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Mapuche night

by Marcelo Leonart

Translator: Cristóbal Pizarro Schkolnik

The following text is an excerpt from the play.

This play is fully protected under Chilean copyright laws.






Ayelén and Pedro Lautaro are on stage. 


AYELÉN: This is not a dream. It's true. 

On the night of January 3rd, 2008, a group of Mapuche community members invaded the limits of the Santa Margarita estate, property of a well-known farmer in the area, Jorge Luchsinger. Their intention was to have their demands listened. These included quite radical petitions, like total autonomy of the original territory of what is known as Wallmapu, or the hand over – from the Chilean state and the winkas or invaders - of the land usurped over a hundred and fifty years ago. 


PEDRO LAUTARO: This is not a dream. It really happened: 

According to the first accounts of what happened that night, the group of peñis arrived at the place around four in the morning to start their protest. The shouted and chanted, aiming to mark their presence and having the winka know that the sons of the Wallmapu would never leave him alone until their territory is totally restituted. To make their message crystal clear, they set a barn on fire. 


AYELÉN: Sources of this account indicate that only a few minutes later, coming from the south, an Operative Group of the Carabineros de Chile Special Forces truck showed up (GOPE). 


PEDRO LAUTARO: The community member peñis teased the Special Forces for a while. Shouting like in western movies. As if they were Apaches or Red Skins attacking the forces of the seventh cavalry. But as soon as they saw that the carabineros of the GOPE were preparing heavy weapons, the Mapuche community members –brave but not stupid- decided to escape in the middle of that dark night. 


AYELEN: Several shots were heard. And amongst them, you could hear: Oh, I'm hit, peñis. It shook everyone. The voice belonged to Matías Catrileo Quezada's. Twenty-two years old, agronomy student. He had abandoned his urban life in Santiago to study at Universidad de la Frontera in Temuco, and be part of the Mapuche movement for the recuperation of land. All of these purposes were fatally injured, at least for him, with the shot he received while running away in the darkness of that violent Mapuche night. 


A shot in the back. 


Guacolda enters. 


GUACOLDA: This is not a dream. It really happened:

The dawn of January 4th, 2013 -after a long day commemorating five years since the death of the Mapuche community member Matías Catrileo at the hands of the Carabineros de Chile Special Forces (GOPE)- a married couple, descendants of Chilean-German settlers, Werner Luchsinger, seventy-two years old, and Vivian Mackay, seventy-eight, were at home, alone. Located in the Granja Lumahue estate, in the Vilcún commune, the same area where the death of the young man had ignited the already hot tempers within the known "Mapuche conflict."


PEDRO LAUTARO: According to sources of this account, the Luchsingers were already sleeping at about one in the morning, when an unidentified group of supposed Mapuche community members, wanting to fuck around with any member of the Luchsinger clan in those emblematic days, entered the property. After breaking down the fence, they presumably came in through the kitchen. Probably not in an amicable mood. Probably making noise. Probably, Werner and Vivian woke up dead scared. Werner might have said something like:


AYELÉN: Stay here, old woman. I'm going to go and see what's happening. 


PEDRO LAUTARO: And the old man took the .22 caliber from the bedside table, checked if it had any bullets in it, and removed the safety lock so he wouldn't lose precious seconds if the situation required it, and walked out of the master bedroom next to the stairs. 


GUACOLDA: There's a black hole in this story. Because of the terrible events that later took place, we can only speculate what happened: As it seems, Werner went down to the first floor of his home. When he met the invaders of his property face to face, gun in hand, he immediately demanded they leave. 


AYELÉN: "Get the hell out of my property!" he must have said. "Get out of my property, or I'll shoot!" But the invaders, probably Mapuche community members, weren't there to listen to an old man in his pajamas. Not even if he had a .22 caliber in his hand. 


PEDRO LAUTARO: "Shoot, stupid winka!" a peñi might have said. I bet you don't have the newen to face us like a man! We are not going to give you the opportunity to shoot us in the back like the Chilean state did to our peñi, the weichafe Matías Catrileo!


GUACOLDA: We can't possibly know that. That is the blind spot of the story. There might have been warnings. Or maybe not. 


PEDRO LAUTARO: Every possible account indicates that a shootout started in this blind spot of the story. Every account suggests that in this blind spot of the story, Werner Luchsinger was hurt. 


GUACOLDA: The following is not part of the blind account. It's registered in the Carabineros de Chile's 133 central of the zone, with a woman's phone call. Fifteen minutes past one, in an absolute panic, Vivian Mackay, as the recordings show, reached the carabinero on guard, in the following terms:


(Ayelén and Pedro Lautaro stage the next scene. Ayelén is the Carabinero. Pedro Lautaro is Vivian Mackay).


VIVIAN MACKAY: We are being attacked, please… Vivian Mackay and Werner Luchsinger… He is hurt. 


CARABINERO: At what location, ma'am?


VIVIAN MACKAY: At the Granja Lumahue estate. 


CARABINERO: (confirming) The estate is being attacked. 


VIVIAN MACKAY: (confirming as well) The estate is being attacked. 


CARABINERO: (confirming) Mr. Luchsinger is injured. 


VIVIAN MACKAY: (confirming once again) Werner Luchsinger!


CARABINERO: And how do we get there, ma'am?


VIVIAN MACKAY: General López, five kilometers. 


CARABINERO: General López, five kilometers. 


VIVIAN MACKAY: He killed hiiiiim… (crying). 


CARABINERO:  Ok, ma'am, are you inured?




CARABINERO: How many were there, more or less?


VIVIAN MACKAY: I only saw one. But he was shouting: "Kill them, man! Kill them!"


CARABINERO: (unsure) Close to Palermo, you said. Is that right?


VIVIAN MACKAY: (impatient, desperate) No, no, no! The Granja Lumahue estate! I just called my son. He said he was coming now. My husband is hurt! (she cries) Ahhhh!! They keep shooting! Please come soon!


GUACOLDA: What happened or is happening at the Luchsinger household is or could have been the following: Werner Luchsinger, using his firearm in absolute self-defense, hurt one of the hooded peñis that entered and chanted things like "Fucking winka! Marrichiweu!" with an accurate shot. Because he is sure that he won't just surrender. 


AYELÉN: There is a second of silence in the middle of all the shouting. The possible Mapuche community members realize the winka, with a .22 caliber gun in his hand, has shot a peñi in the back. I repeat: in the back. This is not made up. This has been stated in several journalistic and/or judicial versions. 


GUACOLDA: "Guys, I was hit" is heard in the middle of that motionless silence. And everyone at that home thinks, in unison, like his spirit was whispering at them, in the weichafe Matías Catrileo.


PEDRO LAUTARO: What comes now is the rage of a weichafe. And the feeling that, after centuries of tiredness and invasion and fighting, nothing matters anymore. The feeling that everything has to be burned down. Everything needs to be purified. Like it was all a dream. Because only dreams and fire can bring us light. 


GUACOLDA: "Bring the cans!" a voice is heard. "Bring the cans!"




 Santiago. Wallmapu. Summer of 2016.



Written in : 2016 

Premiere : October 17, 2019. 

Theatre : GAM

CAST: Nona Fernández, Pablo Schwarz, Daniel Alcaíno, Felipe Zepeda, Caro Quito.

DESIGN: Catalina Devia

DESIGN ASIST: Nicolás Jofré.


MUSIC: José Miguel Miranda

R: Rodrigo Iturra

PRODUCTION: Francisca Babul

To contact the author, write to us.


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