In their performance, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Sifuentes often speak Spanish even though they understand that the audience mostly includes people who may not understand this language. It is possible to argue that such use of the Spanish language is supposed to serve some political purposes. In particular, in such a way, the artists attempted to emphasize the idea that a person has a right to speak one’s own language even if it is not spoken by the majority of the population. Moreover, they tried to demonstrate that multilingualism should be recognized both official and unofficially, and that people should not be afraid of it.
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First, it should be noted that Gómez-Peña is a bilingual person who can communicate in English and Spanish. He lives in a society in which these languages co-exist; however one of them has less official and cultural power. Furthermore, there are many people who believe that the society should be monolingual. Gómez-Peña is willing to counter this belief. He addresses the audience in Spanish language in order to emphasize the idea that American people live in a very diverse society in which people may speak not only English, but other languages as well.
During this performance, the artist attempts to show that Mexican people have their own cultural and linguistic heritage. One can see in the clothes that he wears and the ceremonies he conducts. This idea of diversity is mostly illustrated by speaking Spanish. The purpose of this performance was to show that linguistic and cultural heritage of people should be recognized and accepted by the majority.
Secondly, in such a way, Gómez-Peña helps the audience understand that people become prejudiced or even hostile to other languages, especially when they cannot speak them. This performance prompts the audience to experience the moments of cross-cultural and cross-linguistic communication. By switching to the Spanish language, the artist shows that unfavorable attitude toward other languages is something that people should avoid, because they live in a multilingual society.
I became slightly confused when Gómez-Peña began to speak Spanish. I felt as though there was some kind of barrier between me and the artist. However, at the same time, I understood that this barrier does not make us too different. This was my response to the situation. Yet, the thing is that I knew that he would act in such a way. My reaction might have been different if I had not known that Gómez-Peña frequently uses Spanish during his performances. When encountering such situations, people often tend very cautious or even hostile to one another. So, Gómez-Peña urges to the spectators reject such fear and hostility.
Thus, it is possible to say that the use of the Spanish language plays an important part in the performance of Gómez-Peña. On the one hand, it sets stress on the idea that linguistic heritage of a person should be recognized and respected. People cannot suppress or reject it. Secondly, he makes people more aware of the fact that they live in a multilingual community and they should not be hostile to one another simply because they may speak different languages. These are the main ideas that he tried to convey. This performance calls for official recognition of other languages and unofficial acceptance of multilingualism by people.