El Gallo May 13, 2011

by Tania Kupczak

I once had a dream in which I went to audition to be in a famous composer's new opera. Upon arriving, I quickly learned that it was in fact not an audition but opening night. The performance had already begun, and I stood in the wings with the composer, who was encouraging me to go out on stage. I was petrified, having no idea what the opera was about or what I should do. He said, "Just go out and do whatever you want, I'm sure it will be fine." So I crawled out and writhed around on the floor in agony for what seemed like a very long time. It was definitely not fine. I occasionally dream variations on this theme, and I always wake up traumatized and anxious.

For me, watching El Gallo was like watching one of those dreams. The audience laughed, but I mostly cringed. I know that process and those stereotypes so well: the sadistic artiste, the fragile egos cloaked in narcissistic bluster, the tragic fuck-up, the passive/aggressive emotional battles that go into the creation of any collaborative work involving the clash of multiple personalities - ¡Lucha Libre!, indeed. I was so happy and relieved to not be one of those people on the stage, and I just wanted it to be over.

- Steve