Between celebration and violence in Colombian ethnofiction

Los Incontados:
un tríptico

Mapa Teatro

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Guerrilla groups, paramilitary groups and drug cartels - the conflict between these groups has disrupted daily life of Colombian citizens since 1964. In Los Incontados: un tríptico (a condensed version of the Anatomía de la violencia trilogy) the Colombian theatre company Mapa Teatro explores the fragile boundary between celebrations and violence. In three parts, including an old Afro-Colombian ritual and a farewell to the longest-lasting revolutionary dream of Latin America, the civil war is viewed from different sides. For the past thirty years Mapa Teatro has created a unique universe in which it has reinvented genres and art forms, and in which myths and history, opera, theatre, cabaret, radio and video have been merged. Los Incontados presents one of South America's most renowned theatre companies at its best.

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background information

A colourful and sometimes exuberant group of people throngs the stage in Los Incontados: un tríptico, a show full of masked partygoers, a magician, musicians and children. Even Pablo Escobar

makes an appearance. In this surreal triptych, the Colombian theatre company Mapa Teatro examines the link between celebration and violence, traits so inextricably bound to Colombian history and culture. Mapa Teatro, one of the most renowned theatre companies of Latin America, makes use of audio-visual archive materials, stories and documents to create a colourful, theatrical and freely-associative portrait of Colombia, which for more than fifty years was in the grip of an armed conflict between left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitary groups, the Colombian army and drug dealers.
The Unaccounted: a triptych is the condensed version of the trilogy Anatomy of violence in Colombia, which the company has been working on since 2010. In The Holy Innocents, the first section, the Los Santos Inocentes festival is central to the performance. This festival is celebrated each year on the 28th of December in Guapí, a small town on the Pacific coast of Colombia. Grotesquely masked men, wielding whips and dressed as women, go out into the streets to punish all those not dressed like them. It is a frenzied and violent festival, liable to give unwitting outsiders the impression that they have strayed into a nightmare.
On the 2nd of December 1993 the drugs baron Pablo Emilio Escobar was shot and killed by a Colombian police unit. A speech he had written for the day he hoped to be elected president of Columbia was supposedly found on his body. 18 years after his death the CIA has declassified this text, according to the second part of the trilogy, Discurso de un hombre decente (2012), which takes this document as its starting point. In Discourse of a decent man, the ghost of the notorious drug baron haunts the garden of a house in the middle of the jungle, listening to music by his favourite band. On stage the music is actually played by the man who once was the leader of one of Escobar’s favourite bands. He has not only accompanied ‘the boss’ during his weekly speeches in the working-class neighbourhoods of Medellín, but also played at Escobar’s private parties in the luxurious Hacienda Nápoles and was injured in a car bomb attack on the stadium where the band was about to perform. 
In the last piece, The Unaccounted (2014), a group of children has gathered round an old-fashioned radio. This is the image that opens the show: in the privacy of a sixty-year-old living room, decorated with balloons, children are waiting for a revolution to be announced, a party that will never happen. In Los Incontados: un tríptico, Mapa Teatro uses an almost cinematic montage technique, while the set design places the different worlds one behind the other, floating between fantasy and reality. The images, increasingly cascading through each other, summon up the history of a country where the finest of lines separates a celebration from an outbreak of violence, and where there is hardly any difference on the stage between the sounds of party poppers and machine guns.



Mapa Teatro was founded in Paris in 1984 by the Abderhalden siblings. Heidi Abderhalden studied theatre arts in Colombia and continued her theatrical training at the Théâtre du Vide-Poche in

Lausanne and the École Philippe Gaulier in Paris. She also studied with the renowned theatre teacher, Monika Pagneux, who led movement work in Peter Brook’s International Centre for Theatre Research. Rolf Abderhalden was trained in various art forms. In Paris he studied theatre at the Jacques Lecoq International School of Theatre and set design at the L.E.M. (Laboratory of Movement Study) and also completed a study in the visual arts at the National University of Colombia. While in Paris the Abderhaldens shared their passion for theatre and the visual arts with fellow students such as Simon McBurney and William Kentridge. 

The Abderhaldens returned to Colombia, their native land, in 1986. Since then Mapa Teatro has become a renowned experimental laboratory for all kinds of artists and art forms. In the 35 years of its existence it has created a highly individual universe in which myth and history, opera, theatre, cabaret, radio and video all flow into each other and where boundaries, whether of a geographic, linguistic or an artistic nature, do not exist. Theatre texts by writers such as Beckett or Sarah Kane have often formed the starting point for their shows, but in recent years Mapa Teatro has increasingly zoomed in on the absurd reality of everyday life in Colombia, basing its work on an item of news or a myth from the recent history of their country. Their outspoken and distinctive work in this field recently gained the Abderhaldens the award of a Goethe Medal (2018). Los Incontados: un tríptico is Mapa Teatro’s debut show in the Netherlands.



concept, dramaturgy and direction
Heidi Abderhalden en Rolf Abderhalden
dramaturgical advice
Antonio Orlando Rodriguez, Marta Ruiz, Dario Villamizar
assistent director
Santiago Sepúlveda
performed by
Heidi Abderhalden, Agnes Brekke, Andrés Castañeda, Julián Díaz, Jeihhco, Danilo Jiménez, Santiago Nemirowski, Santiago Sepúlveda y la voz de Nicolás Cancino
with the Carmenza de Sánchez Institute Martial Band as special guests
Felipe Castro, Orlando Duque, Kevin Hernández, Sebastián Méndez, Lesly Ramírez, Melanie Ramírez, Sofía Rodríguez, Mariana Saavedra, Darío Sinisterra, Sebastián Zúñiga
music and sound design
Juan Ernesto Díaz
live sound assistance
Alexander Rodríguez, Vladimir Sepúlveda, Juan Sebastián Guarín
visual design
Heidi Abderhalden en Rolf Abderhalden
Elizabeth Abderhalden
technical directors
Jean François Dubois, Jose Ignacio Rincón
technical assistance
Juan Sebastián Suárez, Natalia Duarte
assemblage assistance
Ancízar Aguirre, José Forero, Alirio García
set design
Pierre Henri Magnin
set making
Escuela Taller de Bogotá
lighting design
Jean François Dubois
video editing
Luis Antonio Delgado
live video
Ximena Vargas, Natalia Duarte
José Ignacio Rincón, Ximena Vargas
production assistance
Sandra Martinez
special thanks to
Consuelo Avella, Alejandro Valencia, Claudia Torres, Adriana Urrea, Juan Andrés Valderrama, Instituto Carmenza de Sánchez, Diego Briceño, Jaime Calle