Reading 2- A’ness, F.(2004) “Resisting Amnesia: Yuyachani, Performance, and the post-war Reconstruction of Peru”, Theatre journal, 56, pp. 395-414

For this reading A’ness talks us though the Peru internal war spanning from 1980-2000, in its time 30,000 people were killed, 80,000 displaced and 6,000 missing. The war was started in two small towns called Husmanga and Huanta by a government based group called Shining Path. The group ripped though the towns murdering and removing citizens that did not follow their regime. Many years on with a new government in Peru a call has been made to revisit the war and trials to be held where testimonies from those involved formulate the body of the argument. After reviewing the situation and other countries who have also addressed traumatic events the country decided to use theatre as a medium for expression in particular the True and Recollection Commission (TRC).

The TRC works towards exposing the true stories hidden within the country and the traumatic truth so that the country can move on and start to rebuild itself, however in this case the government played a strong part in the destruction of many lives and therefore trust in the TRC is minimal. To make this project work the TRC needs to make the citizens feel safe with the environment where they will share their stories, also they must feel as though they can trust the TRC and most importantly they must feel their story is important. To make these links the TRC called in a company called Yuyachkani, a veteran theatre company who has been working within Peru for many years before this war and during it. The company has self taught to speak the native language and aims to work towards performing Peru in all its complexities. This company’s job was to tour around the surrounding areas performing works that explain who the TRC are and why they are here and encourage people to come forward and reveal their story. This was carried out eight months before the trials and then during the trails the company was present again showing the same works to provide the safe and trusting environment needed.

Yuyachkani produced a range of works that addressed murder, loss, missing people and the need to answer the question of why it happened. After the trails had taken place the company compiled all their work together and a few new pieces to create a festival “never again” that raised awareness of the horrors that faced Peru in the hope that there is never to be a repeat. Some of the work included a story of a mother whose son went missing and she searched for him every day even when she finally died she still searched in death. Another looked at a man who was abducted and murdered and his body pulled apart and in his death he wished to search for those who performed this injustice while his family performed a proper burial. Whilst many of the works are performed from the voice of those passed the stories where gathered from those alive. Although we can not achieve world peace at the moment, Peru has found its peace and sticks to the two simple words “Never Again”.

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