fighting in the guerilla movement. Ivan saw theater as a tool to not only envoke social and political change, but to get homeless youth off the street and into an activity that would give them a creative outlet for their fear, anger and distain for those who had forsaken them. He also used the theater to create space for these youth to critisize themselves and their government, and for them to contribute to their community as well as to their own personal growth. It has now been a great many years since that first group came through the doors of Teatro Trono, but Ivan is still pouring his energy into creating politically rooted plays with the collective ideas and passions of a group of actors ranging from preteens to adults.