Maria Fernanda Hubeaut's performance piece, "The Celebration", is both conceptually and emotionally compelling. In her opening scene, Maria Fernanda creates a festive, interactive environment for the audience, chatting with them and jovially giving out cigarettes inscribed with subliminal messages. The mood then suddenly shifts and Maria goes on to draw the crowd into an intimate, quiet corner where she can lay herself bare and display trauma and suffering as it is always both personal and political. Maria Fernanda aims squarely at the American dream, succinctly symbolized by a piñata made of trashbags. As an immigrant from Argentina, now a naturalized citizen of the U.S., Maria Fernanda stabs violently at the piñata as the immigrant and even the American citizen must do in order to reap any of the promised gold. Rather than prizes, Maria only finds in her piñata relics of painful memories. All the while Maria emotes with a visceral, authentic intensity, leaving the viewer with the impression that what she has shared is rooted in real pain. This pain is at once specific to her political identity and personal history, and common to all Americans. Maria's title, "The Celebration," suggests a new perspective on the word. We can only "celebrate" our unlimited possibilities once we courageously recognize that which even increased material opportunity cannot cancel out: our existence as insecure, damaged, and vulnerable beings.
Samantha L. Wischnia. Writer.