(GUATEMALA, FIFTEENTH CENTURY/1855)
TRANSLATED BY RICHARD E. LEINAWEAVER
This Mayan dance-drama provides an invaluable glimpse at the highly ritualized nature of Amerindian performance. Two opponents, the Man of Rabinal and the Queché Warrior, are locked in a stylized battle; it is clear to all from the outset that the Queché captive must die on the sacrificial stone, yet he is shown every honor until the final moment. Although the first transcription of the dialogue dates from 1855, Rabinal Achí recalls pre-Conquest struggles among neighboring dynasties and is still performed today during the fiestas patronales (patron saint’s day festivals) in the town of Rabinal, Guatemala.
Performance & Conquest (NYU/CITRU/UNIRIO, Summer 2004)
Rabinal Achí - El espíritu vivo del Guerrero Maya, a documentary by Luis Bruzón