On the Path of No-Character: Zeami’s Traces Walked Back and Forward


  • Álvaro Iván Hernández Rodríguez Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas


This essay thinks through the journey of being and becoming a character, as it is repeated over decades, focusing on the experience of the author performing his monologue Los Nueve Monstruos (itself based on a poem by Cesar Vallejo). The repeated performance of this monologue over three decades becomes a way of feeling and registering the change of the body and self through the iterative taking-form of a character. The essay reflects upon the changes produced in both the character and the performer during those many encounters over the years, first in Putumayo with the Kamentsa Indigenous peoples, then over the Andes to Colombia’s capital city of Bogotá, and across both the Atlantic and Pacific to Europe and Asia. Embodied encounters of the performer/author with the Noh tradition of Japan and Zeami’s philosophical approach to performance transforms Los Nueve Monstruos—moving from the approximation of the idea of a character to the notion of no-character, a concept of transition that focuses on the vibratory quality and sounding experience of “in-provisation.”

Author Biography

Álvaro Iván Hernández Rodríguez, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas

Álvaro Iván Hernández Rodríguez is a professor in the Faculty of Arts, ASAB Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas in performing arts and the master’s and doctoral programs in artistic studies. Hernández is a transdisciplinary art maker who has worked uninterruptedly for more than two decades as an actor, performer, director, playwright, dramaturge, artivist, trainer, researcher, and academic. His artistic practices are rooted in intercultural collaborations with performance traditions and performers of several parts of the world, from Amazonia and Putumayo, through the Andes, to places in European countries, the United States, Taiwan, Japan, and back. Hernández is a member of Intercultural Roots: Arts for Health and Social Change, based in England. He is a principal researcher of the European RISE project TransMigrArts: Transforming Migration by the Arts. He is currently director of the research-creation project Artistic Practices Towards a More than Human Colombia: From Plantation Worlds to Worlds of Entanglements, which is investigating ways of making-thinking with other-than-human sensoriums and attempting to map relational territories that go beyond the nature-culture bifurcation. His interest is the activation of descoloníal ecological ways of doing in the world that contribute to generating actions of change in relation to the socio-environmental crisis and the development of practices and ideas around the multiple relationships between performance, environment, and ecology. Hernández has a doctorate in performance studies from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s in creative writing from the National University of Colombia.