Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol theatre collective's "Tijuana" performance is the staged result of a real anthropological theater experiment undertaken by Lagartijas ensemble member Gabino Rodríguez.
Rodriguez abandoned his life in Mexico City to work on an assembly line in a Tijuana factory on the U.S. border. He passed under the false identity of Santiago Ramírez, wore a fake moustache, had no contact with friends, family or colleagues and earned the legal minimum wage, which, according to the Mexican Constitution, “should cover the normal material, cultural and social needs of the head of a family and facilitate the compulsory education of his children.” His wage amounted to less than $5 per day.
Rodríguez initially slips into his covert role without raising any suspicions and for which, like several million Maquiladora workers, the merciless exploitation of his physical strength and vitality is the price exacted free trade and company profits in the Mexican border region.
Soon he becomes plagued by ethical considerations for his co-workers and the family of his landlord, all of whom trust the worker, Santiago Ramírez, although they are actually being used by a middle-class artist as research subjects for his theatre play.
"Tijuana" is the prelude to a large-scale political and social panorama entitled "Democracy in Mexico (1965–2015)," which is designed to be told in 32 parts — one for every Mexican state. It is the latest project of the Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol collective, which, since being founded in 2003, has explored the borders between documentary and fiction in various theatrical forms to reveal the contradictions in Mexico, thus aiming to use the theatre as a means of political mobilization. To date, six parts of this project have been realized.
Please note: Tijuana is performed in Spanish with English supertitles.